marathon training program

‘Peloton’s marathon coaching program helped me shave over an hour off my PR time’

The primary time I ran a marathon, I used to be 21 years outdated, struggling by my junior yr of faculty, not likely certain what I used to be doing, and positively not coaching like I ought to. I crossed the end line with my knees lined in KT tape, pleased to have completed the race with out stopping or strolling.

Nearly six years later, on a crisp, foggy April day, I crossed the end line of the 2023 Paris Marathon feeling extremely sturdy. I ready with 18 weeks of laborious coaching, with no knee ache (plus no KT tape this time!). And I had completely smashed my earlier marathon time.

I completed the race in 3:31:15 and booked it for the final 1.2 miles after I realized that I *may* be capable of break 3 hours half-hour flat (Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group). I ran slightly below an 8-minute mile by the race till the previous few cussed miles the place I ran round an 8:30 tempo for 2 or three miles. Whereas I did not give myself a tough end time, I did have a purpose of aiming for a mean 8-minute mile tempo, which is the tempo I used to be coaching for.

Again in 2017, after I ran the New York Marathon, I ran a 4:47 marathon at an 11-minute tempo, that means this time I had hit an enormous PR, shaving over an hour and quarter-hour off my time, due to correct and rigorous preparation. And for that I’ve Peloton’s Marathon Coaching Program to thank.

All smiles after working throughout the end line trying in the direction of the Arc de Triomphe.

Currie Engel

That is how the Peloton Marathon program works

Peloton is a lot greater than fashionable bike coaching lessons. A $12.99 month-to-month subscription offers you entry to their app, which is full of extra energy, working, yoga, meditation, and biking applications than you can do in a lifetime.

The corporate’s marathon coaching collection is an 18-week program divided into three 6-week segments, Half I, Half II, and Half III. There are six days of programmed lessons (three working exercises, two energy and mobility lessons and a future) and a relaxation day. After I wasn’t touring, I favored to do my lengthy runs on Sundays and end the limitless miles with an enormous breakfast burrito from my favourite place within the East Village.

Alongside the way in which I educated with 4 instructors, Robin Arzn, Becs Gentry, Matt Wilpers, Rebecca Kennedy and Andy Speer, who guided me by coaching and provided helpful coaching suggestions and tips. This system is designed for each first-time and veteran marathon runners.

After I “labored out” in 2017, I used to be already logging about six miles of working not less than 5 days every week (I ran cross nation in highschool). To coach for the marathon, I simply added an additional future on the finish of every week. It was approach too many miles with none form of energy or practical coaching, and looking out again, it is smart that my knees have been having *none* of it.

Day 1: Relaxation day

  • yoga, stretching, lengthy stroll

Day 2: Tempo race

  • 10 minute warm-up earlier than the race
  • 45-minute tempo run with effort intervals (word: the trouble stage of working coaching is a choose-your-own-adventure, that means the full distance can fluctuate. I normally landed round six miles)

Day 3: Energy for runners

  • 30 minute energy and stability class

Day 4: Interval run

  • 10 minute warm-up earlier than the race
  • 60-minute marathon preparation with marathon tempo intervals

Day 5: Energy for runners

  • 30 minute energy and stability class

Day 6: Pop ran

  • 30 minute run with 5 minute heat up and 24 minute run

Day 7: Lengthy runs

  • 10 minute warm-up earlier than the race

The lengthy runs begin at 4 miles and steadily improve in distance to twenty. This system additionally integrates “pull-back” weeks that gave my physique time to get better and adapt.

The working parts of this program are designed to be carried out outdoors, however because it was winter in New York throughout the vast majority of my coaching, I needed to be artistic and make tweaks.

As my cousin as soon as informed me, my one serial killer trait is that I can fortunately run on a treadmill in a a lot very long time, so I ran two of my 16-milers and a 14-miler inside. It was that or battling the 20 mph gusts on the West Aspect Freeway and sub-freezing temperatures.

I additionally often added a 20- to 30-minute mild elliptical or stroll earlier than energy coaching to get my coronary heart charge up whereas minimizing limiting influence on my knees.

The Peloton marathon coaching program taught me to belief my physique.

Following a stable coaching plan was key to my race success, however a coaching program that allowed me to belief my physique was much more essential.

The considered working 26.2 miles at an 8-minute tempo was terrifying to me till I accomplished my longest 20-mile coaching run in Central Park. Afterwards, trying on the fixed tempo on my Apple Watch, I spotted that sure, I may actually run a marathon at this pace. My physique had settled into the cadence of my lengthy runs, and whereas it was actually tiring, it wasn’t unimaginable. All I needed to do was simply hold going.

peloton marathon training review

An image of my Apple Watch after ending my final lengthy coaching run at a mean tempo of seven:52 for 20 miles.

Currie Engel

Thoughts over matter. It is a phrase typically utilized in my household, and likewise a mantra within the Peloton group. And as any marathoner can inform you, the most important impediment to ending 26.2 is that little organ between your ears that tells you, “You are drained” and “You may’t probably sustain this cadence.” Peloton coaches know this, so lessons do not simply construct muscle, they construct psychological energy and endurance.

The instructors use a charge of perceived exertion (RPE) to measure your exertion throughout runs. The exercise is designed to be carried out outdoors and not using a treadmill to information you. For instance: This tempo ought to really feel like a 7 out of 10 or, You have to be on a 2 proper now whereas warming up.

This was useful in so some ways, however principally as a result of it met me precisely the place I used to be. Lengthy day at work? Give us your greatest 7. Are you getting stronger because the weeks go by? Give us your greatest 7. Though that quantity various, this system taught me to belief my physique, hearken to what it was telling me, and provides it my all for every exercise.

So I let my physique determine what a 7 or a 2 or my marathon tempo felt like as an alternative of trusting what I assumed it must be.

This system additionally sharpens your capacity to keep up a tougher, quicker tempo for longer and longer intervals. Within the first few weeks, you retain your quicker tempo tempo for simply three-four minute intervals, max. In the previous few weeks it is 19 minutes and even 22 minutes at a time. I realized to breathe by the ache, constructed up my endurance with quicker runs, and really improved my coronary heart charge variability (the time interval between heartbeats) all on the similar time.

As I laced up for my longer and longer runs, I reminded myself that even when I had a purpose tempo, it was okay if I could not hold it that week. And there have been positively instances after I did not attain my purpose, both due to sheer exhaustion, a chilly, or a foul evening’s sleep.

The practical and energy coaching lessons saved my knees.

Again in 2017 I by no means managed greater than 16km throughout my coaching runs as a result of my knees have been in plenty of ache. Particularly, my quads and patellar muscular tissues weren’t sturdy sufficient and my kneecap was sliding round. My grandfather, an orthopedic surgeon who focuses on knee and hip replacements, inspired my dogged dedication to train, however informed me he thought it was a foul concept to run with my knees and protest a lot. So as an alternative of logging longer routes, I began cross-training and used sufficient KT tape on race day to offer the bionic lady a run for her cash.

In 2023, I had no accidents, changes or unnatural ache throughout my whole coaching and the race itself. And I attribute that just about completely to the twice-weekly perform and energy coaching lessons and the fastidiously composed mileage on runs. These energy lessons targeted on hip, knee and ankle energy with actions corresponding to lunges, calf raises, clamshells and squats.

Sure, the hours felt gradual at instances. I completed with barely a tinge of sweat. However they labored for me and they’re value it. Any deadlift PRs can wait till after the marathon.

I prioritized consistency over perfection.

Life was tremendous hectic throughout coaching. I traveled quite a bit, obtained engaged (!), and was actually busy at work. So whereas I did my greatest to comply with this system as carefully as attainable, I gave myself grace when life obtained in the way in which.

There have been missed exercises and skipped lessons, however I prioritized the lengthy runs every week (even when I needed to reschedule them) and integrated motion into my day after I could not make it to the fitness center.

I reduce alcohol for over a month earlier than the race.

Yup. It’s true. Actually reduce off the booze, actually make a distinction. These programmed exercises are not any joke. They’re actually designed to push you they usually did. I wished to do every part I may to maintain my physique on the high of its sport for the final 5 to 6 weeks and that was the important thing to my success.

With out alcohol, I used to be energized for each weekday and weekend runs (which have been my principal ones!). I obtained actually good sleep main as much as the race. Was it laborious to not drink wine in France? Sure. Was it value it? Additionally, sure.

Whereas I beloved the present as an entire, I do have a number of criticisms.

Since exercises are cut up into three separate exercise segments (Components I, II, and III), this meant I might be listening to the identical exercise audio and teacher banter when the category repeated itself throughout that phase.

One change that may enhance this system is a written description of the exercise along with a normal overview, together with interval instances and energy ranges. That approach, if I wished to skip the tales and songs I’ve already heard, I may comply with the identical exercise plan by myself.

The identical criticism applies to the 10-minute warm-up classes scheduled earlier than every tempo, marathon tempo, and future. By the point I reached week 6, I may sing alongside to the music, I had already heard it so many instances. In week 18 I wanted a break.

Whereas I am actually glad to have the lengthy, laborious 18 weeks behind me now, it was value working throughout the end line with 3:31:15 flashing on my watch each kilometer alongside the way in which.

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Currie Engel is affiliate information editor at Ladies’s well being. She beforehand labored as an award-winning native reporter specializing in well being research and options, and as a researcher Time journal.

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