This Athletics Illustrated interview has some good details on Ritz’s training cycle:
DR: I don’t really train on a weekly cycle. I usually have 2-3 easy days between each workout or long run. I generally take a day off completely every 1-2 weeks or at least have one very easy day that consists of four to seven miles of easy running. I generally run 95-105 miles a week and try to supplement with a couple hours a week of cross-training. Twenty to 25% of my normal training is done on the AlterG treadmill at 85-90% of my normal weight. I usually sequence my training with one hard interval session, one longer tempo/interval session, one long run, and one shorter speed session. I believe in hard quality intervals and my long runs are generally fast but not always. The biggest periodization in my training comes during the marathon training. I have been doing this for many years now so I don’t need to put such long blocks of training as in the past. Periodized training is important but it should be adapted to the age and level of runner.
In this IAAF preview to the NYC marathon, we learn a few details about Yuki Kawauchi’s training:
The constraints of working 9-5 mean weekend races often function as long training runs, supplementing his five weekly tempo runs (“80 to 100 minutes with 5 minutes pace per kilometre”) and once-weekly speed session.
This letsrun article has some interesting tidbits on Meb’s marathon training at age 40:
Though the core workouts of Meb’s program remain the same as always under Larsen, Keflezighi will tinker with the schedule as necessary. One day, he may substitute a tempo run for an interval workout. Sometimes, he may decide to do the majority of his running on the ElliptiGo or take the day off entirely. Meb no longer logs every mile — he and Larsen work more in terms of time — but makes sure to get in the quality workouts he needs to prepare for the grueling 26.2-mile race.
Meb said he doesn’t hit “home runs” in workouts any more but realizes he doesn’t need to hit home runs in practice to be successful. He might be 3-5 seconds per mile behind what he was in his prime in practice but he’s got a lifetime of base in his legs that makes the workouts less important.
One other thing about Meb’s training at age 40. He said he stresses recovery on his easy days much more. In his 20s, Meb said he pretty much ran everything at 6:00-6:15 pace on his easy days. Now, he might start at 7:15 pace or even 8:00 pace on his easy days and then work it down to 6:15 once he’s warmed up.
In this Competitor interview, Desi Linden discusses her training leading up to the 2016 Olympic marathon trials:
We’re starting in mid-November and a 10- to 12-week buildup is pretty normal. The first two weeks is just about building mileage. I’ll start in the 85-90-mile range and then slowly work up to about 115 over a few weeks and then top out at 120 to 125 miles. We’ll start getting into marathon-paced workouts not too far into the buildup. A few weeks after that, we’ll switch up to faster-than-marathon pace with the same types of workouts—like 5 x 2 miles and 3 x 3 miles at 10 to 15 seconds faster than marathon pace—and we’ll start hitting peak mileage about then—maybe 120 to 125 miles per week.
Yeah, I run double sessions on most days. If it’s not a day in which I’m doing something of substance—a long run or a workout—I’m probably running twice. We’ll start small—8 miles in the morning, 4 miles in the afternoon, then to 10 and 4 and build up from there.
I’ll only go up to 20 miles. In fact, I’ve only gone over that twice. Once during my Olympic buildup in 2012, I went up to 22 and apparently that’s a little too much. I’ll probably run 20 miles five times during my buildup to the Olympic Trials between early December and mid- to late January. Those are run a lot on feel, so once you start getting into it and you’re building your mileage, sometimes you just want to go out and cover the distance or get ‘time on feet’ but we do a lot of progression runs where the final 3 or 4 miles you’re running at marathon pace at the end of a 20-mile long run. And some days you just don’t have it, so you just cover the distance.
Our last big workouts are almost a month out from the race. About 4-5 weeks out, we’ll do the Hanson’s Marathon Simulator 26.2K at marathon pace and 2 x 6 miles about 5 seconds faster than marathon pace and an 8-mile tempo run. Those workouts are all smashed together in close proximity to each other over a week or so. From there, we mostly do lighter workouts where you’re touching on marathon pace after that.
The 2 x 6-mile workout is always a very big indicator. It’s the first time you step back from going 10 minutes faster than marathon pace and you feel pretty relaxed on that first one and then if you can hit that second one at the right pace and sense that it’s comfortably hard, it’s always a good indicator that you’re ready because it really comes on top of a lot of mileage. You’re tired and you’re beat up and if you can hit that, it’s a good sign. But really, there’s no one workout that if you hit or don’t hit you melt down.
For Boston this year, I was shooting for 5:20 pace for those 2 x 6 workouts. But when there are days where it’s super windy, you just go by effort and just roll with it.
We do a couple of things on the track, usually any workout that’s shorter than mile repeats we’ll do on the track. So we might do 10 x 800 at 15 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace. Later on, we’ll do 6 or 8 x mile repeats at 5:10 or so. We’ll just do two of those workouts, just to feel fast, even though you’re not really going that fast.
Our taper is only about two weeks, maybe a week and a half. We keep running super late into the buildup. I’ll run a 12-miler the week of the race.
In this letsrun article, Ritz discusses his training leading up to the Boston Marathon and the 2016 Olympic Trials:
He hasn’t cracked 100 miles in a week in all of 2015 (he averaged 87 mpw in his Boston Marathon buildup, including 20 mpw on the Alter-G) but supplements that with additional cross training. He also runs more of his runs at a harder pace — he averages between 5:15 and 5:25 per mile for his 20-mile long runs.
In this Runner’s World story, Nick Symmonds outlines his training leading up to the World Championships:
Going into the world championships, Symmonds has been hovering around 60 miles per week, which includes a long run around 12 miles, plus lifting, swimming, and challenging speed sessions. Last week, for example, he ran 5 x 300 meters with six minutes recovery between each. Every interval was “intended to be faster than 800-meter race pace,” he said.
Here are some details on Patrick Makau’s marathon training:
Makau – My preparation for the next marathon starts after having had a month-long break after the just-completed marathon. I rest, enjoy some of the foods I can’t eat while in the marathon training and I spend time with friends and family. I even pack on a few kilograms and just let my body recover.
Then in my early build-up I run just 40km per week for four weeks before moving on to my 12-week long marathon training of 210km per week (11 sessions, Sunday off), with me cutting mileage to 160km for period of two weeks before a competition. In a race week, I tend to run 65km plus marathon distance.
The pace of my long runs tends to be around 7-10% slower than my marathon pace; my 1,000m intervals vary from 2:35 min/km to 2:55 min/km, while fartlek sessions are often run on feeling, with the pace difference between fast and slow segments being around 1 min/km.