Marathon Training: Week 13

This week we incorporate hill training for endurance — and take on 20 miles.

By Alyssa Shaffer
woman running road picture
Photograph: Photo by: iStockphoto

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

We’re adding hill training back this week, this time on longer hills that will help you gain greater endurance for race day (think back on this workout when you’re powering up the big hills of Central Park, especially in the last part of the race).

This week is also your chance to tackle 20 miles. It’s a big milestone for most runners, and a must-do for anyone who wants to finish a marathon feeling strong. Just knowing that you’ve already handled 20 miles will help you get through the full distance on race day. If you can, do this run with a training partner — it will make the time go by more quickly and help you stay motivated.

For Tuesday: Long Hills

Find a hill that will take you about 2:00 to 2:30 to run up (about 1/4 mile) at a moderate pace (70 to 75 percent intensity; you can speak in sentences or intermittent words). Choose a grade that’s not too steep (you shouldn’t feel like you’re leaning forward so much that you’re kissing the ground). If you’re doing this on a treadmill at the gym, set the incline to 4 percent.

Warm up for 1 mile, preferably on flat ground.

Then run up the hill at 80 to 85 percent intensity (you can’t speak more than a word or two). Stop at the top for about 20 to 30 seconds to catch your breath, then run down the hill at 70 to 75 percent recovery. Stop at the bottom for about 2 to 3 minutes to allow your heart rate to come down to normal. Do the hill bursts 4 times.

Cool down for about 1 mile on flat ground at 70 to 75 percent intensity.

Total distance: 4 miles

Total weekly distance: 33 miles

Monday Off
Tuesday 4 miles with long hillwork
Wednesday 4 miles (65% intensity; you could sing with some breathing breaks)
Thursday Run: 5 miles (75% intensity, you can speak in phrases)
Friday Off
Saturday 20 miles (70% intensity; you can speak in short sentences)
Sunday Off



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Originally published on, January 2009.

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