marathon training week 2

This is part 11 of my 12-week 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 2: Mileage and Intensity

Studies have shown that a "longer, disciplined" taper can help produce better race outcomes.  That means that a gradual and purposeful decrease in volume and intensity over 2-3 weeks is superior to a more casual approach.

In other words, you don't just want to stop running harder workouts and run all easy.  You want to systematically drop down your workouts and your mileage.

Week 3 ended with your hardest long run and after some recovery/easy days, you'll want to be practicing marathon pace in your workouts.  I'll explain more of those below.

*Note:  You may count weeks differently, starting the week either on Sunday or Monday, which might or might not be your long run day.  Taper should begin the day after your longest and hardest long run, which typically is 2 weeks and 6 days before the race, which some people count as Week 2, which is what I'm doing here.

Marathon Training Week 2: Schedule Examples

As always, these are just examples and they may or may not work for you, especially if you are a newer runner or returning from injury.    

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

  • Easy with strides: 4 miles (6k)
  • Taper tempo : 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy run: 6 miles (10k)
  • Long run: 14 miles (22k)
  • TOTAL: 32 miles (51k)

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

  • Easy with strides: 5 miles (8k)
  • Taper Tempo: 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy run: 6 miles (10k)
  • Easy run: 6 miles. (10k)
  • Long run: 14 miles (22k)
  • TOTAL: 39 miles (63k)

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

  • Easy with strides: 5 miles (8k)
  • Taper Tempo: 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy run: 5 miles (8k)
  • Taper Tempo: 10 miles. (16k)
  • Easy run: 5 miles. (8k)
  • Long run with speed: 14 miles (22k)
  • 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 2: Taper Tempos

Practicing marathon pace should be the focus of your speedwork in the last 2-3 weeks before your race (this includes race week).  Week 2 will have longer MP runs and they get progressively shorter each week.

A taper cutdown is a great workout to try this week.  After a mile or two of warm up, run 2-4 miles at your goal marathon pace.  Then see if you can speed up 10-15 seconds per mile for 2-4 miles more.  Finish with a mile or two of cool down.

This allows you to practice marathon pace, but then it also reminds you that you need to finish hard.  If you can't speed up for the second half of the workout, but you can maintain MP, that is still excellent practice.

Looking Ahead

One more week of taper and then it's race week!  I'll go over some of the strange things you might be feeling as you lower mileage and repair those hard-working muscles.  And it's not just your body that might feel a little off...the taper tantrums are real!

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

Week 10

Week 9

Week 8

Week 7

Week 6

Week 5

Week 4

Week 3

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.

FOLLOW CLAIRE @theplantedrunner

Take your training to the next level with a Custom Race Plan

Far more than just a running plan, Coach Claire includes strength training, nutrition and training tips, and her exclusive mental strength training course all in an affordable, custom plan designed just for you.

Related Posts