marathon training week 11

This is the second 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.

As I mentioned last week, I like to toggle between easier long runs and harder combo long runs every other week.  This allows you to keep your mileage strong, but also give you an extra challenge every other week.  To make things easy to remember, even weeks are easier, odd weeks are harder.

Week 11 is an up week.

Marathon Training Week 11: Mileage and Frequency

Your long run will be a little longer this week. You might also be adding a little more distance to the rest of your week in Week 11. Typically, most marathoners are adding 1-3 miles (around 2-5km) to their long run this week. Your runs the rest of the week could also be a little longer adding an additional 1-3 miles (around 2-5km) to your weekly mileage.

It’s very important that you don’t overdo the increase in mileage, especially if you are a newer marathoner. It’s often said that you only want to increase your weekly mileage 10% per week, but that figure gets skewed at both ends of the spectrum.

I’ll use some unrealistic numbers for easy math as examples: an increase from 10 miles to 15 miles is a 50% increase, which is a lot, but might not be a huge deal, especially spread out over 7 days. But an increase from 100 miles to 150 miles is a massive difference.

If you are like most marathoners and are in the 30-50 mile (48-80km) per week range, the 10% per week rule can be a reasonable (yet rough) guide.

As far as frequency goes, I don’t like to change this too much, especially in an up week. Only if you are feeling super fresh and everything is just too easy at this point, consider adding a day next week.

Marathon Training Week 11: 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: 7 miles (11k)
  • Steady run day before long run: 6 miles (10k)
  • Long run: 14 miles (22k)
  • TOTAL: 33 miles (53k)

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

  • Easy with strides: 5 miles (8k)
  • Speed: 7 miles (11k)
  • Easy run: 5 miles (8k)
  • Steady run day before long run: 6 miles. (10k)
  • Long run: 14 miles (22k)
  • TOTAL: 37 miles (59k)

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

  • Easy with strides: 5 miles (8k)
  • Speed: 7 miles (11k)
  • Easy run: 5 miles (8k)
  • Easy run: 5 miles (8k)
  • Steady run day before long run: 8 miles. (13k)
  • Long run: 14 miles (22k)
  • TOTAL: 44 miles (70k)

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. But ideally, you don’t want your rest day the day before your long run so we can keep the steady-long combo which I’ll explain next.

Marathon Training Week 11: Steady-Long Run Combo

Your long run this week is once again all easy pace to build your aerobic capacity. The added challenge comes from the day before.

Running a shorter, medium-paced or steady run the day before your long run makes your long run the next day feel harder. For most runners, this is around your marathon pace, give or take 30 seconds per mile.

Making the long run feel harder is a good thing because it “pre-fatigues” your legs. This makes your long run more specific to what you will feel on race day to better prepare you for it. It also mitigates some of the risk of injury of running super long long runs.

The steady-long run combo allows us to simulate a longer long run so instead of starting fresh at mile 0, it’s like you are starting at mile 6 or 8.

Don’t forget to practice your fueling and hydration plan on both the steady and the long run!

marathon training week 11

Marathon Training Week 11: Speed Work

Since you will be running a steady before the long run, only very advanced marathoners would want to add a tempo run to this week. But you should still include one day of shorter, faster speed.

Since we are still quite far from the race, the exact workout you will do in week 11 can vary quite a bit. I love a good 400m workout at this point, but anything that gets you out of your endurance comfort zone can be a good choice.

Support Your Running

As I mentioned last week, you’ll want to support your running with strength, drills and mobility work. Sleep, recovery, and rest get even more important every week, so do your best to get enough.

Nutrition

Besides practicing your race day fueling, you’ll want to be sure that you are eating to fuel your muscles for the huge amount of training you are doing. Now is not the time to try to restrict calories or nutrients; you need to fuel the athlete you are. Even “overweight” runners can underfuel, leading to fatigue at best, injury at worst.

The first step is to make sure you are eating before your runs, even if you wake up early in the morning. This is especially important for women and even more critical for women around menopause because our hormones do not like fasted training! Not to mention that it doesn’t help with fat loss.)

You can start small with a few bites of a plain carb-rich food like banana or a graham cracker and can slowly train your stomach to handle more over time.

Here are some great pre-run foods.

The next critical piece is fueling after your runs and workouts. The goal is to replenish your muscle glycogen stores with carbohydrate and repair the muscle damage with protein.

Here’s more details and ideas on what what works for recovery foods.

Looking Ahead

Getting through your up weeks is tough, and you’ll get a little bit of a break coming up. Next week, I’ll go over some great tempo runs that will build your stamina and how to train for your specific race course.

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

Before you begin marathon training

Week 12

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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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