To support health and fitness of all ages through recreational running.



Training Plans

Training Tips - Dr Tom

Click to see each Plan
Marathon Beginner
Marathon Intermediate
Half Marathon Beginner
Half Marathon Intermediate


OBJECTIVES OF THE TRAINING PROGRAMS: For all marathon and half marathon runners, the goal is to get you across the finish line without an injury. These training programs are designed for the beginner/novice runner or the more experienced/intermediate runner. You know if you are a beginner or a more advanced runner. For some runners the beginner schedules will be too conservative and for others the schedules are too assertive - no single program will fit the needs of all runners.

For intermediate runners, the schedules are more ambitious in terms of intensity. Hopefully these schedules will enable the intermediate runner to achieve a higher level of performance. We do not advise beginners to follow the intermediate schedules.

If you have run multiple marathons or half marathons, you are an Advanced runner. You know how to train and you know what type training works best for you.

NUMBER OF RUNS PER WEEK: There are many training programs and no one program will satisfy the needs of every runner. Ordinary people can run 3-5 times per week before flirting with an injury. For most people there is no correlation between the number of runs per week and marathon performance; elite runners are different.

We do know running more than four times per week increases the rate of injury. These training schedules are based on 3 or 4 runs per week. On the days you do not run, cross training is important. Cross training involves activities which use muscles different from the running muscles: biking and elliptical are good cross training activities. Swimming is an excellent form of cross training.

Some runs are scheduled two days in a row. Running on consecutive days is OK for most runners. If you run on consecutive days, adhere to the principle of hard-easy run days. You can also combine these miles with another run that week, thus converting to a 3-run per week running schedule if preferred.

20-mile training runs: Our marathon training programs include three 20-mile runs. There are training programs containing one, two or three 20-milers. There is no scientific evidence of advantages/disadvantages for any schedule. Traditionally, we have included three 20-milers. For beginners, one 20-miler may be adequate.

STRETCHING: should be done every day. Some stretching after a brief warm up before the run and more stretching after the run is what we advise.

MILES PER WEEK: There is no correlation between the number of miles run per week and marathon performance. For top flight runners, very high mileage is typical for marathon training. Our goal is for runners to perform well and avoid injury.

We do know that running more than 40 miles per week increases the rate of injury. Therefore, these running programs are designed to keep the runner from excess mileage.

FLEXIBILITY: Training programs are general guides. You can change the run and rest days to suit your schedule. You can also vary the days of your runs. We recommend avoiding training programs with strict regimentation such as 4x400 on a given day.


  1.  Fartlek (Swedish: speed play)

    1. Warm up

    2. Pick a point (tree, driveway) up ahead and speed up to that point

    3. Reduce speed to regain your breathing. Once breathing has stabilized, find another point and cover the distance at a faster pace.

    4. Repeat several times. You can progressively lengthen the distance of the speed-up portions of the run.

    5. Cool down

  2. Intervals: measured or timed periods of intense effort or anaerobic running. Typically intervals are done on a track

    1. Warm up

    2. Increase speed for a measured distance or time

    3. Slow down enough to regain normal breathing and repeat the higher intensity running

    4. Cool down

  3. Tempo runs:

    1. Warm up, then increase pace to a “tempo pace.” There are three paces all defined by talking. There is training pace where conversation is possible. Then there is 5K race pace where talking is impossible. Between the two is tempo pace: uttering more than a few words at a time is impossible.

NOTE: If you can carry on a conversation during fartlek or interval workouts, your intensity is inadequate.

VARIATIONS IN THE SCHEDULE: Hills and speed runs are designed to add anaerobic capacity (intensity) to the schedule. For intensity, hills and speed (tempo/fartlek) make no difference; intensity is important. You can substitute one type of intensity for the other. Hills predispose to certain injuries. Speed runs predispose to other injuries. Choose your intensity workouts based on your personal experience. Running into the wind, as happens at Lake Hefner, constitutes intensity.

Revised: 12/2015

You can also download the "old" training plan that has been used in previous years.  This plan has been updated to include the THREE 20 mile training runs.  Warning: This plan only has one "rest" day.  Please use caution and listen to your body so you do not injure yourself.  We want everyone to be healthy and at the Start Line!

6 Day Per Week Training Schedule

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