Are you seeking a better marathon training plan 8 weeks long? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. Can you get in descent shape for a marathon in 2 months? Yes. That being said, a longer build up is far better. I do know that some athletes only have so much time. So, a shorter, 8-week marathon build up is best for them. Perhaps you are one of those athletes. Remember, a marathon training plan 8 weeks long means you have less time to get big results.
I would highly recommend spending at least 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage first. The reason being is you will be strong physically to handle the faster workouts. Of course, you need to have some general overall fitness before starting a marathon training plan. I have created marathon training plans that are 8 to 24 weeks in length here at RunDreamAchieve.
I always recommend to my athletes and visitors of RDA that a 12 to 24 week build up is best. Yes, you can still get in good shape in 2 months. Longer is always better when it comes to training for a race of this length. Remember, this is 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers, not a 5k or 10k. So, more is required to sustain goal marathon race pace.
Can You Train for a Marathon in 8 Weeks?
If the 8 week marathon training plan is organized correctly, yes. Of course, if you are not running fast enough, consistently you will have some challenges. It takes the body to between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. So, a marathon training plan 8 weeks long means you have limited time to get in superior shape.
A longer 4 to 6 month marathon training plan will set you up for success. You will have more time to prepare. In addition, you will allot sufficient time in order for your body to adapt to the hard training that you are doing. I would highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I personally use the Garmin 245. It helps me to stay in the correct heart rate zones so that I don’t over train.
Is 3 Months Enough Training for a Marathon?
Now we are talking. Again, the longer the build up the better off you are going to be. 8 weeks is enough time to get in good shape. That being said, a marathon build up of 12 to 24 weeks is best. In fact, 20 to a 24 week marathon training plan is the best timeframe. How long have your tempo runs been in the past training for your marathons?
3 miles? 5 miles? I would suggest you extending that out to around 10 to 12 miles (16 to 19 kilometers). Yes, you will most certainly need to first adapt to a 3 to 5 mile tempo run first. We are running between 85 to 89% of our maximum heart rate running at our anaerobic threshold. Pace sustainment is one of the biggest challenges for most marathoners.
So, they can sustain pace for a segment of the race but have problems sustaining it the entire race. So, the goal here is to improve your lactate tolerance. You want to slow down less than the competition you are racing against. Yes, if you start extending the duration of your tempo runs you are going to outlast them.
When Should Your Longest Run Be Before a Marathon?
I would do my longest long run around 3 to 4 weeks out from my goal marathon. Again, focus on quality versus quantity. You can be running high mileage and still never meet your goal marathon time. The world’s top runners are running upwards of 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below their lactate threshold. Easy running is still very important. We have to run easy to burn fat, build endurance and recover from hard training.
So, we can’t continue to train hard and expect high returns on our time investment. We need the the time to recover. That being said, easy running will not help you to race at faster paces. Remember, we have to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Fast, anaerobic workouts to this. So, you need to be doing 1, vo2 max workouts per week.
Wr are running between 95 to 100% of our maximum heart rate running at vo2 max effort. Your vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at speed so fast we simply cannot clear the lactic acid faster than it is building up. The result is we have to temporarily stop so that the lactic acid levels lower to reasonable levels. So, the faster you train the more fast twitch muscle fibers are recruited. The more of these we can recruit the more efficient we will race.
Can I Run a Marathon if I Have Only Run 15 Miles?
Are we talking about 15 miles total or the long run you have done is 15 miles? 15 miles for a long run is still sufficient for most runners. Of course, if you are aiming to run a faster marathon time like a 3 hour marathon you may need to run longer. Again, it all comes back to the quality of your mileage rather than the quantity. You can still run high mileage and too slow and never meet your time goal.
I would recommend doing long runs at least 16 miles and preferably 20 to 22 miles in length. You need to still work toward running close to the marathon distance in training. I highly recommend doing varied paced, long runs. A major mistake runners make is running long and slow every single weekend. Below is an example of a varied paced long run I did prior to running 2:19:35 for the marathon. In fact, runs like this helped me to lower my marathon PB from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.
- 2 mile jog, 5 miles@5:25 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 7 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:05, 1 mile jog (21 miles)
So, as you can see there is a variation of training paces here. I was running very easy, faster than goal race pace and slightly slower than goal race pace. Remember, I ended up holding 5:19 mile pace for 26.2 consecutive miles. I was also doing speed workouts like 6x1mile in 4:45 per rep with 60 seconds rest between reps. Also, I spent time jogging too running at 7 to 9 minute mile pace too. Again, recovery is vital so do not neglect this critical step of marathoning success.
Jog On Recovery Days
Make sure you are jogging on recovery days. Remember, you should always follow a harder, faster long run with an easy relaxed long run. I would follow runs like the one listed above with an 8 to 9 minute per mile long run. So, extremely relaxed compared to faster workouts like this. In fact, the long run was the hardest workout I did during my heavy training build ups.
Faster long runs, like speed training, hill repetitions and fartlek workouts will take a lot out of you. So, it is essential that you give yourself a minimum of a day and preferably 2 to 3 days of recovery. Yes, there were times where I needed as much as 3 days of easy jogging after doing long runs like the one listed above. Again, you don’t want diminished returns on your time investment.
There is only so many times you can stress the body. So, the best runners I have trained with definitely pay attention to recovery. You can get epsom salt baths, massotherapy and easy jogging for recovery. Do what you need to do in order to maximize your training and racing results. You should be running around 65 percent of your max heart rate running at easy effort. You can get an estimate of what your max heart rate is by subtracting your age from 220.
Are you spending any time training mentally for you marathon and other races? I ask that because there are so many runners who only focus on physical training. The world’s top runners combine both mental as well as physical training. So, mimic what the very best runners do and you will get similar results. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I aim to focus on making at least 2 new training and racing videos there each week.
So, start spending about 10 minutes each day seeing yourself getting across the finish line in your goal time. Also, passing people, running strong and competitive. Remember, pay attention to all the fundamentals and you will get superior results. Focus on drinking during your long runs. I would recommend dropping water bottles out every 3 miles or 5 kilometers during your long run course.
Do not wait until race day to find out what amount of fluid is best for you to ingest. Also, aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Of course, your work schedule may affect this but do the best you can to get proper sleep. The world’s top runners are drinking, not sipping in their races. So, make sure not to neglect this aspect of your preparation. I hope that this post has been helpful to you. Yes, a marathon training plan 8 weeks long can get the job done. Check out the resources available here to you.