16 Week Accelerated Recreational Level Competitive Marathon Training Plan
This is a 16 week accelerated recreational competitive marathon program that uses one workout per day on 4 to 5 workouts per week. This marathon training program that is designed for recreational distance runners with some running experience that want to get into competitive running. This program includes some high intensity workouts, weekly long training runs and basic strength training. The 16 week program begins with a long run base of 3 miles or 5 kilometers.
Accelerated training programs are designed for those time when you don’t have enough training time before your race for a more conventional training approach. This accelerated training program concentrates on goal pace running and quality training sessions with fewer easy or recovery run workouts. There is also greater use of rest days to assist with recovery. This accelerated marathon program also uses a shorter taper or period of declining mileage and intensity that is used for recovery and strengthening before your race. To compensate for the shorter taper I have included more days of complete rest.
While accelerated programs are not the ideal training scenario, these programs will help you reach your training goal in a shorter period of time. When engaging in an accelerated program you should always pay close attention to any signs of over training such as elevated resting heart rate, chronic fatigue, frequent illness, mental burnout, muscle weakness or muscle pain.
There are four specific types of running workouts in your program:
This type of run is also known as aerobic conditioning. Endurance runs make up the highest percentage of overall mileage for a distance runner. Endurance runs build your overall endurance, increase your blood volume, improve your ability to store energy supplying fuel, and improves the ability of your system to deliver oxygen to your muscles. These workouts are performed at about 55 to 75 percent of your VO2 max (your body’s ability to process oxygen). This pace should feel easy and “conversational” in nature.
Progressive runs are a workout that combines endurance training, tempo training, lactate turn point training. When performing progressive runs you should start at an easy endurance pace and gradually increase your pace through out your training run. Increase from endurance pace to lactate turnpoint pace through all but the final mile of your progressive run. Then speed up to speed or 5K pace for the final mile. For example, if you are doing a 6 mile progressive run you should start at endurance pace and gradually speed up to lactate turnpoint pace through the first 5 miles. Then speed up to goal 5K pace for the final mile.
These runs improve your endurance, goal pace endurance and mental toughness. They also improve your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel and conserve carbohydrates. Long runs are performed at an easy pace, goal pace or a combination of the two paces.
Goal Pace Training
One of the most important and often forgotten competitive training paces is goal pace running. Goal pace training will improve your goal specific neuromuscular function and make you a more efficient runner at goal pace.
What about tempo runs? Most training program depend heavily upon tempo training runs. Tempo runs are moderate to long distance run that are performed at between marathon pace and about 15 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace. Tempo training intensity is slightly less than lactate turn point intensity. The purpose of tempo running is to improve your ability to run long distances at paces that produce a significant amount of metabolites without the limiting factor of reaching your lactate turn point. Why doesn’t this program include tempo runs? It does – this program uses many goal pace training workouts. Your marathon goal pace is on the low end of tempo run pace. We use this tempo pace because it is critical to develop your neuromuscular efficiency at your goal marathon pace.
The second category of workouts in your training program are strength workouts. Strength training is important for runners because it helps prevent injury, improve your impact resistance, improve your running economy and build your speed and power. Strength training workouts fall into one of three types; general strength, running specific strength and plyometrics. Your program includes only general strength and running specific strength. More advanced competitive programs will include plyometric exercises.
- General Strength – General strength workouts build your overall body strength and provide a base for the more specific types of strength training.
- Running Specific Strength – These are strength building exercises that target your running specific motions and muscles.
- Plyometrics – Plyometrics are high intensity strength exercises and drills that are explosive in nature and are great for improving running economy and power.
This 16 week accelerated recreational marathon training plan is presented below in PDF format. You can navigate through the pages using your scroll bar or with the PDF viewer controls on the bottom of each page.
Accelerated 16 Week Recreational