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Post Marathon Training Guide - Advanced Schedule, Week 4

Monday: Five miles at an easy pace today. This is the final week of your post-marathon training, and I recommend you finish with a flourish by running a 5-K or 10-K race. The schedule assumes a race on Sunday, but you may choose to race on Saturday, or some other day of the week. If you race on another day, simply juggle the training days to suit your convenience.

Tuesday: Today's speed workout is 3 x 800 at 5-K pace, a change in distance from the 400 repeats you had been doing for the past three weeks. Some runners find 800 repeats easier; some find 400 repeats easier. Regardless, this is not meant to be a bust-it workout. If it seems too intense, either run the 800s somewhat slower or take more than the usual 3 to 5 minutes of walking or jogging I normally prescribe for this workout.

Wednesday: Five miles at an easy pace. Do this at your normal pace. If you can't talk to a training partner while running this workout, you probably are going too fast.

Thursday: Tempo run of 30 minutes. You had been doing this workout on the weekend the previous three weeks, but I've moved this to midweek because of the race scheduled on Sunday. This should not be a difficult run for you at this phase of your training. Start at an easy pace, then after about 10 minutes, begin a gradual acceleration to marathon pace and hold at that speed to about 20 minutes into the run. Then slowly decelerate, finishing at the same easy pace at which you started.

Friday: Three mile run at the same easy pace you ran on Monday and Wednesday. This is the start of a two-day mini-taper leading into Sunday's race. You don't need to taper as much for a 5-K or 10-K as you do for a marathon, but it's a good idea to back off your normal training routine so you go into the race well rested.

Saturday: Rest today. That assumes that you are going to run your race tomorrow, on Sunday. If you decide to race on Saturday, simply juggle the week's workouts to accommodate that slight schedule change. One way to accomplish this would be to do the tempo run on Wednesday and start the two-day mini-taper a day early. Then you could go for an easy jog on Sunday depending on how you feel after your race.

Sunday: Run a 5-K or a 10-K race. Which distance should you choose? Let the distance choose you. Check the local schedule and find a race at one of those distances that you think you might enjoy doing. If you can't find a 5-K or 10-K race, don't worry. Do what's convenient. Depending on how your recovery has come, you might even be able to race as far as a half-marathon--although that's being a bit pushy, and I wouldn't race any farther than that. Then get out your calculator to see how your race today compared with your marathon. If you ran a 10-K, you can use the standard marathon prediction formula of 4.66 X marathon time. 

TIP OF THE WEEK: "Food has real nutritional value, whereas sports drinks are just sugar," says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook and a nutritionist with SportsMedine Brookline of Boston. Clark recommends fruit or yogurt (frozen and otherwise) as a superior snack to cookies or candy bars. Research by Dr. (Edward F.) Coyle indicates that 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per hour is necessary for the most efficient glycogen replacement. That translates to 2 calories per pound, or 300 calories for a 150-pound runner.

Post Marathon Training Guide, Advanced 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.