16 Week Marathon Training Plan PDF

Are you seeking a new and strategic 16 week marathon training plan pdf? If so, I am glad you have made it here to RunDreamAchieve. 4 months is plenty of time to train properly for a marathon. I would recommend 20 to 24 weeks if you want superior results though. 16 weeks is the minimum time frame I would focus on training for a marathon. I always tell the athletes I mentor and coach online to focus on a longer build up.

Remember, the end goal here is to improve your lactate tolerance. Runners can certainly hold marathon race pace for a segment of the distance. That being said, it is something entirely different to sustain it for 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers. I have created 16 week marathon training plans on RunDreamAchieve.com. In addition, have also created training plans ranging in duration from 8 to 24 weeks in length.

My top recommendation is to spend at least 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage. The reason is you want to first strengthen your muscles, ligaments and tendons. In addition, you don’t want to rush into trying faster workouts. So, you want to first build that strong foundation of easy mileage first.

Is 16 Weeks Long Enough to Train for Marathon?

A legitimate, well-designed 16 week marathon training plan pdf will get you good results. I think 4 months should be the minimum time frame runners should focus on for this event. That being said, I would highly recommend focusing on 20 to 24 weeks. I say that for those runners seeking superior, not average, results. Of course, it is still possible to get great results off of a 16 week marathon training plan.

That being said, the more time you take to prepare the better chances you will have to succeed. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to the hard stressors we place on it. So, you can’t rush your fitness. Sadly, many runners do and start to second guess themselves when they don’t see the results as fast they would like. So, 16 weeks is minimum and 20 to 24 weeks is optimal.

I created training plans ranging from 8 to 24 weeks here. The reason is because all runners have different schedules. The vast majority are working full-time or part-time jobs. In addition, balancing other responsibilities. So, 8 to 12 weeks may be all the time some runners have to train. So, created shorter plans for those athletes with minimal amount of time to train for a marathon.

Is 20 Miles a Week Enough for Marathon Training?

Yes, 20 miles a week is enough to get in descent, general shape. Of course, those athletes seeking to run even faster times need to consider higher volume. Higher mileage is not a guarantee that you will get a new personal best. You can run higher mileage that is too slow and still just be a quality long, slow runner. The majority of runners are seeking to run specific run times.

So, you have to train at or below your goal marathon race pace more often. The 16 week marathon training plan pdf options available here are set up to ensure that you succeed. Remember, the world’s top middle to long distance running are running around 40% of their weekly mileage at faster paces. So, of course, the best runners make it look easy for a reason.

They simply are training at higher intensities more often throughout their training week. Yes, you can get the job done off of 20 miles a week. That being said, a larger percentage of that needs to be quality running. Also, you need to make sure you are jogging on your recovery days. I see far too many runners running too slow on hard days and too fast on recovery days.

Heart Rate Monitor Training

One way to ensure that you are not over training is investing in a heart rate monitor. I highly recommend investing in one. I use the Garmin 245 and it helps me to stay in the correct heart rate zones. Below are the correct heart rate zones I would recommend focusing on. Remember, the heart rate zones below are based off a runner with a max heart rate of 170 beats per minute.

You can get an estimate of what your max heart rate is by subtracting your age from 220.

  • Easy: 65-74% of max HR or around 110-125BPM
  • Marathon (moderate effort): 75-84% of max HR or around 127-142BPM
  • Threshold: 85-89% of max HR or around 144-149BPM
  • Interval: 95-100% of max HR or around 161-170BPM

Wearing a heart rate monitor is great during tempo runs and longer, faster long runs. I like it because I focus on staying in the correct heart rate zone rather than worrying about splits. So, you get dialed into a specific heart rate and just focus on that. In addition, as you get fitter you will notice you are running faster splits on the same course. Also, your heart rate will be even lower or being maintained at the same zone as it was when you first started.

Can I Get Ready for a Marathon in 4 Months?

Definitely. Remember, it isn’t about the volume you are doing as much as it is the quality of the workouts. So, a 16 week marathon training plan pdf needs to focus on this. In addition, I would highly recommend implementing a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. The 16 week marathon training plan pdf options I created here have this built in.

A major mistake many runners make is they starting dropping volume and intensity too soon. Of course, there are many runners out there who still set new PRs with a 3-week taper. That being said, many of the runners who follow me on the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel have seen great results using a 10-day taper. So, 10 days is plenty of time to rest up for your future marathon race. I have set new personal best from the mile (4.22.1) to the marathon (2:19:35) using this tactic.

I do think that 20 to 24 weeks is optimal time frame for a marathon though. 16 weeks is bare minimum, in my opinion. Again, you have to have a long-term approach with this event. Remember, this is not a 5k or a 10k we are discussing here but a marathon. So, having a belief in delayed gratification is vital to drop significant time off of your current marathon personal best.

Can You Train for a Marathon in 12 Weeks?

It is possible but 3 months will fly by and there is a lot to get done in that amount of time. Again, it all depends on how your 16 week marathon training plan pdf is set up. If 90% of your mileage is aerobic how well-prepared will you be to run an all-out 26.2 mile race? Yes, you will be in superior endurance shape. That being said, your ability to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up may not be at the level you desire.

So, the goal is to improve your body’s lactic acid clearance capability. Easy running does not produce this physiological ability. Faster, anaerobic training will. Yes, easy running is still important especially for recovery. You still have to jog on recovery days to ensure you adapt to the harder training that you are doing. Also, there is only so many times you can push the body before you get diminished returns on your investment.

Faster Long Runs

I would highly recommend doing faster, varied paced long runs. Also, alternate your long run intensities. For examples, one weekend you run easy and the next start mixing up the paces and run faster. I used this tactic to lower my marathon PR from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. So, I know that it works. Also, the 16 week marathon training plan pdf options I created here have these long runs built into them.

Below is an example of the type of faster, varied paced long run I was doing prior to breaking the 2:20 marathon barrier.

  • 2 mile jog, 6 miles@5:25 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 1 mile in 4:55, 7 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:10, 2 mile jog cool-down (23 miles)

I would always jog the following week’s long run at or around 8 to 9 minute mile pace. So, don’t just run long, slow and easy every single weekend. You want to mix up the paces during your long runs. It is a great way to better prepare yourself to run a new personal best for the marathon. In fact, this works regardless what distance you are aiming for whether it be the 800m or the marathon.

Longer Tempo Runs

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past training for your marathons? 4 miles? 5? I would work to extend that out to around 10 to 12 miles (16 to 19 kilometers). Of course, you definitely need to first adapt to doing a 4 to 5 mile tempo before you can extend out to this distance. That being said, running at or around 85 to 89% of your max heart rate for a longer period of time, is best. You will improve you body’s ability to clear lactic acid more efficiently.

Again, make sure you are jogging on easy days. I write that because tempo runs and these faster, varied paced long runs will take a lot out of you. Also, give yourself between 2 and yes, up to 3 days, recovery in between each hard workout. Of course, some runners may only need a day or 2 between hard workouts. That being said, it is not uncommon for some to need up to 72 hours to fully recover.

Closing Thoughts

How much time are you devoting to mental rehearsal? I say that because most runners only focus on physical training. Remember, you need to also train the mind like you train the body. The world’s top middle to long distance runners focus on both of these areas. Again, they make running look easy for a reason. They are paying attention to all of the fundamentals like proper sleep, hydration, nutrition and pacing.

So, start spending 10 minutes daily visualizing yourself getting across the finish line in your goal marathon time. Also, passing people and running relaxed. It certainly has to happen in the mind before you ever produce the result in real life. Make sure you are also practicing hydration during your long runs. My advice is to set out water bottles every 3 miles or 5 kilometers during your long run route. I hope that this post has been helpful to you. Be sure to check out all of the resources available to you here.

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