Those of you who use The 100 Day Marathon Plan know that this program, which is designed to fit runners of all levels, is a modification of many of the principles used by many of the top marathoners in the world.
But how do the best marathon runners in the world actually do their training on a day-to-day basis?
I’ve collected a few excellent online sources to specifically answer this question. There is some VERY good information out there
If you have additions to the list or want to engage in a discussion of the marathon principles you find here, please use the comments section below.
Training of Grete Waitz
Grete Waitz won the New York City Marathon 9 times and was the world champion in 1983. She was also a very fast track runner with a PR of 4.00 in the 1500 meters.
So how did she train?
A new article from 2014 gives a very detailed overview of her training:
A Case Study of Grete Waitz Click the “full text” part to the right of the page – to view the whole article (see circled around in the below picture)
Stefano Baldini was the Olympic marathon champion in 2004 and a great championship runner. Coached by Gigliotti, he followed the Italian school of marathoning.
Here are a few sources for you about the day-to-day training of Baldini.
The training leading up to the actual Olympics in 2004:
A sample week including actual workout times:
Training of Gelindo Bordin
OIympic marathon champion in 1988.
Overview of the workouts leading up to the 1988 Olympic gold medal:
With specific finishing times/running times in each workout for that period:
The women’s world record holder, with a PR of 2:15:25.
In terms of specific day-to-day workouts, there is very little data available on Radcliffe.
The only real source I have is from a phone conversation I had directly with her coach, Alex Stanton, for about an hour in the fall of 2002. Here are a few things that I remember from that conversation:
– High overall volume 200+ km.
– A big focus on altitude training.
– Hill workouts with strength work incorporated.
– Intense aerobic work year round. What also surprised me was the intensity of some of the endurance work. A great deal of it, including hill workouts and intervals, was above the anaerobic threshold, in between 10k to half marathon pace. Additionally, the overall workout length of this type of work was substantial. Even for me–a 13:09 5k runner at the time and doing very long and hard workouts– the overall load of the workouts of this very intense “aerobic plus” work struck me.
– Quite fast running, even on the easy workouts.
– Flat periodization, less variation winter vs summer than many other runners.
To me, her philosophy sounded like a mix of Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen, with the overall load going one step further.
If anyone has more specific information/copies of Alex Stanton lectures, I would love to hear from you!
There is, however, some VERY interesting work on the physiology of Paula reported in some scientific studies.
At her peak fitness in 2003 (the runner referred to as World Record holder is Paula):
The runner in this study is also Paula Radcliffe, before she started running the marathon:
Training of Ingrid Kristiansen
Former world record holder for the 5k/10k and the marathon.
Training three weeks prior to the 2.21 world marathon record (London 1985). (The full article is in Norwegian. Use Google Translate for a simple overview in English.):
Overview from LetsRun.com:
Training of Florence Kiplagat
Training prior to the 2014 world record half marathon:
Moses Mosop, 2:03 Boston Marathon./Kirui, 2009 and 2011 World Champion.
Overview of their training:
Specific day-to-day schedule for Kirui before his 2011 Marathon World Championship gold:
Specific day-to-day schedule for Mosop before his 2:03 Boston Marathon:
In addition to this, here is a little bit from Renato Canova
Coach of the two athletes mentioned above.
In-depth summary of workouts/philosophy:
Summarized philosophy (including other distances):
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All the best,
M.D. and Author of the 100 day Marathon Plan