Training


Marathon Training Guide - Introduction

A series of training programs that guarantee marathon success

Among my most enjoyable activities is helping runners train for the marathon. I estimate that I have assisted a half million runners reach the finish line of 26 mile 385 yard races. Even that estimate may be low given the number of people who have purchased copies of my best-selling book, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, who have signed up for my interactive training programs or who, like you, have surfed into this Web site.

Most runners choose one of my Novice programs. Interestingly, 40 percent of the 45,000 who register for the Chicago Marathon each year are doing their first marathon, often their first road race!

The first question these so-called Newbies ask is: "How do I train?" Whether from word-of-mouth or some other source, they learn that my 18-week schedule for beginning runners is pretty much foolproof. It is a gently progressive program involving four days of running a week. The long run in the first week of training is a relatively easy 6-miler. Each weekend, the long run gets longer, peaking at 20 miles three weeks before the marathon. A tapering period allows runners to gather energy for the race. Stepback weeks allow runners to avoid overtraining. Cross-training and ample amounts of rest complete the mix. And it works! Many experienced runners doing their second, third and fourth marathons stick with the Novice 1 program, because it fits well into their busy lives. Or they choose Novice 2, which provides a slight bump upward in difficulty. Recently at an Expo where I was signing copies of my book, one woman told me that she had used my Novice 1 program for 13 consecutive marathons!

For those hoping to improve, to set Personal Records, or to qualify for The Boston Marathon, I also offer two Intermediate and two Advanced programs, each one a logical step upward in difficulty and intensity. The Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 programs offer more mileage. The Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 programs insert speedwork. Check out the introductory screens for each to see which of my six 18-week programs works best for you. And for those who have more than 18 weeks to train, I also offer two 30-week programs: Novice Supreme, aimed at runners new to the sport, and Personal Best, aimed at runners seeking peak performance. Finally, I offer Marathon 3, featuring only three days of running a week and slightly more cross-training.

My programs are now being used by runners to train for marathons all over the world. Thanks to the World Wide Web, you can become my virtual training partner by using the free schedules here on this Web site to train for any marathon. Or you can sign up for Virtual Training, the interactive version of all my programs, available through TrainingPeaks. Each day I will send you e-mail instructions telling you what to run each day, offering also tips on your training. You will learn much, much more about how to train for a marathon by signing up for one of my interactive programs. I strongly urge that you consider to do so. Several of my training programs for the full and half marathons are now available as apps for your iPhone, available through BlueFin LLC.  If you have a question about your training, you can direct it to my Virtual Training Forums. That service is free! Never before has it been easier to run a marathon. Never before has it been more fun! Good luck with your training.