marathon training week 10

This is part 3 of my 12-part marathon training series. This will coach you through your marathon build up, week by week. These guidelines will work for the majority of runners. Runners at the extreme ends of the spectrum will need to modify.

Marathon Training Week 10: Mileage and Frequency

Week 10 is a down week. This means that your long run can be a little shorter, typically the same length as week 12. For most marathoners, that's 12-14 miles (19-22km).

You will probably still be adding some weekly miles, just not in your long run. Most plans will have you building weekly mileage a little every week for about three or four weeks and then have a true down week where not just your long run is shorter, but all your runs. This helps you absorb your training better and get you a little more recovery. You can choose to do this now or save it for Week 8.

If you are feeling great this week and want to try adding another running day to your plan, this could be a good time. Trim back some of the length of some of your other runs so you are not dramatically increasing your weekly mileage and see how it goes!

Marathon Training Week 10: Schedule Examples

If you are running 4 days a week, here's what your running schedule could look like:

  • Easy with strides: 6 miles (10k)
  • Speed or tempo: 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy: 6 miles (10k)
  • Long run: 12 miles (19k)
  • TOTAL: 32 miles (52k)

If you are running 5 days a week, it could look like this:

  • Easy with strides: 6 miles (10k)
  • Speed: 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy run: 6 miles (10k)
  • Tempo: 6 miles. (10k)
  • Long run: 12 miles (19k)
  • TOTAL: 38 miles (62k)

If you are running 6 days a week, it could look like this:

  • Easy with strides: 7 miles (11k)
  • Speed: 7 miles (11k)
  • Easy run: 6 miles (10k)
  • Tempo: 8 miles. (13k)
  • Easy run: 7 miles (11k)
  • Long run: 12 miles (19k)
  • TOTAL: 47 miles (75k)

I don’t recommend running 7 days a week in marathon training unless you are very advanced, very strong, and very injury proof.  It usually causes more harm than good because a rest day is critical to building and repair.

I'm not adding in exactly when you should rest since that will depend on your unique schedule and how you are feeling.

Marathon Training Week 10: Mimic Your Course

Your long run this week is shorter, all easy pace to build your aerobic capacity.  This is a perfect week to add some hills if you are running a hilly race like New York or find some pancake flats for Chicago.

Getting course-specific for your long runs can make a big difference.  You will use different muscles on a hilly course, a flat course, or a downhill course so you want to practice that as often as you can.

Many people think that a flat course like Chicago is easier, but when you’ve used the exact same muscles repeatedly for 20 miles, you’ll be wishing for a hill or two!  If your muscles are used to the repetition from your long runs, it will make the race go much smoother.

If your race course profile is a lot different than anything you can run near home, don’t stress too much about that.  Flatlanders can use bridges or parking garages for hills and mountain dwellers can run flat on a track, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Marathon Training Week 10: Speed Work

Your long run is shorter this week, so hopefully you have a little more energy to get one or two solid speed sessions in.  Most marathoners can handle an interval workout early in the week and a tempo run two or three days later.

A great tempo run to try is the cutdown or progressive tempo.  After a mile or two easy paced warm up, start increasing your pace 10-15 seconds every mile.  Depending on your fitness and experience, this could be 3-8 miles.  Your final mile should feel quite challenging, but not impossible, at around 5k-10k pace (or whatever pace is high effort, but not all out).  Finish with a mile or two of easy cool down jogging.

Support Your Running

Every week, you’ll be supporting your training strength, drills and mobility work. If you’re feeling like the strength sessions are no longer challenging as you are getting stronger, feel free to go heavier.  But your priority is running, so don’t go overboard!  As always, sleep, recovery, and rest get even more important every week, so do your best to get enough.


The challenge with marathon nutrition is that you will often need to eat when you are not hungry.  Exercise can be an appetite suppressant, so if you are not feeling like eating right after a run that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!

Your body has slowed the appetite hormones because it thinks you are being chased by a tiger and eating can wait.  When things start to normalize a few hours later, you’ve delayed the opportunity to fix the damage done from your workout. 

This is why you might also find that you are ravenous when you think you shouldn’t be.  Underfueling paradoxically often leads to overeating which is why some marathoners gain weight in training.  Break the cycle by eating carbs and protein after every run.

When you increase your training load, your fueling has to increase as well to be able to build from all the hard work you are doing.  Be sure that you are eating when you are hungry, even on rest days.

Looking Ahead

We’re in the single digits next week!  In Week 9, we go back up.  I’ll dig a little deeper into hydration and electrolytes and let you know one of my favorite tempo workouts with a fascinating history.

If you missed earlier posts in the 12 Week Marathon series, here's where to find them:

Before you begin marathon training

Week 12

Week 11

About Claire

Coach Claire has helped hundreds of runners chase their dreams and conquer big goals. Her coaching philosophy combines science-based training, plant-based nutrition, and mindset techniques to unlock every runner's true potential. She's an ASFA certified running coach, sports nutrition specialist, a 2:58 marathoner, mom, and borderline obsessive plant lover.

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