16-WEEK MARATHON PLAN
KEY EASY Keep the pace conversational. HILLS + STRIDES Log the distance on a hilly course, or do repeats – maintaining a comfortable effort – between 2km of warm- up and cool- down. Finish with six approximately 100- metre pick- ups ( strides), gradually accelerating to about 5- K effort, holding it for five to 10 seconds, and gradually decelerating. Recover fully (walking) between each.
XT Easy-effort, low-impact cardio workouts like swimming, cycling, or pool running – just enough to get blood circulating ( 30 to 60 minutes). Totally optional. LONG Maintain a conversational pace. STRAIGHTS/CURVES + DRILLS Warm up with 3km of jogging to a track, followed by dynamic stretches: leg swings (side to side and front to back), walking lunges, high knees, and butt-kicks – 10 reps of each on each side. Then do four laps, surging on the straights ( between 5-K and 2-K pace) and recovering on the curves. Cool down with 3km. TRACK 400s and 1600s Warm up with 3km of jogging to a track, followed by dynamic stretches and a few strides. Run the 400s at approximately 5-K pace and recover with 200 metres of jogging. Run the 1600m repeats at approximately 10-K pace with a 400-metre jog between. Cool down with 3km (400s) / 1 600m (1600s). UP-TEMPO Warm up with 2km. Then run each 2km a bit faster, working your way up to between marathon and half-marathon pace for the final 2km to 3km. YASSO 800s Warm up with 2km of jogging to a track, followed by dynamic stretches and a few strides. Run each rep in your goal marathon time (eg, for a 4:00.00 marathon, run each rep in 4.00; for 4:30.00, hit 4.30), and recover with 400 metres of jogging. Cool down with 2km.
HALF MARATHON Warm up with 5km of easy jogging. Spend the first 5km of the race easing into goal marathon pace, then maintain it for the final 15km.
Block out at least one day of complete rest each week – Sunday is good if you like running long on Saturdays. Simplify your decision-making and save mental energy by designating a speedwork day (‘Track Tuesday’), a long-run day, and a rest day – and sticking to them most weeks. Sustaining (and then gradually increasing) a tough pace requires you to avoid ‘freak-out moments’ and have a calm conversation in your mind. A tune-up race is a good place to test out what you’ll wear and eat on race day – and to practise reframing your nerves as excitement.