Marathon Super Circuit Training Workouts

By Rick Morris

Circuit training and marathon training workouts may seem like strange bedfellows at first glance. It just doesn’t seem like fitness enhancing circuit training belongs in the same realm as the endurance and stamina needs of marathon training. But, even the most dedicated marathon runner needs strong and injury resistant muscles. One of the best ways to incorporate strength training into an already full marathon training schedule is with marathon super circuit training. These marathon super circuit workouts are not only highly efficient, but they also do a great job of improving your running economy and injury resistance. As an added bonus, they are fun and add some variety into your training routine. You can design nearly any type of marathon super circuit routine. Here are just a few to get you started.

Super Circuit Marathon Blasters

The key to this workout is maintaining goal marathon pace during your running repeats and minimizing the transition time between runs and cross training segments.

Run 12 one mile repeats at goal marathon pace. Between each of the 12 marathon repeats perform 2 minutes of cross training exercises. I would suggest rotating one 2 minute set of each of following exercises. The specific order isn’t critical.

  • Pushups
  • Crunches
  • Lunges
  • Core Stabilization
  • Bounding
  • Bench Step Ups
  • Extended Arm Crunch
  • One Leg Squats
  • Bench Stride Ups
  • Double Leg Forward Hops
  • One Leg Hop in Place

Super Circuit Long Run

Adding a super circuit into your long run makes your workout more efficient and adds some much needed variety into a sometimes tedious long run workout.

Run between 12 and 23 miles at your standard endurance training pace. After each 2 mile segment stop and perform the following cross training segments in the order given. Note that you may not do all cross training exercises depending upon the distance of your run. If you do a longer run simply repeat one or more of these exercises.

  • 8 x 15 second strides or sprints with 5 seconds of recovery between each stride
  • 2 minutes of one leg squats – one minute using each leg
  • 2 minutes of bench step ups – one minute using each leg
  • 2 minutes core stabilization
  • 2 minutes of walking lunges
  • 2 minutes of pushups
  • 2 minutes of one leg hops in place
  • 2 minutes of passive lower body stretching
  • 1 minute of bounding
  • 1 minute of double leg forward hops
  • 1 minute of one leg forward hops – 30 seconds using each leg

Stamina Super Circuit

One of the best ways to improve your speed endurance or stamina and, as a result, your marathon performance, is by running at or slightly faster than your lactate threshold pace. This super circuit combines LT training with some appropriate cross training workouts.

Run 8 x 1 mile repeats at a moderately hard pace or very close to your 10K race pace. Perform the following exercises in order between each 1 mile repeat.

  • Bench Step Downs
  • Bench Step Ups
  • Walking Lunges
  • One Leg Squats
  • One Leg Hops in Place
  • Double Leg Forward Hops
  • Single Leg Forward Hops
  • 2 Minutes of Passive Stretching

Marathon Super Circuit Fartlek

This one is simple and fun. Go out and run between 6 and 12 miles at your goal marathon pace. Stop frequently and perform your choice of any strength or flexibility exercise. There are no rules here. Just go by feel and have fun. The only guideline is to mix things up as much as possible.