24 Week Beginner Marathon Plan (road or flat trail)

This 24 week plan is for a road or (flatter) trail marathon length (30-40km) race. It assumes a fairly low level of running experience (under 10 miles/week) to start. If you have not trained for or run a race of 10-15km before or in the last 6 months then we strongly recommend that you extend the first 6 week transition period to at least 8 and preferably 10 weeks as this will condition your legs to the routine of daily running that you will need to sustain the high workloads in the middle weeks of the plan. Do this by repeating Week 2 and Week 5 respectively in order to create an 8 week Transition Period. We recommend that you extend the Transition Period to 10 weeks if you are very new to running, in which case you would repeat Weeks 2, 3, 5, and 6.

The volume of training is given in hours rather than in miles or kilometers to account for the wide variations in running paces. Some runs are of a recommended maximum distance and time in the later parts of the plan.

Here’s useful beta about how to purchase and start your new plan and why we use TrainingPeaks.  For specific questions about this training plan, or to send us your success story email us at coach@uphillathlete.com.

Thanks for your purchase and becoming part of the #Uphillathlete team.

Steve House 

Sample Workouts

Sample Day 0: Aerobic Threshold Test

We recommend having a Metabolic Efficiency Test done in a lab to determine your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, along with your fuel usage at various intensities, as the gold standard for determining your metabolic response to exercise. Use the above mentioned thresholds as the anchors for all training intensities in this plan.

If you choose not to do this test then follow the procedure below to come up with an estimate of the upper end of your aerobic zone.

The first workout you find your Aerobic Threshold (AeT).

Use one of the following protocols to determine the upper HR limit for your aerobic capacity building workouts. For more information on Aerobic Capacity and Aerobic Threshold, see our book; Training for the New Alpinism.

1) AeT Test.
If you have engaged in a regular low intensity aerobically based training program for over 1 year then you will use the first test below to help zero in on your aerobic threshold heart rate.
By regular we mean a structured program of training at least 4 days a week for extended periods of at least 30 minutes of continuous aerobic work each.

AeT test: Walk, jog, or run on flat ground (or on a treadmill) at an easy intensity for 20 minutes to warm up enough that you’re starting to break a sweat after 20 minutes. Then close your mouth and continue to increase the pace to the point where you can no longer breathe only through your nose. Back off and hold this pace for the rest of the 20 minutes. This pace will also correspond to the upper limit at which you can carry on a conversation without needing to catch your breath. Note what this intensity level feels like and especially note what your typical heart rate is at this intensity. This is your Aerobic Threshold (AeT) pace and HR. Read more about performing this test indoors or outdoors.

2)MAF (maximal aerobic function) HR estimation.
If you have not engaged in the type of aerobic training referred to above or have been involved in a training program utilizing regular bouts of high intensity training such as CrossFit, P90X, Tabata or other gym based interval protocol type workouts then use this formula to estimate the top of your aerobic zone. 180-age=MAF HR. Read more about the MAF method here.

From now on you should use whichever is the LOWER of these two HR values as the upper limit for ALL your aerobic training unless otherwise instructed in the workout info. This is the top of your ZONE 2.

Note: All aerobic training for mountaineering should ideally be done on foot. Cycling and swimming, while great exercise, are not weight bearing. Running and hiking are much more specific to your sport where you’re on your feet for extended periods of time.

Sample Day 1: 30:00 Easy Paced Conditioning Run

You can do more than 30min if you have a consistent training history of more than 6 hours of running per week for more than 4 weeks.

Sample Day 1: Functional Runner

This simple strength workout uses mainly body weight exercises and focuses on single leg stability.

Use the following link to view a demo video for these exercises.
(Link available with purchase of plan)

Once familiar with the exercises go through this complete workout. As you gain strength, add weight in the form of holding dumbbells or adding a weight vest.

Warm up:
10x Trunk flex/rotate complex
10x Calf rocker
10x Leg swing
10x Jumping jack
10x Diag hops
3x 20sec run in place+ 10sec High knee run

3x Through circuit. 15sec rest btwn exercises. 1min rest per circuit:
4x Compass Points (4x 4 touches each leg)
20x Supine leg raise
10x Lunge (each leg)
10x Windshield Wiper
10x Single leg Deadlift (each leg)
10x Saw plank
10x Split Jump Squat (each leg)
1min rest then repeat.

Gluteus Med exercises:
Prone gluteus med activation. 4x max duration holds.
Hip Hitch 4x 15 reps each leg
Knee Stability with Band 4x 15 reps each leg

Cool down with static stretches;

See  video link below for exercise demos
(Link available with purchase of plan)

Sample Day 2: 30:00 Easy Paced Conditioning Run

You can do more than 30min if you have a consistent training history of more than 6 hours of running per week for more than 4 weeks.

Photo: David Roeske finishing the NYC Marathon in 2:34:49. David trained with Uphill Athlete for his no Os 2016 Everest Summit. Tom Flanagan photo.

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