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Marathon Training: How Many Days, How Many Miles Per Week?

Posted Oct 14 2009 10:00pm

I know that from training for my previous two marathons, beginning training for my third (jacksonville in December) and from listening to friends and their tales of training runs that training can take on many forms.

You may wind up doing:

The Five Day Plan

Running five days per week until you reach your peak.

The Four Day Plan

Running four days per week until you reach your peak.

High Mileage Plan

Accumulating up to 50 or 60 miles per week at the peak of your plan to prepare for the race.

Lower Mileage Plan

Keeping weekly miles down to 30-40.

There are more plans than this, of course. You may be on a walking plan, where you walk some/run some. You may do cross training during your marathon training, or you may refuse to for fear of injuring yourself by doing something else/something new.

I’d love to hear your stories about training for the marathon you are currently planning to run or about one you have run in the past.

Specifically, how many miles per week are you running? How many days per week? Are you cross training or not? What additional physical activities are you doing for preparation.

My Schedule

My marathon training schedule has changed for each marathon.

Marathon #1

I ran my first marathon in California on February 3, 2008. I trained four days a week, my highest run a 20 miler (only one) and my other runs generally staying between 3-5 miles. I believe I had one middle of the week day that got up to mile 7 but no more. I had pretty low mileage going into the race but trained well and did fine, with no injuries.

Marathon #2

Disney, January 11, 2009 when I messed up my knee around mile 18. For Disney I trained 4 days per week with one 20 miler BUT I feel I didn’t do the best I could have done. I skipped several long runs due to moving across the country, and I wasn’t running too much during the rest of the week either.

Marathon #3

Jacksonville, Dec. 20th, if all goes well. I have to say, training for me has drastically changed since #1 and #2. I have:

  1. Increased mileage per week – I’m up to 30-35 right now with about 9 weeks to go
  2. Increased days – I am doing 5 days per week now instead of 4
  3. Included leg strengthening – Since I believe my hamstring issue was a result of weak leg muscles and perhaps an imbalance, I am now including leg exercises twice per week at the gym to strengthen both my quads and hamstrings (and what a difference it has made!)
  4. Included more stretching – I’m stretching not just after runs but each night as well, working again on the areas around my hamstrings/quads/calves.

We will see if it makes a difference. I believe that it will, as my running seems much stronger than before.

What are you doing? Please share stories!


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