The first time I ran a marathon, I was 21, working hard during my junior year of college, not really sure what I was doing, I certainly wasn’t training the way I was. I crossed the finish line with my knees covered in KT carpet, successfully finishing the race without stopping or walking.
Almost six years later, on a crisp, foggy April day, I ran across the finish line of the 2023 Paris Marathon feeling incredibly strong. I’ve had 18 weeks of hard training, no knee-pain (plus, no KT tape this time). And I absolutely smashed my previous marathon time.
I finished the race in 3:31:15, booking this for the last 1.2 miles when I realized that I *could* hit 3 hours and 30 minutes flat (the Boston Marathon time limit for my age). I ran sub 8-minute miles through the course, until the last few miles, where I was running about two or three miles in 8:30. While I didn’t set a hard time, I did have a goal of an average 8-minute pace, which is the pace I train at.
Back in 2017, when I ran the New York Marathon, I ran a 4:47 marathon with an 11-minute pace clock, which means this time around, I’d like to beat a bigger PR. and 15 minutes off per shearing hour in my time, he made a due and careful preparation. And for that I have the Peloton Marathon Program to thank.
How the Peloton Marathon Program Works
Peloton is so much more than trendy biking workout classes. TO $12.99 monthly subscription gives you access to their app, which is loaded with more exercise, running, yoga, meditation and biking programs than you could ever do in your life.
The marathon group training series is an 18-week program broken up into three 6-week parts, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. There are six class days scheduled (three running workouts, two mobility and strength classes and one to discover) and one rest day. Since I wasn’t traveling, I decided to go for my long run on Sunday, finishing the endless mile with a great burrito lunch from my favorite East Village spot.
Along the way, I trained with four teachers, Robin Arzónn, Becs Gentry, Matt Wilpers, Rebecca Kennedy and Andy Speer for guiding me through workouts and providing helpful training tips and tricks. The program is designed for first-time and veteran marathoners alike.
When I “exercised” in 2017, I was already running about six miles five days a week (I ran cross country in high school). To train for the marathon, I just added extra exercise at the end of each week. It was too many miles without any strength training and function, and looking back, it makes sense that my knees didn’t have it.
day 1; rest day
- yoga, stretching, long walks
day 2; time run
- 10 minute pre-run warm-up
- 45-minute tempo run with hard intervals (note: the level of effort for running workouts is your choice, which means the total distance can vary. I usually land around six miles)
3 Nines; The strength of the runners
- 30-minute strength and stability class
day IV; run the distance
- 10 minute pre-run warm-up
- 60-minute marathon running marathon running
day 5; The strength of the runners
- 30-minute strength and stability class
day 6; pop run
- A 30-minute run with a 5-minute warm-up and a 24-minute run
day 7; to discover
- 10 minute pre-run warm-up
Long runs start at four miles and gradually increase to a distance of 20. The program also integrates “back” weeks, which allowed my body time to recover and adapt.
The running parts of this program are designed to be done outside, but since the bulk of my training in New York was in the dead of winter, I had to get creative and make some tweaks.
As my cousin once told me, there is one “Look Killer” feature that I can successfully run on a treadmill. face and For a long time, so I did two miles ten and four miles inside. That was either battling 20 mph winds from the West Side Highway and below freezing temps.
I also sometimes add 20 to 30 minutes of easy elliptical or walking before strength workouts to get my heart rate up while minimizing the impact on my knees.
Peloton Marathon training taught me to trust my body.
Following a solid training plan was key to my race success, but training that allowed me to trust my body was even more essential.
The thought of running 26.2 miles at an 8-minute pace terrified me until I completed my longest training run of 20 miles in Central Park. Later, watching the steady pace on my Apple Watch, I realized that yes, I could really run a marathon at this speed. My body has been running for a long time in lockdown, which is certainly tiring, but it was not impossible. All I had to do was just go.
A matter of contempt for all. It’s a phrase that is often used in my family, and is also a mantra in the Peloton community. And as any marathon runner can tell you, the biggest hurdle to finishing 26.2 is that little organ between your ears telling you, “You’re tired,” and “you can’t keep up this pace.” Peloton coaches know this, classes don’t just build muscle, they build mental strength and endurance.
Trainers use perceived exertion (RPE) to push your guesswork into running – training is designed to be done outside without a treadmill to control you. For example: “This tempo should feel like a 7 out of 10” or, “You need to warm up to 2 now.”
This was so helpful in so many ways, but most of all it happened to me exactly where I was. Long day at work? Give us your best 7. Are the weeks getting stronger? Give us your best 7. While that number varies, the program taught me to trust my body, listen to what it was telling me, and what I could give each workout.
So I let my body decide what I thought a 7 or 2 or marathon pace would feel like, instead of relying on what I thought it would be.
It also aims to improve your ability to hold a harder and faster pace for longer and longer distances. In the first few weeks, you keep the pace at a faster pace at intervals of three or four minutes, max. For these few weeks, it’s 19 minutes or even 22 minutes at a time. I learned how to breathe through pain, my stamina is running faster, and my heart rate actually improved (the time between heartbeats) all at the same time.
As I broke out for longer and longer runs, I reminded myself, as long as I had a goal pace, if I couldn’t hold it for a week, that was fine. But there were certain times when I did not reach the goal, either because of the mere fatigue of life, or because of the cold, or because of a bad night’s sleep.
In working out and doing strength training classes it kept me supple.
Back in 2017, I never made it past 16 miles in my training because my knees were in a lot of pain. Specifically, my quads and hamstrings weren’t strong enough, and my knee cap was slipping around. My grandfather, an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in knee and hip replacements, encouraged persistent dedication to training, but he told me it was a bad idea, he thought he would only run with protesting knees. So, instead of packing up the longer routes, I started crossing the track and used enough KT tape on race day to give the bionic woman a run for her money.
In 2023 I have no injuries, tweaks, or ungodly aches and pains in any training and race itself. And I believe almost entirely twice weekly functional and strength training classes, and training days are taken care of. These types are in the hip, knee, and ankle, and moves like lunges, calves, clams, and three oared cups.
Classes are so slow sometimes. I finished with a barely-glow sweat. But they did for me, and they are worth it. Any deadlift PRs can wait until after the marathon.
1. Consistency in perfection is prioritized.
Life was at a fever pitch in training. I’ve been traveling a lot, I’ve been busy, and I’ve been really busy at work. So, while I was trying to follow my plan as closely as possible, I gave myself grace when life got in the way.
I missed workouts and classes, but I prioritized a long run each week (even if I had to reschedule them) and incorporated movement into my day when I couldn’t make it to the gym.
I cut the bow more than a month before the race.
yup. It is true. Cutting booze really; really this is important. These scheduled workouts are no joke. They really pushed you, and they did. I wanted to do everything I could to keep my body in top gear for the final five to six weeks, and that was the key to my success.
I worked without alcohol for the likes of holidays and weekends (which were my biggest ones). I got really good sleep leading up to the race. Does he not drink hard wine in France? forks Is it worth it? Yes.
While I loved the program as a whole, I have a few criticisms.
Since the workouts are broken into three parts (Parts 1, 2, and 3), I would like to hear the same workout audio and instructional play repeated with the class in that part.
One change that would improve the program is the written description of the workouts outside of the general scope, including interval times and sweat levels. That way, if I wanted to skip the stories and songs I’ve already heard, I could follow the same workout routine.
The same criticism applies to the 10-minute warm-up classes that precede each tempo, marathon step-by-step approach, and uncover. By the time I got to week 6, I could sing along to the music – I had heard it so many times already. By Week 18, I needed a break.
While I’m certainly glad to have those long, hard 18 weeks behind me now, running to that finish line with 3:31:15 flashing on my watch was worth every mile along the way.
Currie Engel is a news partner at Women’s Health. She previously worked as a local reporter specializing in health research and news reporting, and as a researcher at Time magazine