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Post Marathon Training Guide - Advanced Schedule, Week 3

Monday: Five miles easy. This is about the time following a marathon when runners start to think, "Hey I'm feeling pretty good. Let's bust one!" You want to be cautious about what you bust. There is a subtle increase in mileage this week, so you want to make sure that you're well-rested as you continue your post-marathon training.

Tuesday: Today’s speed workout is 8 x 400 at 5-K pace. It has now been three weeks since the marathon, so most of the obvious residual damage should be gone. Nevertheless, there's probably some underlying trauma that even the scientists can't measure--so don't overdo it! If this workout feels too difficult, either slow the pace of the repeats or take more rest during the interval between repeats.

Wednesday: Five miles at an easy pace. If you wear a heart monitor, keep your pace between 65 to 75 percent of maximum. If you run by perceived exertion (how you feel), that should give you a clue as to how fast you should run on these easy days.

Thursday: Run 3 x mile at 5-K pace, walking 3-5 minutes between. When you think about it, this is a pretty tough workout, even with the rest breaks. If you can't quite hit 5-K pace, don't worry about it. You still may not be fully recovered. Weather and motivation also can be a factor when it comes to running a workout this hard. Don't forget to warm-up by jogging a mile before and cool-down afterwards. And remember to stretch. The best time for doing that is immediately after your warm-up jog.

Friday: It's not easy to generalize over mileage when speed training is involved, because some runners do more warming up and cooling down than others. But you've probably covered close to 20 miles during the first four days of this week. That's a good bit of running, almost as much as you did in the actual marathon itself. For that reason, it's good to rest today. Time to stay out a little later on a Friday night? Okay, you have my blessing.

Saturday: Do a tempo run of 40 minutes. Begin by jogging about 10-12 minutes, then gradually accelerate to marathon pace for about 15-20 minutes in the middle. Notice that this should be a gradual acceleration, not a sudden increase from jog pace to marathon pace. Then gradually decelerate to the finish. As with all tempo runs, you should finish feeling invigorated, not overly fatigued.

Sunday: Today's run is 90 minutes. This weekend, I'm giving you no options. I want you to put in at least an hour and a half of running. Now that you're in good shape, that should be almost the minimum time for any future long workouts you do in training. I don't care how fast you run, just spend the time in motion.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Beginning in 1974, Jack H. Scaff Jr., M.D. supervised the Honolulu Marathon Clinic, a group that meets Sundays in Kapiolani Park to train for that marathon. After watching his group's recuperative efforts after the race, Dr. Scaff commented: "The runners felt so good about their achievement, they would bounce back too soon. We finally canceled the clinic for three months following the marathon to try to get the runners to take it easy."

Post Marathon Training Guide, Advanced Schedule: Week Zero | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

To purchase an interactive version of Hal Higdon's Post-Marathon Training Guide, click here.