20 Week Marathon Training Plan PDF to PR

Are you seeing a legitimate 20 week marathon training plan pdf that will get you results? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I created this website in 2011 to help athletes such as yourself get to the next level in your training. Our 5 month marathon training plan options here are set up to help improve the athlete’s lactate tolerance. Remember, pace sustainment is essential when it comes to racing. So, we need to plan to outlast and outwit our competition.

A common mistake I see far too many runners making is running too slow too often. Aerobic training is important. That being said, anaerobic (without oxygen) training is where you will distance yourself. Yes, you can train for 8, 12 or 16 weeks and get great results in the marathon.

In fact, I have created 20 week marathon training plan pdf options here in all 4 of these categories. RunDreamAchieve training plans are built specifically for athletes aiming for a specific time. The longer the athlete prepares for the marathon, the better. It takes between 21 days to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress being placed on it. So, you cannot be in a rush with this.

Is 20 Weeks Enough Time to Train for a Marathon?

Yes. In fact, it is probably the best time frame to prepare properly for the marathon distance. Again, fitness cannot be rushed. Of course, there are athletes out there who would rather train for 8, 12 or 16 weeks based on their schedules. You can still get great results with this time frame as well. That being said, if you truly want to do it right then choose a 20 week marathon training plan.

The best marathoners are running about 40 percent of their weekly volume at or close to their goal marathon race pace. No, that doesn’t mean you have to spend that high of a percentage running at faster speeds. What it does mean is to start running faster you need to be practicing at speeds that exceed your goal marathon race pace.

The end goal is to teach the body to burn fat at race pace and conserve what you have less of, carbohydrates. Running easy will build endurance. That being said, it will not teach you to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, only running at faster paces will do this. Your RunDreamAchieve 20 week marathon training plan PDF will ensure that you train properly.

How Many Weeks Before a Marathon Should You Run 20 miles?

I would recommend about 5 weeks out from your main race. Again, there are many variables that go into running a fast marathon. You need to have trained for a minimum of 8 and preferably 20 weeks to get the marathon right. Long runs are essential but how you conduct your long runs is even more important. Remember, long slow distance runners produce long, slow runners.

So, you need to start doing varied paced, faster long runs. I used this strategy to lower my marathon best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. How does an athlete go from running 6:14 mile pace to 5:19 mile pace over 26.2 miles? Faster long runs. In addition, high emphasis on training at the Vo2 max effort. Also, spending longer period of time training at your anaerobic threshold or tempo run effort.

How Long Does it Take to Train for a Marathon if You are Out of Shape?

I would recommend focusing on 6 months if you are completely out of shape. I am talking about if you are about 20 pounds overweight and just seeking to get back into legitimate race shape. Again, fitness cannot be rushed. So, you have to have a long-term approach. It takes me, on average, between 4 to 6 months, to get into racing shape myself.

20 week marathon training plan pdf
Finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

As mentioned above, faster long runs are one great way to get into great, anaerobic shape. Remember, always run the following weeks’ long run nice and easy. The benefits of the hard work you are putting in today will be seen weeks from now. So, make sure you are jogging on your recovery days. The best middle to long distance runners now how important rest is.

Also, don’t get caught up in the volume of mileage you are doing. What matters most is the quality of the training you are conducting. Again, too many miles or kilometers run too slow will not prepare you to race all out over 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers.

What Happens to Your Body after Running 20 Miles?

One of the biggest reactions is that your glycogen stores are nearly depleted if not all. The body only has between 1700 to 1800 calories of stored glycogen at any given time. So, to race well over a marathon you have to teach the body to conserve what it has less of, carbohydrates. More importantly, to use what it has much more of, fat, as fuel during your training and racing.

Why do marathoners hit the “wall”? Do we as marathoners have to it one? I ask that because I didn’t hit one when I ran 2:19:35 or when I ran my second fastest marathon time of 2:26:42. Of course, I have had times where I ran poorly as well.

So, the way to get around this is to start setting up your training in the right way. Remember, you need to build a minimum of 4 weeks of easier, base mileage. The 20 week marathon training plan pdf options here at RunDreamAchieve focus on this. Also, we focus on introducing some lighter workouts during the base phase including strides. Strides should be done twice per week. Strides are too short to build up any legitimate lactic acid. So, you can do these during the week on top of your other workouts.

When Should You Do Your Last Long Run Before a Marathon?

The last legitimate long run you should do should be conducted about 3 weeks out from your main race. I believe in a 10-day taper. In fact, I include this strategy in my running courses, online coaching and training plans. I set my personal bests from the 5K to the 50K distance using a 10-day taper. A common mistake many marathoners make is dropping their intensity and volume too far out for their main event.

We continue to remind the athlete what he or she is training themselves to do up until 10 days out. The last workout I have my athletes do is a 3 mile run at goal marathon race pace 4 days out from the main event. It is one last reminder and physiological boost to the athlete’s system prior to the race. The remaining 3 days leading into the race are either easy jogs or completely off.

Remember, how you set up your taper could be the defining factor whether you set a new personal best or not. Unfortunately, many runners get this wrong and go into their races feeling tired and lethargic instead. My goal as your virtual, online coach and mentor is to ensure that you do the opposite. I want you going into your race feeling motivated and rested. 10 days is plenty of time to taper down correctly.

Best 20 Week Marathon Training Plan

The best 20 week marathon training plan needs to focus on recovery and faster long runs. Remember, you don’t want to run long and slow every single weekend. The strategy I use with my plans, coaching and courses is to alternate a faster, varied paced long run followed the following week by an easier, relaxed long run. Again, adaptation is key. Google the word “Supercompensation“. Thank me later for that.

I can promise you that the majority of your competition has never heard of it. You now do and can add that to your tool kit for success. As mentioned above, you need to do 1, vo2 max workout per week. Of course, depending on the maturity of the athlete, 2 vo2 max workouts. That being said, 1 is sufficient for most. Your vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. You are running so aggressively at this effort you can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up.

So, we need to take mini-breaks between interval efforts. One of the main benefits of these types of workouts is they will help make your goal marathon race pace feel that much easier. Speed workouts, fartlek workouts and hill repetitions are all examples of vo2 max workouts.

Longer Tempo Runs

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past for your marathons? 5 miles? 8? I would recommend working to get them out toward 11 to 14 miles in length. Again, you will be racing your marathon at or very near to your anaerobic threshold. You will be running between 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate at this effort.

So, you can gradually build into spending longer durations at this effort. Of course, vo2 max workouts are spent running at or around 95 to 100 percent of your max heart rate. We can only spend a few seconds to minutes at vo2 max efforts versus several minutes to closer to an hour at anaerobic threshold effort.

The 20 week marathon training plan pdf options here focus on a gradual build up. Remember, fitness cannot be rushed. So, first focus on building your foundational mileage then start marathon specific training, speed development work and then the taper phase. I see far too many runners trying to run far too anaerobically too soon neglecting the aerobic base phase altogether.

Mental Preparation

Mental training is one of the biggest and most neglected pieces of the success puzzle that athletes miss. We spend so much time focusing on physical training that we tend to forget that mental preparation is what matters even more. Of course, you need to do physical training otherwise running a marathon will not be a fun experience.

The world’s top marathoners know that mental training is essential to get to the next level. I used this tactic to get my 5K to 14:18, 10 miles in 50:54, half-marathon to 1:07:06 and marathon down to 2:19:35. I would spend 10 to 15 minutes daily visualizing myself getting across the finish line in my goal times. My goal was to break the 2:22:00 marathon barrier. It was a USA Track and Field Olympic Trials “B” standard time years ago in 2007.

So, I simply did what the best marathoners did and that was introduced mental training into my routine. You have to see what you want in your mind before it will ever become a reality in real life.

Study What The Best Runners Do

I recommend subscribing to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I created new video content there each wee to help beginner to elite level runners make that next big leap in their training. In addition, consider implementing a strength and conditioning routine into your training as well. Remember, you don’t need to be in the gym more than once a week.

So, focus on light weights and high reps. Also, focus on strengthening your core running muscles. For examples, medicine ball drills, box jumps, weighted sled sprints are some of the types of workouts I did. In addition, I would also focus on push ups, planks, sit ups. The goal is to work on any biomechanical issues you may have.

Closing Thoughts

Lastly, make sure to focus on your hydration and nutrition. Site water bottles out every 3 miles or 5 kilometers during your long runs. You need to practice drinking in training. So, don’t wait until the race to find out how much your stomach can handle. Remember, make training the most difficult part of your preparation. The race itself is the celebration of your hard work. Let your competition be uptight and overly nervous the morning of the race, not you.

A major mistake marathoners make is thinking they can run 26.2 miles by sipping water. You need to make sure you hydrating well in the race. Also, watch your pacing. Is your goal to hold 6:52 mile pace or break the 3 hour marathon barrier? Well, you don’t hit the first half of that race in 1:20 if you are aiming for a sub 3 marathon. Remember, you have an additional 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers to go. The goal is 6:52 pace, not 6:06 pace.

I hope this post has been helpful to you. Are you ready to take your marathoning to the next level and take the guesswork out of your preparation? Check out our 20 week marathon training plan pdf options available here at RunDreamAchieve.

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