14 Week Marathon Training Plan

September 13, 2022

Are you searching for a new 14 week marathon training plan to train in a new way? If so, welcome to Nutrition Geeks. I am glad you have made it here. 14 weeks is most definitely a legitimate time frame in order to prepare properly for your races. That being said, 16 to 24 weeks is optimal. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. So, superior fitness cannot be had in a matter of a few weeks.

The longer your build up, the better. The main reason is you won't be in a rush. You will allot sufficient time to lay a strong base of aerobic mileage. I have created training plans ranging from 8 to 24 weeks in length. In addition, running courses build specifically for runners training for the half marathon and marathon as well. I also hold a personal best of 2:19:35 for the marathon. So, do understand the complexities of this race distance.

More importantly, how to get other runners to drop significant time off of their current marathon personal best. I would emphasize doing consistent strides when following a 14 week marathon training plan. Strides are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid. In addition, are perfect for warm up drills and practicing your acceleration and focusing on your leg turnover.

Can I Train for a Marathon in 14 Weeks?

You can. That being said, if you truly want to do it right then consider a 16 to 24 week training build up. 14 weeks will fly by but will you be 100 percent prepared goal pace in that amount of time? I always trained for a minimum of 4 months and usually up to 6 months for my marathon. The reason being is because I was always going for new personal bests. The marathon takes a great deal of time and patience in order to get right. So, a longer build up focusing on at least 16 weeks will help set you up for success.

Army ACFT
MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

Pace sustainment is one of the biggest challenges for most runners. So, the key tactic with a 14 week marathon training plan or preferably a 16 to 24 week plan is to improve your lactate tolerance. Our goal is to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Easy running is still important as we have to recover from harder training too. That being said, easy running will not prepare you to race all out for the marathon distance.

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Is 3 Months Enough Training for a Marathon?

Yes, for most runners. Of course, there are many runners such as myself and others who desire a longer training block. 12 weeks is enough time to build general fitness and get you into descent shape. Again, it really comes down to the goals of the athlete. Are you someone who wants to try to cram your training into a matter of a fe weeks? Do you have more of a long-term approach and really want to do it right? If so, then I would highly recommend focusing on a minimum of 16 weeks.

20 to 24 weeks is optimal training time to get maximum results for the marathon. There is only so many times you can stress the energy systems of the body before you see diminished returns. So, you can't be in a rush for the marathon distance. I have done my best to create products and services that will yield legitimate results for the athletes I coach and mentor.

My style of training for marathons can be different for some athletes. I am a big believer in faster, varied paced long runs. Are you running long and slow every single weekend? If so, stop doing that. You should run easy during your long runs every other weekend. So, do a faster long run one weekend followed the next with an easy, relaxed long run workout. I used this tactic to lower my marathon best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. So, know it works.

How Many Miles a Week Should I Run to Train for a Marathon?

A 14 week marathon training plan and preferably a 16 to 24 week build up should focus on quality mileage. The world's top runners are running between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below anaerobic threshold effort. We run between 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate at this intensity. Of course, a legitimate training plan also needs to allot sufficient time in order for runners to adapt. Again, it takes about 4 weeks for the body to adapt to the stresses we place on it.

So, running slow on recovery days is essential. Mileage will vary from athlete to athlete. Marathoners seeking to run under 4 hours should be running around 50 to 65 miles a week. Athletes seeking to break 3 hours may need need to run closer to 70 to 75 miles a week. Are you a marathoner seeking to break 2:30 for the marathon? I would advise getting your mileage to around 80 to 85 miles a week. Consistency is everything. That being said, you also want to ensure you are not running too aerobically, too often.

Again, the goal is to improve the body's lactate tolerance. Also, to sustain race pace longer and slowing down less. So, we have to train longer at the anaerobic threshold. I would advise working to get your tempo runs out to around 10 miles (16 kilometers) or slightly further training for the marathon. Of course, you have to adapt to a 2-3 mile tempo run first. So, be patient. Again, the body will always adapt.

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Focus on Your Speed Development

Athletes should be doing at least 1, vo2 max workout per week. We run between 95 to 105% of our maximum heart rate at vo2 max. Your vo2 max is your body's maximum oxygen capacity. So, basically running at speeds so intense you simply can't clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Of course, we need to take short breaks between our intervals to recover. The key tactic with training at these intensities is to help make goal marathon race pace to feel easier.

Examples of vo2 max workouts are track or road intervals, fartlek and hill repetitions. Again, your overall focus first should be on building a strong, aerobic base of mileage before moving into workouts like this. Again, the longer your build up the less of a rush you will be in. So, we want to make sure you set up your training correctly. Can you get descent results with a 14 week marathon training plan? Of course, that being said, a slower and longer build up will yield even better results. You may want to check out the variety of training plans available here or at rundreamachieve.com

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Jog on Easy Days

Far too many runners are still running too fast on easy days. In addition, too aggressive on harder days. I highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors like the Garmin 245 will ensure you are training at the proper intensities. It is far better to be under trained than overtrained. Unfortunately, many runners do experience this from time to time.

Again, only so many times you can push the body hard before diminished returns occur. So, you really have to be smart about your training especially with the marathon distance. It also takes long to prepare and recover from a race of this distance versus the 5k or 10k.

I used to train with sub 2:10 marathoners who would run 9 minute mile pace on their easy days. So, if these athletes who can run sub-5 min mile pace can run that slow on easy days why can't we? The real benefits of your hard training will come from within the rest period. So, the hard training you are doing today will be seen several weeks and months from now.

Closing Thoughts

Would you like to keep in touch? If so, make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I created new training and racing content to help runners such as yourself get to the next level. The marathon is definitely a good challenge for beginner to elite level runners. So, wish you the very best in your build up. Again, a 14 week marathon training plan will yield results if set up properly. I have aimed to help runners train in a new way with mine.

How much time are you devoting each week to mental rehearsal? The world's top runners combine both mental as well as physical training. So, start taking 10 to 15 minutes daily and visualize yourself running fast, relaxed and getting across the finish line in your goal time. The best time to train mentally is when first getting up in morning or when going to be at night.

I have made mental training a mandatory part of my own marathon training over the years. In addition, credit it to helping me set personal bests from the mile (4:22) to the marathon 2:19:35. You are more than welcome to learn more about my background at our about page, if interested.

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