A Marathon Training Program For Real People With Busy Schedules

If you are a runner with a goal to run your first marathon or run a PR marathon then you no doubt have been exposed to your share of marathon training program advice. If your years of training and researching about how to train for and run a marathon or how to improve your marathon PR have resulted in frustration, self-doubt, and confusion, then read on. The next few minutes will provide you with what you’ve been looking for, especially if you’re looking for a marathon training program for real people with jobs, families and busy lives.

Training for a marathon does take a lot of time, commitment, and determination. The most typical marathon training program out there usually involves at least six days per week of training. This type of program takes up a lot of time and makes it difficult to balance with your work life, family, social time, etc. However, that many days per week or running is not necessary and only leads to burnout and injury. The good news is this:

Four quality runs per week over a fourteen to sixteen week period is an appropriate and efficient program that will get you successfully to the finish line.

The Golden Rule of Surviving Marathon Training: Less is More.

Training and running more will not lead to better results. If anything, it will lead to a break down of the muscles and the mind. Simply stated, this is too much running and the exact reason why runners who run so many days/miles per week in a heavy marathon training program experience common injuries such as shin splints, IT Band syndrome, tendinitis, knee pain, etc.

To get better and be better, rest days are just as important as running day, and a 4 day training week is an ideal way to achieve perfect marathon training program balance.

What Does a 4 Day Training Week for Marathon Look Like?

A marathon training program that can produce fantastic results for busy runners includes four days per week of quality running. Each run has a different focus and varies with pace, distance, and effort level. A combination of these run workouts is an excellent balance of challenging the body to prepare for running a 26.2 mile event. Furthermore, the built in rest days allow muscle recovery and injury prevention.

An example of the 4 day training week:

-Mon: Active Recovery
-Tues: Speed workout (i.e. 3-4x 1-mile repeats at tempo with 2:1 work:rest ratio)
-Wed: Easy Run (i.e. 5-10 miles aerobic)
-Thurs: Active Recovery
-Fri: Intervals or Hill workout (5-10x steep 1-2 minute hill repeats with walk or jog down)
-Sat: Active Recovery
-Sun: Long Run (10 – 20miles that include race pace intervals and fast finishes)

Your longest long run should be 20 miles and you would do a training build-up to this distance over the course of sixteen weeks. Three weeks before the marathon race will be a taper, during which you gradually reduce mileage.

Each active recovery day can include core, yoga and other recovery protocols.

In addition, you should also include strength training exercises in a 4 day per week plan. Running a marathon exacts a great toll on a runner’s body. Strengthening the core and legs will help you better deal with the mileage you will run over the next several months. You don’t need expensive equipment or a gym membership to build a stronger body. Body weight exercises are all you need.

In fact, most elite runners do a majority of their strength training in this manner. When you started doing strength based body weight exercises, you won’t believe how much stronger you’ll and how much your running will improve. You can simply do a six exercise set, twice a week, and would be amazed by the results of adding this into your marathon training program. It’s simple, but it works.