Once a runner finishes their first 5k, then 10k and then maybe a half-marathon, 26.2 miles has become the running goal to shoot for. The marathon is not a distance to be taken lightly and with the right training can be an incredible experience whether it’s your first or fiftieth.
Select one of the marathon training plans below from some of the best coaches in the world. All plans can be imported directly into your TrainingPeaks workout calendar and track your progress as race day approaches.
PLUS: Hal Higdon's Personal Best Training Program: This 30-week Personal Best Marathon Training Program is designed for experienced runners, those who have run two or three or more marathons and who would like to improve their times, to achieve Peak Performance, to set a Personal Record (PR), perhaps to score a Boston Marathon qualifying time (BQ). It combines my 12-week Intermediate Spring Training Program with my popular 18-week Intermediate 1 Marathon Training Program. If you are an experienced runner, you could just as easily access each of those programs and move from one to the other at the end of 12 weeks. But I've done the work for you--and at a lower price for both separate. Each day, I will send you an email telling you what to run and offering a training tip. For more information and directions, visit my website: halhigdon.com.
Thank you for visiting the marathon training plan. This plan is designed by Dr. Rick Kattouf II and Cameron Dorn. This plan is for the individual that has between 4 hours and 7.5 hours to train. The plan includes speed work, tempo, hills and many other fun and challenging workouts to have you performing at your best. The plan is based entirely off heart rate and will take your training to the next level. We at TeamKattouf hope you enjoy the journey in training for your marathon of choice! Dream Big, TeamKattouf
The Cutting-Edge Runner MarathonTraining Plan, Level 1, is recommended for runners who want to complete a successful marathon race in 16 to 20 weeks and whose current fitness level allows them to run about 4 times per week, up to 40 minutes per run.
The first 4 weeks of the plan are optional, making it adjustable from 16 to 20 weeks. If you choose to do fewer than 20 weeks of the plan, it is hoped that your recent training has been similar to the first 1-4 weeks of this plan.
The workout schedule includes 4 runs per week, plus 2 optional strength workouts per week. It begins with a weekly total of 1 hour and 45 minutes of running and builds up to 5 hours and 2 minutes.
All of the running workouts are based on the Cutting-Edge Runner Pace Zone Index (PZI), which allows you to do every step of every workout at precisely the right effort level for you. The best way to take advantage of this great tool is by downloading the training plan onto a Garmin Forerunner 301, but you can also use the PZI in a more approximate way without this device.
Key workouts in this plan include the following:
Foundation Runs: Steady runs of 0:20 to 0:55 done mainly at Moderate Aerobic pace (Pace Zone 3)
Foundation Runs + Strides: Foundation Runs followed by 4-6 30-second bursts at Speed pace (Pace Zone 10)
Long Runs: Steady runs of 1:00 to 3:00 done mainly at Moderate Aerobic pace
Tempo Runs: Runs featuring a sustained segment of Threshold pace running sandwiched between a warm-up and cool-down
A 10K tune-up race is scheduled at the end of week 12 and a half-marathon at the end of week 16. If you can't find suitable races to do these days, you may run a 10K time trial and a half-marathon time trial instead.
Weeks 4, 8, 12 and 16 of the plan are recovery weeks. Training is slightly reduced in these weeks to afford an opportunity to absorb recent training and prepare for more challenging training to follow. Weeks 19 and 20 (race week) are taper weeks, meaning your training tapers down during this period to ensure you’re rested and ready to perform on race day.
If you’re ready to run your first marathon, this plan is for you. It is geared for those who have run for at least a year, and have been running an average of 20 miles per week for the last three months. Each week features four days of short runs, a long run, and two days of rest. The plan also includes Yasso 800s to help ease you into speedwork, and marathon-pace runs to help you get used to running at the pace you'd like to target in the race. The mileage starts with 25 miles per week and peaks at 42 miles per week. Each day, along with your workouts, you’ll also get tips on training, nutrition, and injury prevention from the Runner’s World experts.
This detailed 12-week training plan was created by TrainingBible Coaching Head Coach Joe Friel for the first-time marathoner who is fairly new to running. This plan is intended for the runner whose only goal is to finish the race smiling. If you are an experienced runner looking to do your first marathon you may consider one of my other marathon plans based on your goal finish time.
Before starting this plan you should have been running for at least 6 months, have completed at least one race of 5k or 10k distance, be free of injuries, have been running at least 3 times a week recently, and have completed a long run of at least 1 hour recently.
The plan includes 4 weekly runs in most weeks with 3 in recovery weeks every third week. One or two bike workouts are scheduled weekly to help avoid injury and to speed recovery while maintaining aerobic fitness. Long runs are schedulled for the weekends and build from 75 minutes in week #1 to 3 hours in week #9. All run workouts call for alternating running and walking just as you will do in the race. With this very successful strategy you will avoid training injuries while learning to finish all long runs - and the race - strongly. Your fitness and confidence will soar!
A heart rate monitor or pacing device is not required for this training plan but may prove helpful.
As a Training Peaks subscriber, if you have training questions, you may post them on the Training Peaks Athlete Forum and they will be answered by a TrainingBible coach. On purchasing the plan you will receive an email within a few days giving you more detailed information on assistance should you have training problems along the way. You may opt to jhave the workouts emailed to you in advance daily, or you can access them on your password-protected free account at TrainingPeaks.com.
You should start this plan 12 weeks prior to your marathon. It will guide you day by day to your goal. All you need to do is follow the daily workout schedule.
All the best for your training and racing! --Joe Friel