International level track and field athletes will often race a fall marathon after their track season. During their track season they will run several 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m races. Their track racing goal is to improve their short distance time during the season and perform their best at international events. At the end of the season they have achieved their best possible track times for the year. Their fitness and speed is used to transition to a faster fall marathon.

Their schedule will look like this:

April to August – Short Distance Training Phase – 1 mile to 10,000m races every 2 to 3 weeks, weekly speed workouts, weekly long run 15km to 25km

August to October – Half and Full Marathon Training Phase – weekly speed workouts, weekly tempo runs at marathon pace or faster, weekly long runs of 18km to 36km

During these times of event uncertainty and solo running you can use the same approach to prepare for your future half and full marathons. Add a 1 mile, 3km or 5km time trial every second week to your schedule. Focus on improving your time trial over the next few months. There is not much difference in the training from your regular marathon schedule except that your long runs do not extend past 25km during the short distance training phase.

When it is time to resume half and full marathon training you can increase the distance of your weekly long run. It is much easier to run long runs and tempo workouts if you have improved your speed over short distances.

Fitness is connected. If you improve your 5km time you will race a faster half and full marathon.