This marathon plan is for you if you’ve been running consistently for at least four times a week for the past year and have familiarity with heart rate training, if you aren’t currently using your heart rate in your daily training. Also, across the course of that year, you’ve had no significant (4+ weeks) breaks for illness or injuries, have raced a half-marathon or full marathon within the past two years, and are ready for a challenging 20 weeks of training that will make you an extremely strong, extremely competent runner.
We recommend that you have either done the EXCELLENT Half-Marathon or OUTSTANDING Marathon plan within the past year before taking on SUPER OUTSTANDING so you have both the cardio base and the muscular strength to support the program.
On this plan, you will run five days a week; you have an option of running six days a week if you’d like. There are very few straight-up runs; most have bursts of speed—anything from 20 seconds to five miles—or strength elements added in. All the runs are in minutes, although some segments of them correspond to distance. Easy days will be fairly easy—there are two of these weekly—but hard days (three days/week) will be correspondingly pretty dang tough.
SUPER OUTSTANDING is divided into segments with specific focuses:
Weeks 1-3: Introduction + Base
Weeks 4-6: Strength + Power
Weeks 7-10: Speed
Weeks 11-18: Integration of Strength, Speed + Race Pace
Weeks 19-20: Taper + Race
If you are coming into this plan with fewer than 20 weeks until race day and you’ve been training consistently with heart rate, you can skip and/or modify Weeks 1-3.
Fair Warning: You will likely work harder on this race plan than you’ve ever worked before in your running career. As such, SUPER OUTSTANDING is not a plan to join if you are moving, starting a new job, or going through another phase in your life where your energy and time is more limited than usual. In order for you to maximize your success, a commitment to five workouts a week, plus the self-care extras that aren’t really extra—foam rolling and strength training on a nearly daily basis—are key.
It’s all worth it, of course; your final race will be so SUPER OUTSTANDING, you’ll contemplate tattooing those two words on your (crazy strong) glutes after you cross the finish line.
You need to please:
- Be able to currently jog for 90 consecutive minutes. For at least the previous three months, you’ve averaged 20 miles a week. What’s more, we strongly recommend that you have either done the EXCELLENT Half-Marathon or OUTSTANDING Marathon plan within the past year before taking on the SUPER EXCELLENT Plan. Also, over the past year, you’ve also had no major breaks (4+ weeks) in your running, due to injury (boo!), illness (boo again!), pregnancy (yay!).
- Own a heart rate monitor with a chest strap, and understand you need to wear it all the time while training.
- Be ready to devote your body, mind, and spirit to 20 weeks of training. Again, this is a tough plan. During week one, you’ll run for five hours over the course of five workouts. By week 17, the biggest week of training, you’ll be running nine hours, fifteen minutes over the course of five workouts. The longest run distances are 220 minutes (2 times) and 240 minutes (1 time).
BIGGEST WEEK OF TRAINING: Nine hours, fifteen minutes.
LENGTH OF WEEKDAY RUNS: 60-100 minutes (Starting Week 11, M/W runs are 75-80 min.; a few can be cut back to 60 min. when necessary; F runs are 80-100 min.)
LONGEST LONG RUN DISTANCES: 220 minutes (2 times) and 240 minutes (1 time)
Weeks 4-6 of the plan are previewed above and to the left. (Quick key: HK: High Knees; RR: Recovery Run; GOG: Glutes of Glory (a strength routine); BB: Bulletproof Butt (ditto: strength); BER: Build Engine Run.)
NOTE: Not seeing your race date? Here’s a list of all the 2017 race dates + waves.
The first date is date you officially start your 20-week plan; the second date should align with the weekend of your goal race.