Advanced Group Training Plan – Chevron Houston Marathon



This plan is not a beginners plan, it has been developed for experienced marathon runners running 30+ miles a week on average and long runs of 10-12 miles at the beginning of the plan.

Weeks To GoDatesMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdaySaturdaySunday
189/14-9/20Rest1 WU + 4x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CD10 miles6 mi CP
179/21-9/27Rest1 WU + 4x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CD11 miles6 mi CP
169/28-10/4Rest1 WU + 4x1000m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CD12 miles7 mi CP
1510/5-10/11Rest1 WU + 4x1000m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)6 mi CP1 WU + 5T + 1 CD11=7E, 5 miles 10 sec. progression each mile6 mi CP
1410/12-10/18Rest1 WU + 4x1200m + 1CD(w/60 - 90 RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 5T + 1 CD13 miles6 mi CP
1310/19-10/25Rest1 WU + 4x1200m + 1CD(w/60 - 90 RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 5T + 1 CD14 miles7 mi CP
1210/26-11/1Rest1 WU + 3x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CD15 miles8 mi CP
1111/2-11/8Rest1 WU + 3x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min RI) or 6 CP, if racing6 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CD13 = 3E,1M,2E,2M,2E,1M,3E or 3, if racingCypress Half 13.1 (or 8 mi CP)
1011/9-11/15Rest1 WU + 8x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI) or 6 CP, if raced7 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CD15 miles8 mi CP
911/16-11/22Rest1 WU + 8x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 6T + 1 CD16 miles9 mi CP
811/23-11/29Rest1 WU + 6x1200m + 1CD(w/60 - 90 RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 7T + 1 CD18 miles10mi CP
711/30-12/6Rest1 WU + 6x1200m + 1CD(w/60 - 90 RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 7T + 1 CD20 miles10mi CP
612/7-12/13Rest1 WU + 4x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 7T + 1 CD17 = 12E, 5 miles progression to HMP 10mi CP
512/14-12/20Rest1 WU + 4x1600m + 1 CD (w/3 min RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 8T + 1 CD18 miles10mi CP
412/21-12/27Rest1 WU + 10x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)7 mi CP1 WU + 8T + 1 CD20 miles10mi CP
312/28-1/3Rest1 WU + 10x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)6 mi CP1 WU + 8T + 1 CD15 = 3E, 2M, 2E, 3M, 2E, 3M8 mi CP
21/4-1/10Rest1 WU + 6x800m + 1 CD (w/60 - 90 RI)5 mi CP1 WU + 4T + 1 CD12 miles6 mi CP
11/11-1/174 mi CP1 WU + 3T + 1 CD4 mi CP3 mi CPRest or 3Race 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 (, 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