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Training Plans

8-Week Marathon Training Plan

It's not too late to start training for a fall marathon, as long as you've been doing some running this summer. Here's an 8-week plan to get you race fit in a hurry, without overdoing it.

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It’s late-summer and it seems fall marathons really are going to happen this year, and you haven’t really started training for the one you signed up for yet. Now you’re shocked to realize how close it is. Or maybe a friend just told you they’re going to run a fall marathon — and you should join them. Is there still time to get in decent enough shape to finish it?

Yes, of course, assuming you’ve been active and running a bit since the spring. We’d normally suggest a 12- to 14-week plan for optimal marathon training, but if you don’t have that much time you can still improve your situation in the next two months. We’ve designed an 8-week marathon training plan (download) aimed at getting you to the finish line with more aerobic fitness than you have now.

The plan includes all the elements of a successful marathon training program: long runs, tempo runs, fartleks, and a few speed workouts (Learn more about each type of workout and how they fit into your marathon training program in our Common Sense Coach video series). This plan assumes that you’ve had some experience with speed workouts and are comfortable doing a workout like 6x 800m or a steady run of 10–12 miles without getting unduly beat up. Keep your efforts moderate  — you don’t need to kill any one workout. The combination of paces and workout types will get your body ready to run smooth, fast and efficiently, while making sure you don’t break down before you get to the start.

You might not set a new PR, but you’ll be ready to handle the distance (if you pace appropriately) and you’ll be able to savor the moment you cross the finish line.

download Free 8-Week Marathon Training Plan

Originally appeared in The Official Rock ‘n’ Roll Guide to Marathon and Half-Marathon Training, VeloPress