Marathon Training: Week 12

This week we’re introducing pyramid training, which helps build speed and get the body used to running hard and fast.

By Alyssa Shaffer
runners cobblestone picture
Photograph: Photo by: iStockphoto

Plan developed by Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of The Running Center in New York City.

This week we’re switching our speedwork program to a pyramid training plan. Each sprint builds in length, from 15 to 60 seconds before gradually decreasing back in time. This strategy gradually helps you get accustomed to running hard and fast for a longer period of time — but it can put stress on your body, so be sure to give yourself time to recover.

Pyramid workout for Tuesday:

Warm up for 1 mile at a moderate pace (70 to 75 percent intensity), and then take a short break (just a couple of minutes) to catch your breath and let your heart rate come down. When you can breathe comfortably, do the following speed exercises. Don’t stop between each interval; you’re aiming to run continuously.

Run 15 seconds fast (90 to 95 percent effort, pretty much as hard as you can) while staying in control. You can’t speak at all at this level. Then run 15 seconds at a moderately hard level (80 to 85 percent; you’re able to catch your breath a little but are still working hard).

Run 30 seconds fast/30 seconds moderately hard

Run 45 seconds fast/45 seconds moderately hard

Run 60 seconds fast/60 seconds moderately hard

Run 45 seconds fast/45 seconds moderately hard

Run 30 seconds fast/30 seconds moderately hard

Run 15 seconds fast/15 seconds moderately hard

Finish by running at a moderate pace (about 70 percent) for about 1 mile.

Total weekly distance: 26 miles

Week 12 Training Calendar

Monday Off
Tuesday 4 miles with pyramid training
Wednesday Off
Thursday Run 6 miles (70% intensity)
Friday Off
Saturday Run 12 miles (75% intensity)
Sunday Run 4 miles (70% intensity)



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Originally published on, March 2009.

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