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The BPN Marathon Training Plan

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The BPN Marathon Training Plan

For many people, it’s the ultimate test of endurance. 26.2 miles. Do you have what it takes? More importantly, have you prepared correctly for the challenge of running an entire marathon?

The Bare Performance Nutrition marathon training plan is 18 weeks of running, cross-training and resting that ends when you cross the finish line of your marathon, triumphant –– and maybe a little sore.

We’ve opted not to assign specific workout for specific days, preferring to break things down on a week by week basis. This flexibility allows you to pick and choose which days are best to do a longer distance run or to take a rest day based on your own schedule.

As long as you get all the workouts in over the course of a given week, you should be good.

General Tips for Training

Here are a few general thoughts you should keep in mind throughout the course of your training:

  • It’s okay to skip a workout every once in a while, but try not to miss a whole week.
  • Rest days are important. Make sure you give your body time to recover before increasing your distance.
  • Walking is okay and in fact can even be part of your strategy if you’re feeling that the distances are too much.
  • As you get more miles under your belt during the race, the terrain will increasingly become a factor. Try to train on terrain that’s similar to the race course. In other words, if there are lots of hills on the course, make sure you’re doing lots of hills for training!
  • Cross-training can be very effective to work into your training plan. This includes any kind of exercise except running which can works out complementary muscles: cycling and swimming are good cross-training activities.

The 18 Week Marathon Training Plan

The broad framework of any effective training plan includes several weeks of incremental build up followed by a few weeks of tapering off to prepare for the big race day. While there are many modifications that can be done on this plan for more advanced training, the following is a great training plan for marathon beginners.

Weeks 1-2: Starting Out

For the first two weeks of your training, there’s no need to go crazy. There will be plenty of time for long runs in the future.

  • 2 days x 3 miles
  • 1 day x 5 miles
  • Distance: 1 day x 10 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio (non-running Cross Training activity)

Weeks 3-4: Picking Up the Pace

Once you’ve established a good baseline, it’s time to take it up a notch. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take advantage of marathon supplements to help your body recover.

  • 2 days x 3 miles
  • 1 day x 5-8 miles
  • Distance: 6-9 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Weeks 5-6: Plateau

Your first plateau. Take a second to stop and look around. You’ve made great progress so far!

  • 2 days x 3 miles
  • 1 day x 5-8 miles
  • Distance: 7-10 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Plateau

Weeks 7-8: The Halfway Point

Milestones are important in a marathon training plan. Take a beat to celebrate that you’re halfway to the starting line of your race.

If you’re interested in working a half-marathon (13.1 miles) into your training to get a feel for the environment on race day, now would be the time to do it. Take a look at your splits from that race for a decent estimate of what your overall marathon time will be and adjust accordingly.

  • 2 days x 3 miles
  • 1 day x 6 miles
  • Distance: 1 x 11 - 13 miles
  • 2-3 days of rest
  • 0-1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Weeks 9-10: Easing Off the Gas

After pushing pretty hard it’s time once again to ease off the gas –– but don’t get too comfortable. There’s still plenty of ground left to cover in your marathon training plan.

  • 2 days x 3-5 miles
  • 1 day x 7-10 miles
  • Distance: 1 x 10-15 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Weeks 11-12: Picking Up the Pace (Again)

Getting used to the pattern yet? You’ve gone hard at the halfway point, taken a couple of weeks to recover, now it’s time to ratchet things up a notch once again. Make sure to stay hydrated and incorporate supplements into your marathon nutrition plan, such as whey protein and our Intra Flight BCAA powder.

  • 2 days x 4-6 miles
  • 1 day x 8-10 miles
  • Distance: 1 day x 10 - 18 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Weeks 13-14: Climbing, Climbing, Climbing

You’re inching up to your max distance for training, 20 miles. Don’t give up.

  • 2 days x 4-6 miles
  • 1 day x 9-12 miles
  • Distance: 1 x 15-18 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Weeks 15-16: Maxing Out & Beginning to Taper

This is it, time to cover your max distance of 20 miles. You can choose to do this once or twice, depending on how you feel. If you only want to do it once, substitute a 15 mile run.

  • 2 days x 4-8 miles (begin to taper during week 16)
  • 1 day x 9-12 miles
  • Distance: 1 x 20 miles
  • 2 days of rest
  • 1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

Weeks 17-18: The Final Stretch

You’re tapering down on these workouts, make sure to give your body (and mind) enough time to recoup and prep to go the distance on race day.

  • 2 days x 2-5 miles
  • 1 day x 4-8 miles
  • Distance: 1 x 8-12 miles
  • 2-3 days of rest
  • 0-1 day x Cardio / Cross Training

The night before the race make sure to get some good rest, drink plenty of liquids, and make sure you eat a proper pre-marathon meal. This should include plenty of carbohydrates and proteins –– about 600 grams of carbs for a 150 lbs runner.

Go Further

If you need to boost your workout performance while you’re doing your marathon training plan, consider adding some marathon supplements to your diet. At Bare Performance Nutrition, we have the high quality performance supplements you need to make the most of your workouts and give it your all the day of the big race. Browse our entire line of supplements and let us know how your marathon training is progressing!