Marathon Training Plans

There are a number of different popular training plans for marathon distance, with numerous books written about the subject. If you haven't run a marathon before, do some research pick a book or plan and stick to it. Then if you catch the bug and want to do another you may want to consider what went well and if a different plan would suit you better. There are two principal ways plans can be structured; the first has a standard weekly mileage with a single long run, the second has an at times much higher cumulative weekly mileage with a shorter or split long run. 

Free training plans

A free training plan can be a great place to start. There are lots available, but these16 week training plans are all available from the Runnersworld website for free:

  • Get around - A beginner’s programme, mixing some walking with running, over 4-5 days a week.

  • sub 5 hour marathon - to break five hours, you should eventually be capable of a sub-2:15 half marathon (10:15 per mile) and sub-60:00 10K (9:30 per mile). Right now, you should be used to running comfortably for 30-60 minutes, three or four times a week.

  • sub 4.30 marathon - you should be capable of running a sub-2:00 half-marathon and a sub-53:00 10K.

  • sub 4 hour marathon - To break 4:00, you should eventually be capable of a sub-1:50 half marathon (approx 8:20min/mile) and a sub-50:00 10K (approx 8:00min/mile).

  • sub 3.45 marathon - To break 3:45, you should eventually be capable of a sub-1:45 half-marathon (8:00 per mile) and sub-46:00 10K (7:30 per mile). Right now, you should be running at least 25 miles per week, and be able to run for 1:15 non-stop.

  • sub 3.30 marathon - You’ll need to be pretty used to running several times a week, as this plan builds up from 44 to 60 miles, training over 6-7 days.

  • sub 3.15 marathon - To break 3:15, you should eventually be capable of a sub-1:30 half-marathon (6:52 per mile) and sub-40:00 10K (6:30 per mile). Right now, you should be running at least 30-35 miles per week, over five or six sessions.

  • sub 3.00 marathon - To break 3:00, you should eventually be capable of a sub-1:25 half-marathon (6:30 per mile) and sub-38:00 10K (6:00 per mile) Right now, you should be running at least 35-40 miles per week, over six or seven sessions.

Paid Training plans

Paid for training plans can be more customised and can give more tailored pacing and speed sessions. These are available from a number of sources including: 

  • McMillan - expect to pay $30-50 dollars, they also offer a monthly run team subscription with some additional benefits 

  • Trainingpeaks - expect to pay $30-50 dollars