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Advanced Marathon Training Plan

Get-SBS-Her-PR-and-Boston-Qualifier Plan

  M Tu W Th F Sa Su Total
Week 1 45 min. easy running 20 min. warm up, 6 x 1 min. hill repeats, recover on downhill, 15 min. cool down REST 75 min. of hill running, aggressive on the uphills 30 min. easy run to gym, 20 min. of core + upper body exercises 12 miles with hills, 9:15-9:45 pace 45 min. easy running, 6 x 100 meter strides at end of run  
Week 2 60 min. easy running, 6 x 100 meter strides at end 20 min. warm up, 6 x 800 meters @ 3:45 pace with 1:30 recovery, 15 min. cool down REST 90 min. of hill running, be aggressive on the down hills 30 min. easy run to gym, 20 min. of core + upper body exercises Marathon Simulation: 14 miles total. 10 miles @ 9:15-9:30 pace (easy running), then 4 miles @ 8:45-9:00 pace 30 min. easy running, 6 x 100 meter strides at end of run  
Week 3 45 min. easy running 20 min. warm up, 6 x 800 meters @ 3:45 pace with 1:30 recovery, 15 min. cool down REST 50 min. of hill running 30 min. easy run to gym, 20 min. of core + upper body exercises 14 miles easy running with hills, 9:15-9:45 pace REST  
Week 4 60 min. easy running, 6 x 100 meter strides at end 20 min. warm up, 6 x 1000 meters @ 4:35-4:45 pace with 1:30 recovery, 15 min. cool down REST 90 min. of hill running, be aggressive on the up hills 30 min. easy run to gym, 20 min. of core + upper body exercises Mara Sim: 16 miles total. 10 miles @ 9:15-9:30 pace, then 6 miles @ 8:45-9:00 pace REST  
Week 5 45 minutes of easy running, 6 x 100 meter strides at end 20 min. warm up, 6 x 1000 meters @ 4:35-4:40 pace with 1:30 recovery, 15 min. cool down REST 20 minute warm up, 5 miles tempo @ 7:45-8:00 pace, 20 min. cool down 45 min. easy running 18 miles easy running with hills @ 9:00-9:20 pace REST  
Week 6 45 minutes of easy running with 6 x 100 meter strides at end of run 20 min. warm up, 4 x 1200 meters @ 5:35-5:45 pace with 2:00 recovery, 20 min. cool down REST 45 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter strides at end of run 20 minute warm up, 6 miles tempo @ half-marathon goal pace, 20 min. cool down 30 minutes easy running 18 miles easy running @ 85% marathon pace  
Week 7 REST 20 min. warm up, 8 x 800 meter @ 3:35-3:40 pace with 200 meter recovery, 15  min. cool down REST 15 minute warm up, 3 miles at tempo @ 7:45 pace, 15 min. cool down 60 minutes easy running 30 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run Eugene Women’s Half Marathon: Race it!  
Week 8 REST REST or cross-train 45 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 20 min. warm up, 4 x 1 mile @ 7:25-7:35 pace with 2:00 recovery jog between each mile, 20 min. cool down
OR
20 min. warm up, 6 miles at goal marathon pace (MP), 20 min. cool down
45 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run REST 20 miles at 85% of marathon pace  
Week 9 45 minutes of easy running or REST 20 min. warm up, 4 x 1200 meters @ 5:35-5:40 pace with 2:00 recovery, 20 min. cool down REST 20 min. warm up, 8 miles at MP, 20 min. cool down 45 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 30 min. easy running Mara Sim: 22 miles total. 16 miles @ 9:15-9:30 pace, then 6 miles @ 8:30-8:45 pace (OR 22 miles at 85% MP)  
Week 10 REST cross-train 45 miles easy running, then 6 x 100 meter strides at end 20 min. warm up, 10 miles at MP, 20 min. cool down 45 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 30 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 16 miles at 85% of MP  
Week 11 REST 20 min. warm up, 4 x 1 mile @7:24-7:35 pace with 2:00 recovery jog, 20 min. cool down 30 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 20 min. warm up, 4 miles at MP, 20 min. cool down 45 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run REST 10 miles at 85% MP, then 2 miles MP  
Week 12 REST 20 min. warm up, 2 x 2 miles tempo flat course @ 8:15 pace, 5 min. recovery btwn 2 miles, 10 min. cool down 35 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 3 miles at marathon race pace, 3 min. recovery jog, 1 mile @ 7:20, 1 mile cool down REST 20-30 min. easy running with 6 x 100 meter flat strides at end of run 26.2!  
                 
ANY_CHARACTER_HERE
ANY_CHARACTER_HERES

I have a two-pronged goal for the Portland Marathon: Qualify for Boston (a sub-4:00 finish time) and to PR. My current personal record is 3:52; I believe I can run a 3:48 or better. (There: I put it out into the universe!) This plan emphasizes hills as it was the one I used while training for an incredibly hilly marathon–Big Sur. While Portland has only two hills, I’m aiming to include a lot of hills again to strengthen my legs and make me faster. (Yet I reserve the right to make some–but not all–of the long weekend runs flatter this cycle than last one!)

Hills: Varying lengths. When I did weekday hilly runs, the hills typically were fairly steep and took about a minute to crest. I’d string together about 10 to 15 of such hills in one run. On long weekend runs, I tackled longer, less steep ones, such as Portland’s Rocky Butte, which is roughly 1.25 miles up each side. That said, toward end of training cycle, on 90-minute hill runs, I’d drive toward Rocky Butte, park, and then run flat ground until I got to Rocky Butte. Then I’d run up one side, down the back side, then turn around and run back up, down other side, and run flat to my car.

Upper-body exercises (in no specific order): Bicep curls. Deltoid raises (overhead and out to side like cross). Lat pulldowns. Tricep kickbacks. Tricep pulldowns. Push-ups. Bench press. Bench rows.

Core: Plank. Crunches. Bicycle. Curl-downs. Hundreds. Supermans. Crunches on a ball. Combo exercise done lying on back: kick both legs out, very low to ground, then pull them back in. Then raise them straight(-ish!) toward ceiling and lift hips off floor. Return legs.

Plan originally included a Yoga for Runners class every Tuesday night. While I love the class–and how it made my tight glutes and hams feel–the Tuesday post-dinner time was lousy for our family schedule. I only went about three times before I prioritized family-time over unkink-time.

Plan courtesy of Andrew Kastor, coach of High Sierra Striders in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

What SBS Really Did

  M Tu W Th F Sa Su Total
Week 1 Hey, hey, who knew training started today??? Certainly not ME! Instead I did 75-min. hilly road road on mtn bike (at least workout included hills, right?) 65 minutes of hilly trail running, including one ascent that involved nine minutes of steady climbing (Holman Rd., Portlanders). Basically Thursday’s workout. Tomorrow running an hour with friend. So not sticking to plan, really, for week one!   65 minutes with running buddy Heidi. Golf course loop. 44 minutes with 6 x 1-min hills on Alameda ridge. (Pretty much swapped Tue/Th this week)(ran into Joanna after hill #4!)  Swam 2,000 yards (special opp to use awesome pool–couldn’t resist!)  Ran 1:55 with Christine White (up longer side of Rocky Butte, then down). Garmin battery dead, but figure it was about 11.5 mi. but great hill work!  Ran 49:49, including 6 x 100 strides (which felt s-l-o-w!)  35.5 miles (lower than some previous weeks b/c of biking and swimming)
Week 2  Ran 64+ min., including 6 x 100 strides at Grant track. Lovely morning.  6 x 800 meters. Only nailed 3:45 on final repeat. Otherwise it was 3:47-3:59, argh! (Had low-grade fever, sore throat, roiling stomach)  (welcome) REST (twins’ 5th birthday!!)   AWESOME 90-minute run. Ran up Greeley, then tossed in some Alameda Ridge (8th, 9th, etc.) hills toward the end. Felt invigorated after first mile.  Ran with Sheila for first time. Sore throat had returned, so ran about 40 minutes total (yet seemed like, oh, 2 minutes thanks for running buddy!). Went back to bed for an hour immediately afterward (at 6:45 a.m.)  Sellwood Bridge loop solo. No complaints. Ran early, leaving house at 6:10 a.m. 10 miles: avg pace 9:24. 4 miles: 8:59 (incl some hills en route back from river). total: 14.4 miles  30 minutes easy, 6 x 100 strides. 34+ min.  46.5 miles (Achilles pain has decreased greatly. Needed rest day Wed., but felt great by weekend)
Week 3  Easy 50-min. run with Heidi around Alberta Park, followed by nap with John on 3rd floor before school  What a difference a week–and being healthy–makes! 6 x 800: 3:40, 3:47, 3:36 (!), 3:45, 3:46, 3:43. (Ran into Nolee at track.)  Ran 57 min. in SLC with Kristen. SUCKED wind, felt sorta pukey. New respect for runners who live at altitude (Dimity!).  REST  Ran 35 minutes, u-b weights and core at gym.  Ran 14 miles(including Rocky Butte) with Sheila. 2 hrs., 15 minutes (9:39 avg).  REST  38 miles
Week 4  Easy hour plus 6 x 100 meter strides. 64 min total  6 x 1000 at track. 4:44, 4:37, 4:32, 4:34, 4:41, 4:43. Remembered to wear DS-Trainers.  REST  12.5 miles, including 5 at tempo (only hit 8:25 avg). In Port Townsend. Trail closed. ARGH: Just SHOOT me!  Easy 30-minute run.  16 miles, including miles 10-15 at slightly slower than MP (8:59 avg. HOT!). Felt SO much better than  REST  46.6 miles
Week 5  Easy 45 min., plus 6 x 100. 49 min total  6 x 1000 at track. 4:44, 4:37, 4:39, 4:38, 4:34, 4:35. (4:37.8 avg. v. 4:38.5 last week)  REST  Great, albeit slightly rainy, trail run with Sarah B. Got HER to talk up Holman (brilliant!). 1:42.  Easy, rambling 45-minute run. First run with Garmin Forerunner 110 (ran into Tahni near Grant Park). 4.8 miles  Ran solo. Had to wait for H’thorne Bridge to raise & lower. Up Terwilliger. Got turned around in cemetery. Ended up running 20.5 miles (avg 9:40) instead of intended 18. Felt good, though. Well hydrated.  REST  49 miles
Week 6  Ran with Heidi, including strides! 52:42  4 x 1200 at track. 5:45; 5:41; 5:36; 5:35 (hot damn!). Longer felt better than shorter. (Saw Tom B. after I finished.)  REST  45 easy-ish minutes with Sheila from her digs, then 6 x strides with her  20+ minute warm-up (ran into E., and had to hit Penin. Park potty), then 6 miles at HMP (bingo: exactly 8:00. felt confident and at-ease!), then 22 minutes cool down  Biked for 65 minutes (mtn bike on pavement) instead of 30-minute run. (oooh, rebel!)  18.37 miles averaging 9:36s. Ran 15+ with Ellison. Ran 10+ miles of PDX course, including up to St. John’s (9:40 mile). Woo-hoo.  ~47 miles, plus 65 minutes on bike
Week 7  REST  8 x 800 at different track. Not up to snuff. 3:34, 3:40, 3:41, 3:41, 3:39, 3:40, 3:43, 3:47  REST  15 min. warmup, 3 tempo miles (avg 7:47), 15 min cooldown  Ran easy hour w/ Sheila  30 minutes easy, plus 6 x 100 m. strides  Eugene Women’s Half: 1:48:00 (8:14 avg). 10th in age group. 92nd woman overall  37.3 miles
Week 8  REST  Rode mtn bike on road for 60 minutes. Unexpected RAIN.  45 minutes easy, then 6 x 100 m. strides. Felt SO much faster and easier than usual. (yay!)  20 min w-up, then 6 miles at project MP (okay, slightly faster: 8:31 avg), then 20 min cd. (Saw Korns at light while crossing MLK)  45 minutes, then 6 x 100 m strides (with Heidi)  20 miles solo (Sheila had to bail at last minute) on much of marathon course. Portland Fit hooked me up with H2O and gels at 14.97. Averaged 9:35s “:>)  REST (in Seattle at Iron Girl, working)  41 miles, plus 1 hour mtn bike on road.
Week 9  45 e-z minutes with Heidi around park  4 x 1200 meters at the (empty!) track. Felt nearly effortless thanks to  new mindset. 5:33, 5:36, 5:37, 5:36. Woo-hoo!   REST  20 min. warm-up, then 8 miles at MP (averaged 8:28, woo-hoo! Felt better in final 3 miles than I did in mile 5 last week), then 20+ min. home. (Saw E. )  45 minutes e-z then 6 x 100 strides.  32 minutes e-z running (in sunshine!)  22 miles, about 19.5 with Sheila. 205 path to Springwater to Esplanade. Garmin battery died at 18.8 miles (argh!). Surprisingly decent weather, but HUMID. Felt fairly decent until final 2 or so miles. But recovering faster than expected.  56 miles (!!)
Week 10  REST  bike and abs at gym (first time there in FOREVER!)  Ran golf course loop with Sarah B., then 6 x 100 strides. 55 min.  20-min warmup, then 10 miles at MP (avg. 8:33s–woo-HOO!), then 20-min. cooldown. River loop.  45 minutes with Heidi around Alberta Park, then 6 x 100 meter strides solo.  30 minutes easy then 6 x 100 strides  16.5 miles. Rain on and off. With E. for about 13 miles, random, she-picked-it route. Worried about how I’d feel, but was diligent about fuel and felt dandy. 9:35 avg pace.  ~45 miles, plus bike/abs at gym
Week 11  REST  4 x 1-mile repeats at track. HUMID. Couldn’t nail #s to save my life: 7:38; 7:43; 7:47; 7:51. Oh, well: Have to have one crummy workout pre-marathon!  E-Z 30 minutes plus 6 x 100 strides.  Ran to river, then 4 miles at MP (avg 8:30s), then home.  Ran 45 min., then 6 x 100 strides. (Heidi turned her ankle early on.)  REST  Ran to Sheila’s house, then 8 miles with her (went by in blink of eye!), then 2 miles home at MP. (9:35 avg, then 8:31 avg.)  ~36 miles
Week 12  REST  20 min. warm-up, then 2 x 2 miles with 5 min. rest in btwn, then 10 minutes home. (averaged about 8:08 and 8:13. Tried to keep it to 8:15s). Felt natural.  Easy 35-minute run, then 6 x 100 strides.  3 miles at MP (avg 8:35), then 3-min. rest, then banged out 7:14 mile at track. Trotted mile home. “:>)     26.2!  
                 
9 Comments leave one →
  1. Megan permalink
    July 20, 2010 7:53 am

    SBS – I love it! Thanks for putting this out there!! I’m planning to do Seattle with Jason at the end of November and am weighing the VAST difference between your two plans!! Love lots about this one too although I’m not sure I’m so sophisticated in my running even though this will be my fifth marathon. We’re a few weeks out and are building our base. Can’t wait to see both plans fill in and maybe advanced is just what I need to keep in interesting while I likely train in the rain!!
    Let me know how/where you want support at Portland, would love to run a few with you!

    • bowenshea permalink*
      July 20, 2010 11:52 am

      Megan–
      You not “sophisticated” enough!??! You already BQ’d and your qualifying standard is WAY lower than mine!! You are greatly underestimating your prowess. (You need to be delusionally cocky like I am! ha, ha)

      I’d love to have you join me for part of Portland. My good friend Ellison is also planning on helping me.

  2. Rosemary permalink
    July 20, 2010 10:25 am

    Thanks for the plan — looks like a good one! I just moved to Portland and am trying to figure out the running scene here . I’m also looking for a yoga class — can you tell me where the Yoga for Runners is offered? I don’t know if I could swing Tuesday nights either but I’d like to! Thanks!

  3. bowenshea permalink*
    July 20, 2010 11:55 am

    Welcome to Portland, Rosemary! What part of town are you in? I’m not much for group runs, but if you are, there are plenty of marathon training runs on Saturdays and Sundays. And certainly you have to check out Leif on a weekend. Or river loop during work day.

    Yoga for Runners: At Northwest Personal Training (also known as NW Women’s Fitness) on NE Broadway near Fred Meyer. http://www.nwpersonaltraining.com/ When I took it, Kirsten (sp?) was instructor and she was fantastic. I loved the class (and I’m not into yoga usually) but timing just didn’t work.

    • Rosemary permalink
      July 20, 2010 12:09 pm

      thanks — we’re in NW. We’re not too far from an entrance to wildwood trail, so I’ve run there a few times — its gorgeous. I’d like to check out some groups — I had a great group I ran with back in Maryland and I miss them!

  4. July 20, 2010 4:46 pm

    Okay, you are tempting me with this one! Running Portland too. I thought I had decided on Hal Higdon’s Intermediate II program with speed and hills thrown in there but your plan is making me think otherwise. I too, am running Eugene Half and would like to PR in Portland. I have just ran one other marathon, rock n roll seattle just a month ago with 3:57:59. Would love to shoot for around 3:50 in Portland. Look forward to following your training! Good luck!

    • bowenshea permalink*
      July 23, 2010 4:24 pm

      Julie–
      Awesome job on marathon #1! I just looked you up on FB and I see you are Megan’s friend. Wish you gals lived down here in Portland so we could do some long runs together. Let me know what you decide on which plan to follow.

      • July 25, 2010 7:00 pm

        Sarah,
        My friend and I finally decided to jump on ‘Sarah’s team’ and go with your plan! At first glance, I thought, “Okay, very doable”… As I was writing it out on my calendar, I kept thinking, “Man, this is hardcore” (especially with three kids under 6 and husband out of town a lot in the coming months) 🙂 Still doable but its definitely going to stretch me beyond my comfort zone! Your quote from your book about your finish at Eugene, was actually what got me across the finish line in under 4 in Seattle. I wrote about it here…
        http://marathonmoments.blogspot.com/2010/07/week-of-marathon-posts-day-6-what-i.html

        It’s kind of funny, my friend and I felt funny referring to you as “sarah” (ie, “what do you think of Sarah’s plan?”) at first as if we knew you…but I guess, through your writing we feel like we do. Thanks for your inspiration.

        Yes! I am a friend of Megan Keim (we go to the same MOMS group) She is so great and I also look up to her as a running mentor!! All megan has to say, is “go” and we’ll be there to run some long runs! 😉

        Maybe we’ll run into you in Eugene at the women’s half!

        Here we go! Portland 10/10/10 Thanks again!

        Julie

  5. Kdubs permalink
    March 30, 2011 2:33 pm

    I truly laughed out loud when I got to the end of the post and realized you logged what you really did LOL…. I was taken back at first. Have you changed this training strategy? As I mentioned on FB (if you remember me LOL :)) I just ran my second marathon but my first was before kids. This round of training was very different. So now I’m bit by the bug and much like you am dying to run in under 4 hours- I came kind of close but not really. I aspire to run another marathon and I’m trying to figure out what to TRY to add to my training and do differently. I definitely did not do all of this and I’m trying to figure out what I can practically put into my plan…. any tips would be awesome. May be this should have been an email? 🙂 Cheers.

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