Beat your previous distance. Even if it's just a few meters you have to beat your distance from the previous week.
Level I: Start from Day 1. New runner, but not a complete beginner. You have to be able to run at least 5K (any speed) before you take this program on. If you run 5K yet, we've got an 8 weeks to 5K program here (if you can run for at least 6 minutes straight you can start from week 5). If you have never done any running before you should start with the From Walking to Running program , 8 weeks to 5K (mid program) and then this one.
Level II: Start from Day 15. You are a regular runner, running at least 2-3 times a week.
Level III: Start from Day 43. You are an experienced runner running every day / every other day already.
Training for a marathon is something anyone can do provided you are determined, sensible and stick with the plan. Running is an exercise that on its own will not give you all the strength you need to run, particularly over the entire distance of a marathon. The Marathon program is split into days that will help you run better, run longer, increase your endurance, get stronger, and recover so you can do it all again only faster and harder.
The thing to remember is that this is a progressive training plan. You should not miss out any days thinking that you will just make it up. That puts excessive load on you the next day and that affects your progression. It is better to just skip the day you missed, though if you do this too often because you missed a lot of days then you will negate the entire program and need to start from the beginning again.
Upper body workouts are days when you strengthen your upper body. This includes doing workouts that use push-ups or dips or free weight exercises. Recommended workouts: Power 10, Power 20 (light weights), Gravity.
Full body workouts are days when you train your entire body. This includes, glutes, core and hip flexors (they are all used in running) along with your quads, back, chest and arms. You could choose some from our workouts collection or put together a routine you like.
Running days are split between days when you run at your top, sustainable speed. Days when you recover by running at your 65%-75% pace. You will know you got it right if you can talk while you run. And runs when you are trying to beat your self by running further than the last time you run for that length of time. These are marked with a star.
It doesn’t matter where you run, most times. You can pick a track, or a High School field or a trail or even a city run. On the days when you are trying to beat your previous distance it is good practice to choose a run you did before when you tried that. That way you don’t need to worry about measuring distance. You are on familiar territory. You know how far you got last time you run for the required time, now all you need to do is concentrate on beating that distance, even if it is by a few hundred meters.
It helps to look at the plan and workout where you will run on these days in advance, that way you take the anxiety that you will mess it up, out of it and it also gives you handy landmarks to measure your progress against as you run.
Walking days are not a race. Use them to get your muscles flowing again, ridding your body from accumulating aches and pains. Go at a brisk pace but really they are to help you recover.
Time is used as the measurement for your runs rather than distance. It’s a better reflective measure of the sustained effort you will be required to make when you run a marathon. It is a better measure of pacing, as pacing really is distance over time and you would normally need to work out both. This way you really only focus on time and let your legs do the rest.
There are two race days in this program. Each marks the end of a stage, which means that provided you followed the guide you are ready, whether you feel it or not. Race days are when you do the distance required at your top, possible speed, all the way. It will feel really hard but then it’s supposed to. A race is mostly mental strength. Your body can do it if your mind allows it to. So really you are training your mind to guide your body better and not listen to the “I am so tired” monologue.