Houston Marathon Training Plan

Based on Cypress Running Club: Advanced - Marathon Training Plan
Weeks To GoDatesMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
189/16-9/226 mi CP1 WU + 4x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CDRest12 mi
179/23-9/296 mi CP1 WU + 4x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CDRest14 mi
169/30-10/66 mi CP1 WU + 6x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CDRest16 mi
1510/7-10/136 mi CP1 WU + 6x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CDRest13 mi
1410/14-10/206 mi CP1 WU + 3x1200m + 1CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CDRest16 mi
1310/21-10/276 mi CP1 WU + 4x1200m + 1CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 5T + 1 CDRest18 mi
1210/28-11/36 mi CP1 WU + 4x1200m + 1CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 8T + 1 CDRest10 mi
1111/4-11/106 mi CP4 mi CP - 6 mi CP6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CDRestCypress Half 13.1 (or 15 mi run)
1011/11-11/176 mi CP4 mi CP - 6 mi CP6 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CDRest15 mi (or 2 hours)
911/18-11/246 mi CP1 WU + 6x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CDRest20 mi
811/25-12/16 mi CP1 WU + 6x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 5T + 1 CDRest17 mi
712/2-12/86 mi CP1 WU + 8x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 5T + 1 CDRest20 mi
612/9-12/156 mi CP1 WU + 3x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 8T + 1 CDRest16 mi
512/16-12/226 mi CP1 WU + 4x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CDRest18 mi
412/23-12/296 mi CP1 WU + 3x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CDRest20 mi
312/30-1/56 mi CP1 WU + 8x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)6 mi CP1 WU + 8T + 1 CDRest15 mi
21/6-1/125 mi CP1 WU + 6x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 sec jog)4 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CDRest12 mi (or 90 min max)
11/13-1/194 mi CP1 WU + 3T + 1 CD4 mi CP3 mi CPRestRace Day!


Plan Structure

Weeks Objective
  • Introducing Fartlek as the next variation of speedwork
  • Pickups: the objective is to progressively increase speed toward the goal (in this case MP). The objective is to introduce a variation where the run is finished strong
  • Hill running is used both from a strength development point of view as well as a safe method to introduce intervals.
  • Variations in the hill work out may include 400 to 800 m interval between hill repeats, this repeat should not be faster than MP
  • Progression: the objective is to start introducing MP running
  • Surges are an increase of speed up to 5K pace for the time specified. The purpose is both to recruit fast twitch muscles as well as starting to get the body used to deal with the lactate built-up of running at MP
  • We move toward intervals and tempo sessions
  • During long runs we introduce MP running
  • MP pace must be adjusted for temperature
  • Fine tuning / peaking sessions
  • Tempo runs are critical to train body to deal with pain as well as MP into long runs
  • If due to temperature 20 miles are too long runs, they can be changed to 10 miles on Friday and 16 miles on Saturday. The objective in this case is to start the long run on Saturday slightly tired


Program Variations

Objective Alternative
Increase weekly mileage
  • Add CP running on Wednesday
Increase intensity
  • In case of multiple repetitions do the second half running at MP during RI
  • During long runs do last 2-3 miles pickup finishing strong


Pace Notes

Before beginning this or any Cypress Running Club training program, it is vital that your body be accustomed to running 3-4 times per week, for a minimum of 30 min. each workout. By the first week of this training program, your longest run of the week should be at least 4 miles.

Long Run and Easy Runs: Unless indicated differently, all long runs should be done at conversation pace. This is an easy pace that allows you talk as you run, on the other hand it should be fast enough to keep your heart rate at 110-140 bpm). You will be doing most of your mileage at this pace.

Strides are 6-10 short bursts of swift running, up to 150 meters on the track (3/8 of a lap, starting at the apex of the turn or the middle of the straightaway) or .10 miles on the road. In the first 40 meters, accelerate from conversational pace to near-sprint pace, spend 80 meters at near-sprint, then decelerate back to conversational pace. Allow full recovery: strides are for working on your coordination, not anaerobic fitness.

Fartlek workouts will be posted on Facebook each week in September; some examples are on the CRC website, at the “Milestone Training Programs” page.

Tempo Runs & Intervals workouts are prescribed in terms of the number of repetitions and the distance (in miles, kilometers, or meters). One mile is roughly 1,600 meters, and a typical track is 400 meters long. A workout that states “4 x 1200” means that you run three laps (or ¾ of a mile) at an appropriately fast pace, recover, and repeat three more times.

The “recovery intervals” allow your heart rate and breathing to return to a reasonable level. Typically, your recovery interval will be as long as you spent running, up to a maximum of five min..

The “right” pace for the Tempo Runs and Intervals is the fastest pace that allows you to complete all repetitions in nearly the same time. If you find that your times are increasing as the workout progresses, then this indicates that you started too fast.

The best way to determine appropriate training paces is to run a race or time-trial. A pace calculator, such as Greg McMillan’s (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/), will give you a range of recommended paces based on a recent race. Or, the “pace wheel” is available as an iPhone or Android app. Consider the following examples, using a 2-Mile time trial to test your current fitness level:
If you are used to using a heart rate monitor, then you can use as reference:

Workout Percent of Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

  • Easy run and long run 65-75%
  • Tempo run 87-92%
  • Interval repeats 95-100%

Race Distance

  • 5-K 95-97%
  • 10-K 92-94%
  • Half-marathon 85-88%
  • Marathon 80-85%

MHR = 205 – (.5 x your age)

When the heat index rises, safety might dictate using a slower pace than indicated. In conditions of extreme heat and/or humidity, it may be advisable to walk recovery intervals rather than jog them. Whenever running, it is always advisable to drink plenty of fluids, particularly one that contains sodium to combat electrolyte losses from sweating.

Disclaimer: Consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any exercise program; information presented above is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. When you choose to follow this or any training plan, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Copyright © 2015 – Daniel Benitez