top of page


For the GP phase included in the offseason, we are mostly focusing on developing a strong base of strength and aerobic capacity; the athlete must be prepared for longer, more intense runs and exercises in the next phase. I am introducing several different exercises to enhance neuromuscular efficiency, build coordination and discover any weaknesses that the athlete is struggling with. Since we are in the beginning of the training program, I will include a high volume with light to moderate weight. This format will increase lean body mass and overall endurance (Haff & Triplett, 2021).  After week 2, our athletes will begin to increase their intensity by 5-10%, followed by a recovery week in week 8. Also, to establish a strong aerobic capacity for the next phase, 3 runs a week will be included in the plan. One of these runs will be a long distance slow run, and the other two will be recovery runs or light tempo runs, depending on the athlete's energy level. The long runs for the first four weeks will stay around 5-6 miles, and the recovery or interval runs will be maximum 20-30 minutes.  

By week eight, our athlete should start showing an improvement in overall strength, coordination and aerobic capacity. Hopefully, we have identified any weaknesses, and will include additional balance/mobility/flexibility exercises into the program if needed. The SP phase will include sport specific resistance exercises, along with higher intensity intervals and longer runs. Improvement in running economy (RE) is essential, so several lower body exercises will be included, leading to greater leg strength and positive motor unit recruitment patterns (Johnston et al., 1997). Exercises included will be determined based on the kinematics of running. The hips, knees and ankles work together throughout the entire running gait cycle, by flexing and extending, in order to absorb one's body weight at initial contact with the ground.  Therefore, we’re going to see a lot of activation from the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, iliopsoas, and gastrocnemius, to name a few. Also, the upper body plays a role due to the repetitive motion of the arms moving through the sagittal plane. Here, we are in the basic strength phase as well, so the intensity is going to get higher and the volume will decrease to 2-6 sets of 2-6 repetitions. Our athlete should be comfortable running approximately 8-10 miles at this point, which will be the distance of the long run. This will continue to increase by 5-10% each week. We will also include two other runs for the week - one will be a recovery run at 30-40 minutes and the other will be an interval training run ranging from 45-60 minutes. 

We have entered into our precompetitive period now, where the athlete will begin focusing on strength and power. Our athlete is running confidently around 15 or 16 miles and has greatly improved their strength and increased lean body mass. We’re now focused specifically on turning those strength gains to develop power. Exercises will vary in intensity from 30-90% and the volume will be very low at 2-5 sets and 2-5 repetitions. Keeping the volume low will also help our runner save their energy for their longer runs. I will also include some HIIT training runs with incline, and longer interval runs as well. This will aid in developing a stronger aerobic capacity, and also potentially take time from their mile per minute pace. 

Competitive season is different for marathon runners, as it is much shorter and we begin to taper about 3-4 weeks out from the race. Here, volume and intensity will begin to decrease by 10% each week, with fewer exercises. I will include a few more mobility and flexibility sessions after the runs and resistance training, to ensure that the body is properly cooling down and preventing any potential injury so close to the race. The week of the race, the athlete should drop down to low volume and bodyweight only to just focus on maintaining. I will recommend a rest day, the day before the race. However, due to potential anxiety of the race, sometimes a light short recovery run is necessary. 

Our athlete has successfully finished the NYC marathon and is now in the postseason or restoration phase. This phase is typically 2-3 weeks for runners. The athlete will be encouraged to take a couple days off after the run. Then, including short low intensity bouts of cardio like swimming or cycling can be included. Any resistance training will be low volume and low intensity. Here the athlete can participate in non-sport specific activities, like yoga or a dance class. 

bottom of page