BEST FOR: Injury-free runners with four-plus relatively clear months who are ready to check a 26.2-mile race off their bucket lists.
PHYSICAL PRE-REQS: Before stepping up to this plan, mother runners should have logged at least 9 to 12 months of week-in, week-out running, along with some experience stepping up to a race starting line. You should be able to run 8 miles comfortably and have no current shin splints, IT band issues, or other maladies.
PLAN OVERVIEW: We’re not gonna lie: Training for a marathon is a big deal, but this plan makes the path to it seem manageable. (Sort of like how bagged salads make including a veggie at dinner do-able.) Training to cover 26.2 miles requires commitment, especially for the weekly long runs. On this plan, you’ll do seven runs that are 15 or more miles long, which hone your mental toughness as surely as your calf muscles. This 20-week plan provides ample time to build, adapt, and be prepped to complete the mother of all races.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Recognizing that women, especially mother runners, have extra-full lives, we built a "bail if needed" day into each week. In an ideal world, you'll be so stoked from seeing your near-daily improvement you won't miss many workouts, but in the real world, we know sometimes something has to give. The "bail" day is the workout you should nix if you need to. Conversely, each week there's a "Gotta get it done" workout: This is the workout that's most vital to getting you to race day raring to go.