Northern Arizona Elite - Beginner Plus Marathon Plan

Are you ready to train like the Pros? Our Northern Arizona Elite Training Plans are taken straight from the workouts that Coach Ben Rosario uses to prepare the NAZ Elite team for some of the biggest races in the United States and across the globe! You’ll get insights into how we perform each workout in Flagstaff, Ariz., complete with links to workout videos from some of our biggest sessions. We believe that these plans can work for anyone and everyone. They just need to be tailored for specific ability and experience levels.

We call this our “beginner plus” marathon plan. If you’re someone who is fairly new to running the marathon, or perhaps running one for the first time, and runs between 25 and 50 miles a week then this plan is perfect for you. After a couple weeks of easy running, we begin throwing in some hard workouts and long runs. There will be two rest days per week and the other days are easy aerobic running. The final 12 weeks of the plan mimic the exact workouts (adjusted for ability/experience level) that led Matt Llano and Kellyn Taylor to sixth place finishes at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon.

Here are just a few of the hard sessions you’ll see in this plan:

8 x 1k: 2 mile warm-up. 8 x 1k with 2 minutes recovery. Each 1k should be a fast end of Zone 4 pace. 1 mile cool-down. We love this workout! Just about all the NAZ Elite athletes have done it in their marathon and half marathon build-ups. The pace is not terribly difficult for just 1 kilometer but doing 8 of them with short rest gets tough toward the end.

Tempo/Long/Tempo: 2 mile warm-up. 2 mile Tempo Run/8 mile run/2 mile Tempo Run. 1 mile cool-down. This one is a monster! Do the first Tempo near the slow end of the Zone 4 pace range. Then go straight into an 8-mile run in the Zone 2 pace range. Then, the coups de gras, another 2 mile Tempo Run! Do this one as fast, or slightly faster, than the first one.

16 Miles at Steady State Pace: 1-2 mile warm-up. 16 miles at the pace you could race at for roughly 2.5 hours, 1-2 mile cool-down. This is another classic for our team. We nailed this one three weeks before the Olympic Trials and that's when we knew we were ready!

*All of our plans use the Joe Friel Training Zones for running available to you via TrainingPeaks. They include what each zone means to us so you can clearly understand what we mean by a Steady State Run (= to the slow end Zone 4/fast end of Zone 3), a Tempo Run (= to the slow end of Zone 5a/fast end of Zone 4), etc.

Again, these are just a few of the sessions we’ll throw at you over the course of these 16 weeks. Everything builds slowly over that time and you’ll get one down week, halfway through the segment, just to recharge the batteries a bit. Before beginning this plan you should have a good general level of fitness and mileage-wise you should already have been at, or near, 25-50 miles a week for a couple of weeks.

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