Jared Ward’s Training, 7 Weeks Out From NYC Marathon
Olympian Jared Ward details every mile, every workout of a week in the heart of marathon training.
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
In April 2019, Jared Ward finished 8th in the Boston Marathon with a PR of 2:09:25. That November, he finished 6th in New York, improving his best time on the five-borough course by nearly two minutes. Since then, he’s run three less successful marathons that were learning experiences. After taking a break in the spring of 2021, Ward started ramping the miles back up in May for a fall marathon, which turned out to be New York. Now seven weeks out, he’s hitting the heart of his marathon buildup. He shared a week of his training with us, from September 13 to 19.
• 106 total miles
• 1 track workout, 1 progressive tempo run, 1 fast-finish long run
Context for the Week
On Monday, 6 Sept, I raced the New Haven 20k. I finished far worse than I had hoped: 16th in 1:01:20, in a race where I wanted to contend for the win. I had solid training throughout August; not yet marathon volume, but good workouts with Clayton Young (2019 NCAA 10,000m champ) who has been running well — he placed 5th in New Haven.
I came home and reminded myself that I respond well to volume, and it is time for me to push north of 100 miles per week at some level of consistency if I hope to have the race I’d like at the NYC marathon in seven weeks. This week kicks off that volume.
I actually started the volume last week, after recovering from New Haven (6 miles Tuesday and 7 Wednesday). I ran 17 total miles on Thursday, 20 total Friday, and a long run of 25 on Saturday with 6 miles at marathon pace.
Monday, September 13
21 miles, 2 runs
I tend to rest Sundays, so typically Monday feels alright. Religiously, I fast the first Sunday of each month (24 hrs, from Saturday evening to Sunday evening), but since the first Sunday of September was the day before the New Haven Road race, I fasted yesterday — so I entered Monday a little low on energy.
In the morning I ran 14 miles in 1:31 (~6:30/mile, 4:00/km), up Hobble Creek Canyon near my home. Not too hilly, but a few hundred feet of rolling terrain going up and then back down.
In the afternoon I ran a very flat 7 miles on a bike path near my home in Mapleton. Both this run and the morning run were door to door from my home.
Tuesday, September 14
17 miles, 2 runs
Tough Michigan Workout
In the morning I ran 7 miles on a dirt canal trail in Spanish Fork. I averaged 7 min/mile (4:20/km), and am feeling better than yesterday.
In the afternoon, Clayton, runners from the marathon REP (RunEliteProgram) group, and I joined the BYU team, led by Connor Mantz, for a Michigan Workout. We run the workout as a mile breakdown on the track, with a tempo mile on the grass immediately following each track interval, and two minutes rest between each set.
The workout looked like this:
1600m – tempo mile – 1200m – tempo mile – 800m – tempo mile – 400m – tempo mile
4:23 – 4:44 – 3:15 – 4:48 – 2:05 – 4: 53 – 1:00 – 4:45
I forgot my Endorphin PROs for this workout… So I worked out in the Endorphin Shift.
This workout floored me. Mantz is fit: I led out on the intervals on the track, but he brought us home. And Clayton is fit: he led all the tempo miles (I faded on 2 and 3). I skipped the cool down b/c I was late to coach my 5 yr old’s soccer game.
Wednesday, September 15
19 miles, 2 runs
Wednesday morning I ran with a whole crew of alumni from BYU in the AM. This was a fun mid-week pick-me-up. We went 12 miles at a 7 min/mile (4:20/km) average.
Wednesday afternoon I ran the same flat 7 mile, bike-path, sunflower tunnel run in Mapleton as Monday.
Thursday, September 16
13 miles, 1 run
Hobble Creek Canyon Progressive Tempo (850 ft total elevation gain in 8.3 miles)
I took the morning off today, opting for only a massage (Jake Carluccio at CognativeFX — second best massage therapist only to my wife), and a nap. I’ve been trying to rest more, coming off a disappointing race and realizing I need more sleep — as one of a few things to improve.
In the afternoon I ran another workout with the BYU squad — a Hobble Creek Canyon Progressive tempo. This 8.3-mile run is broken into 3 sections: 20 min assertive warmup (~6:00/mile today), 15 min power run (~5:20/mile today), and then tempo until you hit coach’s car (about 10 more mins this time, run at ~5 min/mile).
Today, I remembered my Endorphin PRO+ shoes: and I felt the best I have felt in a workout in a long while. Very in control, and powerful.
I was reminded today that good workouts are a better indication of fitness when they feel good. I’d had good workouts for weeks, but in many cases they took a near all-out effort to hang on to Clayton. Today, I was pushing the pace and floating. Hopefully this is part of turning the corner towards marathon fitness.
Breaking in racing shoes is for noobs.
As is forgetting to pack them…
Headed to Germany. Got my new shoes.
— Jared Ward (@jwardy21) September 18, 2021
Friday, September 17
16 miles, 2 runs
My college teammate Conner Peloquin slept over at my home last night on a trip to Utah — so I got to enjoy his company for 12 miles in the morning, and then catch up with him through the morning. Friends are what I’m most grateful for from running.
Then, in the early evening, I did 4 miles on the treadmill.
Saturday, September 18
20 miles, 1 run
Long run with 4 miles at marathon pace
I was blessed with another alumni run on Saturday, for a quality session. Iain “Doc” Hunter (50 yrs old and just 3 weeks back from time off) got the pace off to a sub-6 min/mile (3:40/km) clip seemingly within the first mile. We forgave him because he ran longer than the rest of us…
We held just under 6 minute miles until mile 14, when Clayton and I put in 4 miles at marathon pace (4:53, 4:55, 4:57, 4:49), then cooled down for 2 miles. 1:55 total time, 20 miles.
Saturday evening I had planned to go a few light miles, but I had to prep for a flight to Europe the next day and the kids needed some time.
Week total: 106 Miles
I have a goal of finishing on the podium at a major marathon, and I’m cautiously optimistic that with a few more weeks of high volume and good workouts that I could be ready to chase that dream at the NYC Marathon this fall. I’m healthy, and the Ward family is happy.
|KEY WORKOUTS||WARD’S SPLITS||RACE PACE EQUIVALENT|
• 1600m – tempo mile – 2-minute rest
• 1200m – tempo mile – 2-minute rest
• 800m – tempo mile – 2-minute rest
• 400m – tempo mile – 2-minute rest
|• 4:23 (1600m) – 4:44 (grass mile)
• 3:15 (1200m) – 4:48 (grass mile)
• 2:05 (800m) – 4: 53 (grass mile)
• 60 seconds (400m) – 4:45 (grass mile)
|• Track intervals: ~ 5K race pace progressing down to mile race pace.
• Grass tempos: ~ half marathon race pace
Uphill at 2% grade
• 20 min assertive warmup,
• 15 min power run
• 10 minutes tempo
|• Started at 6:00/mile (3:40/km)
• Progressed to 5:20/mile (3:20/km)
• Finished at 5:00/mile (3:00/km)
|• Start at marathon race pace plus 20%,
• Progress to marathon race pace plus 8%
• Finish just over marathon race pace
|Fast Finish Long Run
20 miles with miles 14-18 at marathon pace.
|• 13 miles + 2 cool down miles: 6:00/mile (3:40/km)
• Mile 14–18: 4:53, 4:55, 4:57, 4:49
|• Long run: marathon race pace plus 20–25%,
• Fast finish: goal marathon race pace, progressing to slightly faster than marathon pace.