Marathon Training

The marathon demands respect & the physiological and psychological demands of the marathon are extreme.

Therefore you must plan your preparation intelligently and thoroughly.

The training information on this page is designed around the Dublin Marathon at the end of October, using the  Irish ¾ Marathon as the perfect preparation race 3 weeks before Dublin.

Three weeks before the marathon is the typical timing for the last long pre-marathon run and so you can use this race as your ideal final preparation event.

The schedules presented should be tailored to suit your individual fitness, condition and lifestyle demands.

Where properly applied they should certainly assist you achieving your realistic goals.

Pacemakers:

Our intention is to use pacemakers for the course to aid inexperienced participants use this as the ideal marathon preparation event.

Pacers will be running at approx 105% of the 3.00, 3.30, 4.00 and 4.30 Hour MARATHON Pace.

We’re pacing 5% slower than your marathon pace to make sure you don’t empty the tank on this event which should be treated as preparation race for DCM.

Pacing will be based on the following:

– 3:00 Marathon Pace Group: Planned 2:22 for 3/4 Marathon = approx. 4′ 28″ /km = approx. 7′ 13″ /mile

– 3:30 Marathon Pace Group: Planned 2:45 for 3/4 Marathon = approx. 5′ 13″ /km = approx. 8′ 24″ /mile

– 4:00 Marathon Pace Group: Planned 3:10 for 3/4 Marathon = approx. 6′ /km = approx. 9′ 40″ /mile

– 4:30 Marathon Pace Group: Planned 3:43 for 3/4 Marathon = approx. 6′ 44″ /km = approx. 10′ 50″ /mile

Please identify and join an appropriate pacing group at the race briefing at Race HQ at 9.40am

Scroll Down to view our Targeted Training Schedules for most Runners

For Those Willing to Train Hard for a Marathon PB then this Ambitious Training Plan Here might suit:

Marathon TrainingAthletic Concepts

To understand the schedules on this page you need to understand some athletic concepts.  These concepts are important as they are the key elements that athletics need to train to reach their marathon potential:

  • Maximal Heart Rate (MHR):  The fastest that your heart will beat during maximal-effort running.  Can be approximated by 207 – (0.7 x age).  It can be measured accurately by running three 600-meter repetitions up slight incline, jogging back down after each repetition.  You should reach within 2-3 beats of your maximal heart rate on the last repetition.
  • Lactate Threshold (LT):  Lactate (or lactic acid) is a nasty by-product of energy production (carbohydrate metabolism).  Lactate threshold reflects the rate at which your muscles can sustain aerobic energy production.  Successful marathon runners typically race at a speed very close to their lactate-threshold pace.
  • Oxygen Uptake (VO2): VO2 Max is a measure of your ability to transport oxygen to muscles.  The higher it is the greater your potential as an athlete.
  • Running Economy (RE): Running economy determines how fast you run with a given amount of oxygen.  The determinants of running economy that can be trained are your biomechanics and your training history.  The ratio of slow-twitch to fast-twitch fibres in your muscles is also very important, but we will ignore here as it’s not something you can change.
  • Marathon trainingFat-Glycogen Storage & Usage (FG): Glycogen is the form of carbohydrate stored in your body (muscles and liver).  Glycogen is an easy access energy source for aerobic activity.  However, a marathoner is limited by the amount stored in the body and also has to use fat for fuel.  Fat is a limitless energy source (in relation to the marathon), but ii more difficult for the body to access. There are key elements to train relation to the marathon:
    • Train the body to use a higher proportion of fat as an energy source, rather than glycogen, at race pace.
    • Train the body to store more glycogen as this is a limiting factor at the marathon distance.
    • Train the body to minimise body fat content (%) as it will improve your running economy. Don’t worry; you’ll always have some – more than enough for a marathon.  This will happen naturally with marathon training & a healthy diet.
  • Recovery: Successful marathoners are able to recover quickly from training.  The ability to recover is related to genetics, age, training history, training plan structure, diet and sleep.

Training Principals

  • Warm-up & cool-down of about 15-20 minutes for every LT Tempo, LT Interval, VO2 Max and Speed session.
  • Consistency is the key to peak performance – these schedules are tough, particularly for novices, but with great sacrifices come great rewards
  • Know the difference between a niggle & an injury.  Do not train when injured – seek medical advice and let injuries run their course.  Do not do sessions on a niggle.
  • Do core work & stretching as part of your weekly routine.  Stretching is particular important after long runs & sessions.

See our targeted training schedules here

  • Long Run: 18km or longer at 75-85% MHR (Maximal Heart Rate). Improves RE (Running Economy) & FG (Fat-Glycogen Storage & Usage). Start at a slow pace and work towards 90% of your goal marathon pace.
  • Run: Up to 17km at 70-80% MHR.  Improves RE, FG & recovery.
  • Recovery: Up to 12k at less than 75% MHR. Improves recovery.
  • LT Tempo: Runs at your half marathon pace (85-90% MHR).  Improves LT (Lactate Threshold).
  • LT Intervals:  Long intervals at your 10k race pace (85-92% MHR).  Improves LT.
  • VO2 Max: 400-1600m at 3k race pace (93-95% MHR). Improves VO2 Max and RE.
  • Speed: Up to 400m at 1500m race pace. Improves RE (running form & leg turnover).
  • Strides: Up to 100m at 70-80% maximum effort, focusing on running form. Build & reduce speed gradually. Improves running form & race finishing.  Generally completed at the end of a run or as a short pre-race session.
Target Marathon Time Completion Sub-4 Sub-3:30 Sub-3 Sub 2:45 Sub 2:30
Max Weekly Kms < 60 Km 60-70 Km 70-90 Km 90-110 Km 110-140 Km > 140 Km
W/C Weeks Remaining Day Novice Intermediate 1 Intermediate 2 Advanced 1 Advanced 2 Elite
2nd July 17

Endurance

Mon Run: 5km Run: 6km Run: 8km Run: 10km Run: 10km Run: 12km
Tue Run: 5km LT Tempo: 5km LT Interval: 4 x 2km LT Interval: 4 x 2km LT Interval: 5 x 2km LT Interval: 6 x 2km
Wed Rest Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 8km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides
Fri Recovery: 4km LT Tempo: 4km LT Tempo: 7km LT Tempo: 8km LT Tempo: 8km LT Tempo: 10km
Sat Rest Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km
Sun Run: 10km Run: 16km Run: 16km Long: 18km Long: 24km Long: 26km
9th July 16

Recovery

Mon Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 10km
Tue Run: 8km LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 6km  w/ strides Run: 10km  w/ strides Run: 10km  w/ strides Run: 10km  w/ strides Run: 10km  w/ strides Run: 10km  w/ strides
Fri Rest Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km
Sat Run: 12km Run: 14km Run:16km Run: 18km Run: 20km Run: 22km
Sun Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km
16th July 15

Endurance

Mon Rest Rest Run: 10km Run: 10km Run: 12km Recovery: 8km
Run: 12km
Tue Run: 8km LT Tempo: 6km LT Tempo: 8km LT Tempo: 10km LT Tempo: 10km LT Tempo: 12km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu LT Interval: 10 x 400m LT Interval: 10 x 400m LT Interval: 10 x 600m LT Interval: 10 x 600m LT Interval: 10 x 800m LT Interval: 10 x 1km
Fri Rest Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
Sat Run: 12km Run: 16km Run: 16km Long: 18km Long: 24km Long: 28km
Sun Recovery: 4km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
23rd July 14

Endurance

Mon Rest Rest Rest Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Run: 16km w/ strides
Tue LT Interval: 3 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 7 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides
Fri Rest Rest LT Tempo: 6km LT Tempo: 8km LT Tempo: 10km LT Tempo: 10km
Sat Rest Run: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
Sun Run: 14km Long: 18km Long: 20km Long: 24km Long: 28km Long: 30km
30th July 13

Endurance

Mon Rest Recovery: 5km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 8km
Run: 12km
Tue LT Interval: 2 x 2km LT Interval: 4 x 2km LT Interval: 4 x 2km LT Interval: 5 x 2km LT Interval: 5 x 2km LT Interval: 6 x 2km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 12km w/ strides Run: 12km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides
Fri Rest Rest Rest Recovery: 8k Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km
Sat Run: 16km Run: 18km Run: 20km Run: 24km Run: 24km Run: 26km
Sun Recovery: 5km Recovery: 5km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 12km
6th Aug 12

Endurance

Mon Rest Rest Run: 10km Run: 10km Run: 12km Recovery: 8km
Run: 12km
Tue LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 12 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides
Fri Rest Recovery: 6km LT Tempo: 8km LT Tempo: 10km LT Tempo: 12km LT Tempo: 14km
Sat Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 14m
Sun Long: 18km Long: 22km Long: 22km Long: 24km Long: 28km Long: 32km
13th Aug 11

Recovery

Mon Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 10km
Tue Run: 10km w/ strides Run: 10km w/ strides LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 10km w/ strides Run 10km w/ strides Run 10km w/ strides Run 10km w/ strides Run 12km w/ strides Run 14km w/ strides
Fri Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 12km
Sat PHOENIX PARK 10 MILES PHOENIX PARK 10 MILES PHOENIX PARK 10 MILES PHOENIX PARK 10 MILES PHOENIX PARK 10 MILES PHOENIX PARK 10 MILES
Sun Long: 16km Long: 20km Long: 24km Long: 24km Long: 28km Long: 30km
20th Aug 10

LT & Endurance

Mon Rest Rest Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 8km
Run: 12km
Tue LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 12 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Rest Rest Run: 10km Run: 14km Long: 18km Long: 18km
Fri Run: 12km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Run: 16km w/ strides Run: 16km w/ strides Run: 16km w/ strides Run: 16 w/ strides
Sat LT Interval: 3 x 2km off 3mins LT Interval: 4 x 2km off 3mins LT Interval: 4 x 2km off 3mins LT Interval: 5 x 2km off 2min LT Interval: 5 x 2km off 2min LT Interval: 6 x 2km off 2min
Sun Recovery: 4km Recovery: 5km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
27th Aug 9

LT & Endurance

Mon Rest Rest Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 8km
Run: 12km
Tue LT Interval: 3 x 2km LT Interval: 4 x 2km LT Interval: 4 x 2km LT Interval: 5 x 2km LT Interval: 6 x 2km LT Interval: 8 x 2km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 10km Run: 10km Run: 10km Run: 14km Long: 18km Long: 18km
Fri Rest Run: 8km VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m
Sat Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
Sun Run: 18km w/ strides Long: 24km w/ strides Long: 26km w/ strides Long: 28km w/ strides Long: 30km w/ strides Long: 32km w/ strides
3rd Sep 8

LT & Endurance

Mon Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 8km
Run: 12km
Tue LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 7 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 12 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Rest Recovery: 6km Run: 10km Run: 14km Long: 18km Long: 18km
Fri VO2 Max: 6 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 12 x 400m VO2 Max: 14 x 400m
Sat Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
Sun Long: 18km Long: 20km Long: 22km Long: 22km w/ strides Long: 24km w/ strides Long: 26km w/ strides
10th Sep 7

Recovery

Mon Rest Rest Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 10km
Tue Rest Run: 10km LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 100m Strides: 10 x 100m Strides: 10 x 100m
Fri Recovery: 4km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
Sat VO2 Max: 6 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 12 x 400m
Sun Long: 24km w/ strides Long: 26km w/ strides Long: 28km w/ strides Long: 30km w/ strides Long: 32km w/ strides Long: 34km w/ strides
17th

Sep

6

Race Preparation

Mon Rest Rest Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 10km
Tue Run: 10km Run: 10km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km LT Interval: 12 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Run: 10km VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 12 x 400m VO2 Max: 16 x 400m
Fri Rest Recovery: 5km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 16km
Sat Race Series ½ MARATHON  Race Series ½ MARATHON Race Series ½ MARATHON Race Series ½ MARATHON Race Series ½ MARATHON Race Series ½ MARATHON
Sun Recovery: 4km Recovery: 6km Recover: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 14km
24th Sep 5

Irish 3/4 Race Preparation

Mon Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 10km
Tue Run:10km Run: 12km LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km
Wed Core Workout Core Workout Recovery: 8km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 10km
Core Workout
Recovery: 12km
Core Workout
Thu Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 100m Strides: 10 x 100m Strides: 10 x 100m Strides: 10 x 100m
Fri Rest Rest Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km
Sat Recovery: 3km Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km
Sun Long: 22km Long: 24km Long: 26km Long: 28km Long: 30km Long: 32km
1st 

Oct

4

3/4 Race Taper

Mon Recovery 4km Recovery 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 8km
Tue Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Wed Run:12km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 10 x 1km
Thu Rest Rest Rest Recovery: 14km Recovery: 16km Recovery: 16km
Fri Run: 10km Recovery: 6km VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m VO2 Max: 10 x 400m
Sat Rest Rest Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km
Sun Irish ¾ MARATHON  Irish ¾ MARATHON Irish ¾ MARATHON Irish ¾ MARATHON Irish ¾ MARATHON Irish ¾ MARATHON
8th Oct 3

Taper

Mon Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km
Tue LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km
Wed Rest Rest Recovery: 6km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km
Thu Run: 12km Run: 10km Run: 10km Run: 14km Run: 16km Run: 16km
Fri Rest VO2 Max: 6 x 400m VO2 Max: 6 x 400m VO2 Max: 6 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m VO2 Max: 8 x 400m
Sat Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km
Sun Run: 14km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Run: 14km w/ strides Run: 16km w/ strides Run: 16km w/ strides Long: 18km w/ strides
15th Oct 2

Taper

Mon Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 12km Recovery: 12km
Tue LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 5 x 1km LT Interval: 6 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km LT Interval: 8 x 1km
Wed Recovery: 5km Recovery: 5km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km
Thu Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Fri Strides: 10 x 60m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m
Sat Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 14km Recovery: 14km
Sun Recovery: 10km Recovery: 10km Recovery: 15km Recovery: 15km Recovery: 18km Recovery: 18km
22nd Oct 1

Final Taper & RACE DCM

Mon Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 10km
Tue LT Interval: 2 x 1km LT Interval: 3 x 1km LT Interval: 3 x 1km LT Interval: 3 x 1km LT Interval: 4 x 1km LT Interval: 4 x 1km
Wed Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Thu Strides: 10 x 60m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m Strides: 10 x 80m
Fri Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km Recovery: 6km
Sat Rest Rest Rest Rest Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km
Sun DUBLIN CITY MARATHON DUBLIN CITY MARATHON DUBLIN CITY MARATHON DUBLIN CITY MARATHON DUBLIN CITY MARATHON DUBLIN CITY MARATHON
29th Oct 0

Race Recovery

Mon Recovery walk 2km Recovery 3km Recovery 5km Recovery 5km Recovery 6km Recovery 6km
Tue Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Wed Recovery 4km Recovery 4km Recovery 6km Recovery 6km Recovery 6km Recovery 6km
Thu Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Fri Recovery: 4km Recovery: 4km Recovery: 6km Recovery 6km Recovery 6km Recovery 6km
Sat Rest Rest Rest Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km Recovery: 8km
Sun Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
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