You Can Do 26.2—Part III

At this point in your quest to conquer most people’s ultimate running challenge, you’ve undoubtedly logged some solid hours and tough miles out on the road. It’s very common for runners to question the rationale for even wanting to complete such an event. So when the training gets tough and it doesn’t seem like you can push yourself any further, remember the words of famed distance runner Patti Sue Plummer: “Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”


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As you step across that finish line, I promise it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

If you’ve read Part 1 and Part 2 of the You Can do 26.2 series and completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the 14 Week Marathon Training Program, then you are already well past the half-way point. Phase 3 will propel you to an elevated level of fitness by preparing you with more race-specific running which will challenge you and take you outside your comfort zone. It’s very important to do this in training in order to draw the most out of yourself come race day.

Part 3: Build 2

FocusIn Phase 1 we worked to develop a base of aerobic endurance. The focus on Phase 2 is on building more race volume while introducing new types of training stimuli. In Phase 3, the workouts become increasingly like the race. This is the time where the greatest gains can be made. The Long Runs will continue to increase in distance and will peak at 22 miles. The Pace Runs that you became familiar with in Phase 2 will also build to 9 miles in order to simulate race conditions. These two runs should now be the primary focus of your training in Phase 3. In addition, we now introduce Threshold Runs which will be beneficial for athletes that are recovering well and looking for that extra edge in their training.

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Race SpecificityThe most important part of any training plan is that the workouts become increasingly “race like” as the training progresses and you get closer to race day. In Phase 3 your Long Run will simulate the duration of your race while the Pace Runs will simulate the intensity you will compete at. These two runs must take precedence over all other training during this period.

TaperWhile the details of the taper and race week will be described in the next installment (published November 1), it’s important to remember that your taper will begin after your last long run at the end of Week 11. The taper is designed to gradually reduce long-term fatigue and get you race ready! Week 12 will begin with a bit of recovery in the form of easy running and rest. The end of Week 12 will include race specific workouts of decreased duration. The first three days of Week 13 have also been included to close out the month of October.

Types of Workouts in the Base Phase

Threshold Runs: Phase 3 introduces Threshold Runs consisting of high intensity intervals. As with a tempo run, Threshold Runs always begin with a warm-up that includes 15 minutes of easy running. The main workout consists of a series of threshold intervals with a rest period between each interval. The intervals should be completed at 45 to 60 seconds faster per mile than your projected race pace (PRE 8-9). During Phase 3, you will complete two 5-minute intervals in Week 9, three in Week 10, and four in Week 11. Each 5-minute interval should be separated by 2 minutes of easy walking. Finish each Threshold Run with 10 minutes of easy running. If you find yourself tired on Thursdays from runs earlier in the week, it is perfectly acceptable to turn your Threshold Run into an easy run to save your energy for Saturday’s long run. 

Pace Runs: As described in detail in Part 2 of this series, the Pace Run is the projected average pace at which you will run the marathon. The lengths of the Pace Runs in Phase 3 increase as your training becomes race specific. This is the second most important run that you will complete during the week.

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Long Runs: As described in detail in Part 1 of this series, the Long Run will continue to be the most important run you will do during the week. This workout should take precedence over all otherl workouts done during the week!

Easy Runs: As described in detail in Part 1 of this series, Easy Runs are similar to long runs however they are much shorter in duration. Remember that Friday’s run is optional and if you are feeling tired or run down you’re better off cross-training and saving your legs for Saturday’s workout.

Cross-Training: As described in detail in Part 1 of this series, Cross-Training can be considered any form of aerobic exercise other than running.

Rest: As described in detail in Part 1 of this series, it is highly beneficial to break or refrain from physical activity either 1 or 2 days each week to allow your body to rest.

(Look for Kyle Visin’s article on the final phase of training in the November 2012 issue)

Coach Kyle Killer Tri

A USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Coach, Kyle Visin specializes in coaching runners and triathletes in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. He is the co-founder of Killer Tri, an innovative triathlon training and development program that integrates hands-on instruction to maximize measurable results.

An elite competitor himself, Kyle heads to Kailua Kona this October to compete in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. His Personal Best for the marathon portion of an Ironman triathlon is 3:02:49. A graduate of UCSB, he works as a mechanical engineer at Asylum Research in Goleta when not racing or coaching, and lives with his wife in Santa Barbara.

Kyle Visen

Kyle Visen

A USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Coach, Kyle Visin specializes in coaching runners and triathletes in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. He is the co-founder of Killer Tri, an innovative triathlon training and development program that integrates hands-on instruction to maximize measurable results.
An elite competitor himself, Kyle heads to Kailua Kona this October to compete in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. His Personal Best for the marathon portion of an Ironman triathlon is 3:02:49. A graduate of UCSB, he works as a mechanical engineer at Asylum Research in Goleta when not racing or coaching, and lives with his wife in Santa Barbara.
Kyle Visen

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