Marathon 24 Week Training Plan | Elite Tips to PR

Have you been looking for a new marathon 24 week training plan? If so, I think you have landed on the right website. My hope is that this article will give you some clues as to what you need to change to get a new PR. Of course, every athlete is different. That being said, a 6 month marathon training plan is a must have for athletes who are seeking excellence. A major mistake many runners make is trying to cram all their training in a shorter build up.

Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being place on it. So, a marathon 24 week training plan will ensure that you are allotting sufficient time to adapt. Yes, many runners can still get descent results off of a shorter 8 to 12 week block of training. It really comes down to the quality of the training that you are doing rather that the volume. You can run high mileage and still never set a new personal best for the marathon.

Again, we have to stress the energy systems of the body adequately. The world’s top runners are running around 40% of their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold. We conduct our tempo runs at or around 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate. So, the longer you can extend the duration of your tempo runs the better.

Is 24 Weeks Enough to Train for a Marathon?

Yes. In fact, it is the optimal time frame to get ready. Athletes must have a high belief in delayed gratification if they are going to get it right in this event. Remember, this is 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers, not a 5k or 10k. So, we are talking about a much more complex event. The good news is that if you follow a solid marathon 24 week training plan that is designed correctly you will succeed.

I would focus first on running at least 4 weeks of easier, aerobic running. The reason for this is you want to build general fitness. More importantly, strengthen your ligaments, joints and muscles for the faster workouts you will be doing. Also, consider investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245 to help me stay in the correct heart rate zones and not to over train. It is much more fun to focus on heart rate during a tempo run or faster long run than worrying about splits.

Your splits per mile or per kilometer will quicken as you get fit. That being said, focus on your heart rate and you will notice significant changes in your fitness. One, the heart won’t have to work as hard as it did in the first few weeks of your build up. In addition, your paces per mile or kilometer will significantly increase while running at your precious heart rates.

How Long Does it Take an Unfit Person to Train for a Marathon?

I think athletes should focus on a minimum of 12 weeks and preferably between 16 to 24 weeks for a marathon. Again, the longer your training build up the more time you will allot for your body to adapt. It is very difficult to get in great shape in a matter of a few weeks for a race of this distance. It is much more wise to take your time and focus on a longer build up.

Of course, I do have marathon 24 week training plan options here. That being said, also have shorter training plans ranging in duration from 8 to 20 weeks. Longer build ups are always better. Remember, it isn’t just about the duration of your training plan that matters. The quality of the workouts matter most as well as a training plan that emphasizes recovery.

Again, the real benefits of your hard workouts are going to come from within the rest cycle. Google the word “Supercompensation”. It is a word that your competition more than likely has never heard of. I have trained with 2:10 marathoners who would jog at 8 to 9 minute mile pace on their easy days. Remember, these are runners who can sustain under 5 minute mile pace for 26.2 miles. So, if these athletes can back off on their paces then so can you and I.

Is it Realistic to Train for a Marathon in a Year?

I do not think training for 52 weeks straight is wise. Again, we have to ensure adaptation and recovery takes place. So, I would break my training perhaps into 2, 24 weeks build ups with 2 weeks off during that period of time. 1 week completely off will do more good than harm. In addition, you will not lose any fitness taking 7 days off from running.

Of course, I know that taking time off is hard for many runners as it was for me. That being said, later on in my career I knew better and so enjoyed that down time. The reason being is I knew that I had to be strategic in my marathon training. I also started doing faster, varied paced long runs. Do you do your long runs slow and easy every single weekend? If so, I would highly recommend you start running these at faster, varied paces. I used this tactic to lower my marathon PB from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.

Below is an example of one of the faster long run workouts I did prior to breaking 2:20 for the marathon.

  • 2 mile warm-up, 5 miles@5:35, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 4 miles@6:05 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:05, 2 miles easy, 3 miles@5:20 mile pace, 1 mile jog (23 miles)

I would always run the following week’s long run at or around 8 to 9 minute mile pace

When Should Your Longest Run Be Before a Marathon?

I usually did my longest long runs about 3 to 4 weeks out from my goal marathon. I am also a big believer in doing a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. Of course, many runners still do well dropping their volume and intensity 21 days out from their goal races. That being said, I have set personal bests from the mile (4:22.1) to the marathon (2:19:35) using this tactic.

You are more than welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my racing history. Are you spending time training mentally for your races? Mental training is one of the biggest reasons I was able to go from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 for the marathon. Runners usually focus only on physical training and commonly bypass mental preparation.

Remember, the world’s best middle to long distance runners focus on both. So, make sure you are mimicking what the best runners do. Average runners do not visit this website and I am sure you are not seeking average results.

Focus On Your Speed Development

Marathoners following a legitimate 24 week marathon training plan need to be doing at least 1, vo2 max workout per week. We run between 95 to 100 percent of our maximum heart rate running at this intensity. Again, the goal here is to get our goal marathon race pace to feel easier. In addition, to improve the body’s lactate tolerance.

The only way to do this is to do faster, anaerobic training. So, explosive type workouts like speed training will help us to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these we can recruit the more efficient we are going to run. In addition, the longer we will sustain goal race pace. Also, sustain it longer than our competition.

Closing Thoughts

I would also recommend dropping water bottles out every 3 miles or 5 kilometers during your long runs. Remember, this is a 26.2 mile or 42.2 kilometer race. So, you need to make sure you are hydrating well in the race. In addition, taking in sufficient calories. You can easily ruin your marathon finish time by neglecting this. Watch your pacing in the race as well.

My recommendation is to run a negative split. In fact, most of the world’s fastest marathoners follow this tactic and usually set new personal bests. In addition, so do beginner to national class runners. So, be conservative in the early stages of your future marathons. Focus all your energy on that last 10 kilometers of the race when other runners will be the most tired.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you. Be sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new training and racing tutorial videos there each week. My goal is to help runners such as yourself get to the next level in your racing. Keep me updated on your progress.

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