RUNNING BY HEART RATE:
MARATHON, LEVEL 1
Running by Heart Rate: Marathon, Level 1 is a 24-week program suitable for all runners wanting to take on the motherlode of all races: the marathon. You’ll learn—or continue—to train by heart rate, using your individual zones, calculated by regular testing, to moderate your effort appropriately. You’ll spend plenty of time in the lower zones, building your endurance base; you’ll also spend some time climbing hills, finding different gears with pick-ups and intervals, and practicing your race pace so that you’re ready to thrive on race day.
Running by Heart Rate: Marathon, Level 1 eases you into things with the first four weeks focused on learning to run by heart rate and getting you familiar with form runs. Most weeks in this program have two strength circuits and two rest days. There is one day of cross-training during Weeks 1-12; after Week 13, you’ll spend nine weeks running five days a week. Cross training returns to the scene as you begin to taper.
The majority of the runs in this program are in Zones 1-2, which helps you build a solid foundation of cardiovascular endurance and keeps your risk of injury low.
Running by heart rate requires patience and persistence. You will likely run slower than you have in years, and your post-run, “I’m-a-b*d*ss” glow may not feel as intense as it usually does. (But make no mistake, you are STILL a b*d*ss!)
The thing to keep in mind is that that post-run, b*d*ss glow is likely from a Zone 3 effort (we’ll explain more later) which leaves you prone to injury and stagnation. What’s more, that glow is temporary, and fleeting euphoric feelings are typically not worth the long-term drawbacks.
Often athletes abandon training in lower heart rate zones out of frustration or boredom—or because they just can’t bear one.more.slow.run—and move on to the higher zones for one of two reasons:
A) They get to maintain a nice clip and satisfy their inner competitive beast.
B) They believe that training harder will yield faster and stronger results.
A is true—it does feel good to run fast, but it doesn’t do anything for building endurance or warding off injury. And B? Simply not true. We—Coaches Jen + Liz— have trained athletes by heart rate for over twenty years, and have seen huge gains when they lean in, slow down, and trust the process.
PREREQS: You’ve been running at least 45-60 minutes 3-4 days of the week for at least 8 weeks. You’re injury-free. Previous race experience isn’t mandatory, but having a half-marathon under your soles will be helpful for perspective as your runs get longer.
BIGGEST WEEK OF TRAINING: 7 hours, 25 minutes, including five runs and two strength circuits.
LONGEST LONG RUN DISTANCES: The longest run day has two choices: 3 hours, 15 minutes or 3 hours in the AM, 1 hour, 30-45 minutes in the PM.
CROSS TRAINING + STRENGTH TRAINING INCLUDED? Yep. One weekly cross-training session is included in Weeks 1-12, and each week has two strength circuits. Two of the strength routines include resistance bands.
WEEKLY OVERVIEW: Four or five runs; one cross-training session (weeks 1-12); two strength circuits; two rest days.
FIRST AND PEAK WEEKS: (explained fully in the program)