I am planning to start Phase I with a marathon scheduled 25 weeks out.  Since I don't have time for the full five-month program before the race, and I want to get some race-specific workouts in before the race, any suggestions on when/how I can transition from the TCI program to race-specific training to still get benefits from both?  Thanks! 

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Hi Carl - great question, but I am a little confused.  TCI program is 5 months or 20 weeks in length, so you have extra time if your race is 25 weeks away.

So you could start now and then like you mentioned tack on some marathon specific runs later.

OR, start in two weeks, leaving you 23 weeks before the race.  I would stick to the program, but add in a few marathon paced runs in Phase 1 using the speed chart for marathon training speed. And then in Phase 2 add more marathon paced runs in the weekend moderate long run.  And then taper the last two weeks after the completion of the program before the race.

In general, this is a great marathon program and I would change change much other than the above.

Let me know if this helps and lets us know which race you are doing.


Eric, thanks for the response!  Just to clarify, thinking that marathon training plans might run from 12-16 weeks, and that mileage would ramp up over that time, I was trying to figure out if I can modify the TCI runs or if I need to switch over altogether to a race-specific plan.

From your pointers above, looks like I can modify the runs in the program...didn't read ahead into the plan enough to realize that some of those Phase 1 runs can get up to three hours, which seems like would be plenty for marathon prep.

Appreciate the help!  The race is the SF Marathon at the end of July. 

How does this sound for a plan:

Starting in Phase 1, week 5, do 15-20 mins. marathon pace in weekend long run, adding 5-10 mins. marathon pace each long run except for recovery weeks - no marathon pace then.  Switch up between doing marathon pace at end of run and on/off during long runs.

Does that sound like a good way to incorporate marathon pace training into the plan?


Hi Eric - I’ve got a similar query around race timing and program modification. I am currently in Week 4 of Phase 1 and have signed up for a trail half marathon on 29 March which is a week after I finish phase 1.

I was running a part of the course regularly last year but only around 15km of it and found the hills quite challenging. I’m just wondering if I’d be better off doing my long runs on this course towards the back end of phase 1 (say from Week 8) and exceeding the HR zones or should I stick to the suggested heart rate zones and stick to flatter terrain.



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