Training for Marathon

Training can start anytime. Until we get around to putting on the web the official training schedule set up by the Team in Training folks, you can follow the marathon training schedule printed in the August 1999 and June 2000 issues of Walking Magazine. I am reprinting this schedule below. I also suggest a 15-minute daily upper- and lower-body strengthening regimen. There is a good one in the December 1999 issue of Walking Magazine.

I have been following this 2-part walking and strengthening schedule for several weeks and find it satisfying. It involves walking six days a week, with longer walks on Saturdays and Sundays. Now that Fall Semester has begun, I try to be up and out at 6 am, with or without Marija on my back!

During the first week of January, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society marathon schedule will be made available. At this time, we will jointly decide which marathon to prepare for - and our work with Team in Training will begin. By warming up this fall, we will be ready for whatever training schedule Team in Training proposes.

I would also recommend subscribing to Walking Magazine, which can be done online at Keep in mind that this site also reviews and sells walking shoes. You get $20.00 off your first shoe purchase from this source.

Marathon Training Schedule:

Created by Walking Magazine's editor at large, Mark Fenton, this 4-month training plan is designed to get you safely and comfortably through a marathon in seven hours or better. Whatever your goal, aim for six days of walking a week, including two easy 45-minute walks, plus each of the following key workouts spread over the week. Take one day off each week, as rest is essential.

TUESDAYS - Sustain Speed

The Goal: Improve your ability to maintain a target pace.

How: Walk the fastest pace you can maintain for a set time.

Weeks 1-5: Warm up 10 minutes, then walk at a swift pace for 15 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes, for a 30-minute total workout time.

Weeks 6-11: Do 30 minutes of fast-paced effort for a 45-minute workout, including warm-up and cool-down.

Weeks 12-15: Bump up to 45 minutes of hard work for a 60-minute workout.

Note: In the final two weeks before the race, drop back to 30-minute walks, with just 15minutes of fast walking.

THURSDAYS - Build Strength

The Goal: Increase leg power for a hilly, demanding course.

How: During a nonstop 60-minute walk, insert several bursts of brisk uphill walking, fast walking, or both.

Weeks 1-5: Begin and end by walking easily for 10 minutes to warm up and cool down. During the middle 40 minutes, do 5 total minutes of intense effort (uphill, fast, or a mix - hard enough to induce heavy breathing) broken into 1- to 3-minute chunks. Between bursts, do at least 1 minute of moderate walking before the next effort.

Each week, add one minute of intensity, so that by Week 5, burst time totals 9 minutes. Total workout time is 60 minutes, including a 10-minute warm-up and cool-down.

WEEKS 6-11: Keep adding 1 minute of hard effort each week, so that by Week 11, you're mixing 15 minutes of hills or fast walking into your workout in 1- to 3-minute chunks. Total workout time and warm-up/cool-down times stay the same.

WEEKS 12-16: Add a minute of speed each week, so that by Week 16, your 1-hour walk includes 20 minutes of very hard effort sprinkled throughout.

Note: Skip this workout entirely in the final week before the race.


The Goal: Build endurance and reducel injury risk.

How: Each weekend, take progressively longer walks (see chart). These walks are occasionally broken into two medium-long walks at a quicker pace - one on Saturday, the other on Sunday - since the short recovery time enhances the conditioning effect by giving the body less time to repair and reenergize the muscles. Be sure to drink water frequently on any effort over an hour, and eat a light snack on any walk over two hours.

Note: For maximum benefit, walk on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings when Sunday walks are an hour or more; this shortens recovery times between endurance walks.

1 40 min. 40 min.
2 50 min. 40 min.
3 1 hr. 40 min.
4 1 hr. 15 min. 1 hr.
5 1 hr. 30 min. 20 min.
6 1 hr. 20 min. 1 hr.
7 2 hrs. 20 min.
8 1 hr. 30 min. 1 hr.
9 Long, hilly day hike; at least 3 hrs. 20 min.
10 1 hr. 40 min. 1 hr. 20 min.
11 3 hrs. 30 min. 20 min.
12 1 hr. 45 min. 1 hr. 15 min.
13 All-day hike, off-roak 20 min.
14 1 hr. 1 hr.
15 4 hrs. 30 min. 20 min.
16 2 hrs. 45 min. 1 hr.
17 1 hr. 15 min. 40 min.
18 Race weekend! Walk 26.2 miles (and have fun!)

Note: These times assume you're walking in the 4-5 mph range. If you walk faster than that, assume that these times are for someone walking 4-5 mph, convert these times to mileage, and walk the resulting distances for the long workouts.

LOOKING FOR A FASTER MARATHON? The plan can be modified to make a faster time of six or even five hours by making the following two adjustments:

1. Create a 22-week program by repeating weeks 12 through 15, then finishing up with 16 to 18. The second time through, increase the long Saturday walks in weeks 13 and 15 by one hour.

2. In week 14 (both times you do it), replace the easy Saturday one-hour walk with your best effort in a 5-mile to 10K (6.2 mile) road race - chase some runners! Skip speed work the following Tuesday and walk an easy 30 minutes.

Peter | Marathon | Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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