4 Unexpected Ways to Train for a Marathon
Speed work, long runs, and intervals aren’t the only way to prep for 26.2 miles. Try these other plans to finish strong
Logging 140 miles per week may make sense for an Olympic marathoner. But training for 26.2 doesn’t necessarily require seven days of running, 20-mile long runs, or giving up your other favorite sports. In fact, for most recreational runners, it’s probably best to trade the running-only plans of yore for a schedule that mixes things up. Cut boredom—and help prevent injury—with one of these alternative training plans.
RELATED: Your 12-Week Marathon Training Plan
You can use your keyboard to see the next slide ( ← previous, → next)
Every good runner knows she should take off at least one day a week, but some experts— including Bill Pierce, director of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) in Greenville, SC—think that number should be closer to four. Pierce developed a program called “3 plus 2”: three runs each week with two cross-training sessions, along with some strength training and stretching. The runs include a track repeat workout (building aerobic capacity), tempo (anaerobic threshold training), and long run (to gain endurance). Cross-training workouts include non-weight bearing sports like cycling, swimming, or rowing. “The goal for these is to build aerobic fitness without impact, which can lead to Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, knee pain, and hip pain,” Pierce says. Running muscles can recover though you’re still working hard during the cross-training sessions, doing away with easy days and increasing the quality of your workouts throughout the week.