Longest distance marathon plan

I am struggling to find the correct marathon plan and find a big discrepancy between the (longest distances and number of sessions per week) low volume plan and the mid volume plan.

The low volume plan has 3 running session per week but does not go over 20 km in any session until race day (with 7 -12 km sessions rest of the week and total weekly milage that does never exceeds < 50km) Also the longest session starts and remains around 19km so there is no build up there . This seems not enough mileage and no build up.

The mid volume has 7 sessions per week with longest session directly over 30km and a total of over 109km / week. This on the other hand is too much and not sustainable for me (both time wise and distance wise).

I have already played around with the min / max number of weekly hours and changed the ramp rate but this does not seem to have (much) impact on the schedule. How do I get the program to make a schedule with (a) not 7 sessions per week (but maybe 5 max), (b) more KM’s in de sessions, (c) build up in the long session to at least 30 KM?


Athletica team, any help?

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Sorry for the delay in responding @Dimitri .

Apologies for the confusion on the distances also. I would suggest starting out on the low volume plan based on what you describe. Currently I can see you’re on the mid-volume plan. I have adjusted you now to the low volume plan that has 4 sessions in the build week. Next week it has you at 46km.

For the longest session, we really can’t say anything about this yet as it will change in accordance with what you do and don’t do. Currently it doesn’t appear as if you’ve done much run training so Athletica stays conservative to try to protect your body. If you train more and follow the prescription Athletica will let out the leash more and that run should get longer and longer.

Let me know your thoughts.


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Thanks Paul! That makes sense and would be perfect.

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Hey Dimitri, you could also use the mid-volume plan and delete the sessions you think you cannot do (due to schedule etc). I would be mindful about the fact that if you are consistent in your running and gently increase your overall km, you are already well underway to nail your marathon. Those long 30+K sessions significantly increase the risk of injury and illness as they are very taxing to your body. You could try to increase your longer runs by doing double sessions. One longer one in the morning and then shorter one in the afternoon. For example, 24K 7am and then another 6-8K in the evening. This way you are running a good 2+ hours (depending on your speed) in the morning, then refuel and partly recover (you will not be fully recovered for the second run) and then again run 6-8K on tired legs. I’ve personally found this works pretty well especially as an older athlete (40+) as ligament/tendon injuries take considerably more time to heal from.

Good luck with your marathon training and let me know if you need help setting up your plan :smiley:

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Hey Dimitri,
Really interesting reading your post, as I gave very similar feedback when starting a Marathon plan on Athletic last year. My background was high volume training and I expected to see my LSR each week, but it wasn’t there when looking forward in the plan I didn’t see much progression. However, I didn’t appreciate that the plan would adapt, but also and possibly more importantly, I didn’t consider the benefits of a HIIT based approach, with an emphasis on maximising time in training zones and adequate recovery.
To be honest I was quite sceptical, as this was changing what had worked in the past. But I am older and more time constrained and the theory made a lot if sense (I read the book!). Also I have really enjoyed the variety, especially the combined short hills and MIT sessions - I would pick that over a LSR every time.
Unfortunately illness prevented me racing last year, but I am looking forward to having another crack at this training approach .
Best of luck with your training.


Thanks Marjaana and David,

That makes a lot of sense for me (also as an older 50+ athlete : ).
Need to trust the adaptation of the AI (which was actually what made the athletic proposition interesting in the first place!)
Good luck with racing this year David!


You’re welcome. Good luck on your quest!