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This is part 6 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 7: Mileage and Frequency

After dropping the mileage and intensity last week, Week 7 is an up week.  You'll want to run the steady-long-run combo on consecutive days to make the long run a little harder and a lot more like race day.

For more details on that, please see Week 11

For most runners, the steady is considered your second speed day of the week, and there's not much room to add a tempo and still get good recovery.

Your short work speed sessions should start getting longer this week.  So instead of cranking out 200m repeats, or even 400m intervals, you should start to stretch out those intervals to 800-1000m.  These longer distances are more aerobic and this will build your higher end speed and stamina, which will make marathon pace feel a lot easier.

Marathon Training Week 7: 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: 5 miles (8k)
  • Speed intervals : 8 miles (13k)
  • 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 intervals: 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy run: 5 miles (8k)
  • Steady run day before long run: 8 miles. (13k)
  • Long run: 16 miles (25k)
  • TOTAL: 42 miles (67k)

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

  • Easy with strides: 7 miles (11k)
  • Speed intervals: 8 miles (13k)
  • Easy run: 6 miles (10k)
  • Easy run with strides: 6 miles. (10k)
  • Steady run day before long run: 10 miles. (16k)
  • Long run: 16 miles (25k)
  • TOTAL: 53 miles (85k)

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 7: How Long Should Your Long Run Get?

There are good reasons we don't run 26.2 miles in training for a marathon. And for many runners, even running 20 miles in training is not beneficial.

When you run longer than three hours:

  • aerobic benefits start to decrease
  • the risk of injury increases as you tire and lose form
  • recovery time increases, dimininshing or squeezing out future beneficial workouts
  • newer marathoners are especially vulnerable to negative effects

The purpose of training is to increase our ability to run long and strong and that doesn't happen on a single long run.  Long runs are crucial to marathon training, of course, but running too long in a single session can detract from your training rather than add to it.

And yes, running extra long in training can give you the mental confidence that you can run the distance, but a better way to build confidence is to train smart and then race well. Many runners who lack confidence or trust in their training will run too hard and/or too long in their training and then effectively "leave the race in training," disappointed with the results.

This means that some marathoners will cap their long run at 16 miles.  But remember that your long run doesn't start at mile zero when you are running a steady the day before.  

Now if your 20 mile long run is 3:20 or 3:30 are you really sabatoging your training? Probably not. Just know that you are you are on the downside of the bell curve at that point!

Looking Ahead

Week 6 is one of my favorite weeks of all.  It includes a marathon-specific workout that is undoubtedly challenging, but will absolutely tell you a lot about your marathon readiness, even if you blow it.  I'll tell you all about it next week.

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

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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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