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Post Marathon Training Guide - Intermediate Schedule, Week 3

Monday: You deserve an easy day after a slightly longer run over the weekend. Cross-train for 30-40 minutes: biking, swimming or walking and begin to consider doing some strength training. There is a subtle increase in mileage this week, so you want to make sure that you're well-rested as you continue your post-marathon training. It's now been three weeks since the marathon, so most of the obvious residual damage should be gone. Nevertheless, there's probably some underlying trauma that even the scientists can't measure--so don't overdo it!

Tuesday: Five miles easy. This is about the time following a marathon when runners start to think, "Hey I'm feeling pretty good. Let's bust one!" You want to be cautious about what you bust.

Wednesday: Run 3 x mile at 5-K pace, walking 3-5 minutes between. When you think about it, this is a pretty tough workout, even with the rest breaks. If you can't quite hit 5-K pace, don't worry about it. You still may not be fully recovered. Weather and motivation also can be a factor when it comes to running a workout this hard. Don't forget to warm-up by jogging a mile before and cool-down afterwards. And remember to stretch. The best time for doing that is immediately after your warm-up jog.

Thursday: Five easy miles. It seems that all I've been saying for the last several days (and several weeks) is: "Take it easy! Take it easy!" Well, it's true. That's exactly what you should be doing.

Friday: Over the previous days, you've run 4, 5 and 4 miles for a total of 13 miles in three days. That's a good bit of running, about half the distance you did in the actual marathon itself. For that reason, it's a good day to rest today. Time to stay out a little later on a Friday night? Okay, you have my blessing.

Saturday: Do a tempo run of 40 minutes. Begin by jogging about 10-12 minutes, then gradually accelerate to marathon pace for about 15-20 minutes in the middle. Notice that this should be a gradual acceleration, not a sudden increase from jog pace to marathon pace. Then gradually decelerate to the finish. As with all tempo runs, you should finish feeling invigorated, not overly fatigued.

Sunday: Today's run is 90 minutes. This weekend, I'm giving you no options. I want you to put in at least an hour and a half of running. Now that you're in good shape, that should be almost the minimum time for any future long workouts you do in training. I don't care how fast you run, just spend the time in motion.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Beginning in 1974, Jack H. Scaff Jr., M.D. supervised the Honolulu Marathon Clinic, a group that meets Sundays in Kapiolani Park to train for that marathon. After watching his group's recuperative efforts after the race, Dr. Scaff commented: "The runners felt so good about their achievement, they would bounce back too soon. We finally canceled the clinic for three months following the marathon to try to get the runners to take it easy."

Post Marathon Training Guide, Intermediate Schedule: Week Zero | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

To purchase an interactive version of Hal Higdon's Post-Marathon Training Guide, click here.