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Talk to your new running coach today! Contact Randy Ashley

Marathon, Road Race, Track and Cross Country Training

Coach Randy Ashley

If you want to train smarter and healthier to set new personal records, my individualized training program will help put you on a path to better results. 

Over the past year, I've had an RA Running athlete compete in the Olympic Marathon qualifiers in Los Angeles. I have had 10 runners compete in the Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Houston and New York City Marathons. Also, in the last 2 high school graduating classes, I have 10 student-athletes move on to compete at the collegiate level.

As a competitive runner, I raced in the US Olympic Trials, US Marathon Championships, 15 US Road or XC Championships, Penn Relays, and was Georgia's state mile and two mile champion in high school.

It is my pleasure, passion and purpose to work with runners who are excited about training the right way to reach their goals.

RA Running will help you...

  • Qualify for the Boston Marathon
  • Run faster at any distance
  • Race faster in high school XC and track
  • Run a Half, Full, or Ultra Marathon
  • Train healthier

Learn More About RA Running >



Building A Training Plan

Keys to a Successful Training Plan

  • Make Training Specific- training to be tailored towards your specific goal race or races
  • Make Training Efficient- training should be a weekly blend of a long run, anaerobic threshold running, shorter interval work, and runs at easy aerobic pace.
  • The right combination of Specific and Efficient training will therefore allow you to reach your fullest potential, making the training Effective.
  • Start With The End in Mind

Training Run Terms and Intensities

  • Low Intensity Aerobic- Running at easy pace, long or short distance runs where pace is easy enough that you can talk during the run. Runs here last generally from 25:00 to 2 hours. Great for recovery and early aerobic buildup.
  • Medium Intensity Aerobic- pace of runs is slightly faster than the LIA running. Cardiovascular is still not under stress at this pace. An LIA run can turn into an MIA run because of duration. “Bread and butter” training.
  • Sub-Anaerobic Threshold- These runs are at around 80-85% of max heart rate. Close to marathon pace running. Extremely useful and safe to build strength from 5k to marathon.
  • Anaerobic Threshold- This pace is at or close to what a well trained athlete can run for 50-60 minutes. For marathon training a workout may look as follows: 2 miles warmup, 2 x 2 miles @ anaerobic threshold pace/3-4:00 jog between, 2 miles cool down
  • Interval Work- repeated, brief bouts of varying intensities w/ short rest intervals. Repeats are generally 200 meters to 2000 meters.  Rest periods range from 30-90 seconds. Intensity of these sessions will vary depending on the length of the goal race.

Training Cycles

Microcycle- is a short period of training, usually 1 week in duration. Usually consists of 3 race specific training units per microcycle.

Mesocycle- consists of training cycle from 4-12 weeks. This phase is specific to the goal race, in a block of time, to work on physiological, biomechanic, and psychological adaptations.

Macrocycle- generally consists of 3-4 mesocycles. Ideally incorporates 2 race peaks in a 52 week period.

Examples of training weeks during the Mesocycle


mon- 5 miles easy aerobic running

tue-  2 miles warmup, 5 x 100 meter stride, 1 x 1 mile at 5k race pace/3:00 jogging recovery, 8 x 400 meters at 3-4 seconds faster than 5k race pace/200 jog recovery, 1-2 miles cool down

wed- off

thu- 5-7 miles easy aerobic running

fri- 2 miles warmup, 5 x 100 meter stride, 3-4 x 2k @ 10k race pace/2:00 jog between, 2 miles cool down

sat- off

sun- 12 miles easy aerobic long run

Half Marathon

mon- 6 miles easy aerobic

tue- 2 miles easy warmup, 6 x 100 meter strides, 16 x 400 @ 5k race pace/200 jog between, 2 miles cool down

wed- off

thu- 7-8 miles easy aerobic running

fri- 2 miles warmup, 4 miles tempo at 10 seconds slower than goal 1/2m pace, 1 mile jog, 2 miles @ 10 seconds under goal 1/2m pace, 1 mile cool down

sat- 5 miles easy aerobic

sun- 15 miles easy aerobic long run


mon- 6 miles easy aerobic

tue- 2 miles warmup, 6 x 100 meter strides, 10 x (800 @ 5k race pace/200 jog/200 @ 1 mile race pace/ 2:30 jog), 2 miles cool down

wed- off

thu- 8 miles easy aerobic

fri- 12 miles w/ 1st 2 miles easy, 10 miles @ GMP (goal marathon pace)

sat 4-5 easy

sun- 16-22 mile long run, either easy paced long run or long run w/ varied pace work

Effects on the Cardiovascular System by prolonged endurance training

1- The heart develops a massive circulatory bed throughout its muscular walls, as do the leg muscles.

2- The muscle walls of all pumping chambers of the heart become bigger and more powerful.

3- The effective volume of the chambers, especially the left ventricle, increases significantly.

4- Under all workloads, more blood can be pumped with more force and at a lower heart rate.

5- The resting pulse will therefore decrease significantly, even though maximal heart rate will be unlikely to increase.

6- The result will be an increased work capacity, and at each successive effort level, the heart rate will be lower than before.

Asheville, NC Running Races
Athlete Testimonials

Whitney Thornburg Harvard RunningCoach Ashley changed my view of running and helped my confidence level. He made me realize my running potential and set higher goals for myself.

– Whitney Thornburg
18:17 5k
Harvard Cross Country

Caroline White Marathon“The experience that I’m getting, the things I’m learning, the values that I’m applying now can be used in so many other realms. I’m just cultivating it now with my Olympic journey and serving as a Military Officer.“

– Caroline White
2:37 Marathon
US Air Foce