Marathon Training Schedule
Race Training Schedules,Marathon & Half-Marathon Training Advice
Marathon Training Schedule

Beginners' 18-week Marathon Training Schedule

This is designed as a guide for runners who are looking to run their first marathon.  It is meant as a ‘get you round’ schedule rather than focusing on a time. You may have run a few 10k races and maybe one or two half marathons, and are used to running or exercising between 2 and 4 times a week.

It is asking you to run a minimum of 4 days a week at the beginning. with one day of alternative exercise. Most sessions, with the exception of the progressively long run, can be achieved in around an hour to an hour and a quarter. Some people can certainly run more, but it is better to start a schedule running within your limits, and if you are coping comfortably, increase a little bit.

The schedule does not know your lif style, family and work patterns. Study carefully to get an idea of what is required each week or even each two-week block. As long as there is a gradual progression each week, and the rest days are also incorporated, it is fine to juggle the days around a little.

If you look ahead each week and know you will be struggling to fit everything in, the long run is the essential element not to leave out.

All the running is done at an easy pace, where you should be able to hold a conversation quite easily without feeling out of breath. You can run by mileage or by time.

It is not asking you to do any specific speed work or hills, but as the schedule progresses you may feel you need some variety.

Don’t forget to look at your chosen event website to find the course profile. If it includes a hill or two, there is no need to do specific hill work, but it is a good idea to incorporate a hill or two into some of your training runs.

Do check out our other articles on training & recovery and strength & cross training.

How to follow these schedules »


Improvers' 18-week Marathon Training Schedule

This is designed for runners who have possibly run one or two marathons, and want to improve, maybe with a target time in mind.

It is also suitable for a relatively experienced runner who has been running for some time, can run an hour comfortably, has completed several 10km and half marathon events, and has decided now is the time to run their first full marathon. 

It is only asking you to run 4 days a week, with one day of alternative exercise, but an extra day can be added, if you are coping with the workload. You can run by mileage or by time. Runners can get obsessed with personal stats sometimes and lose some enjoyment. As long as there is a gradual increase in the training and you are feeling the benefits, either time or distance can work.

Most of the schedule is designed to be run at an easy / steady pace, with one run a week at a slightly faster race pace. This is a run at the pace you ideally want to run your marathon in – for example if you are looking to run just under 4 hours, that is a little over 9 minute miles or 5min 40sec per km. If you are looking for sub 5 hours that is a little over 11min 30 sec miles or 7 min per km 

As with the beginners' schedule, the same guidelines for time management apply. As long as there is a gradual progression each week, and the rest days are also incorporated, it is fine to juggle the days around a little. If you look ahead each week and know you will be struggling to fit everything in, the long run is the essential element not to leave out.

Do check out our other articles on training & recovery and strength & cross training.

How to follow these schedules »


Beginners' Marathon Training Schedule

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Rest 3mile / 25-30min run 3mile / 25-30min run 3mile / 25-30min run Rest

6mile / 1 hour run

Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 2 Rest 3mile / 25-30min run 3mile / 25-30min run 3mile / 25-30min run Rest 7miles /60-70min run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 3 Rest 3mile / 30min run 4mile / 40min run 3mile / 30min run Rest 5mile / 50min run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 4 Rest 3mile / 30min run 4mile / 40min run 4mile / 40min run Rest 9mile / 90min run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 5 Rest 3mile / 30min run 5mile / 50min run 3mile / 30min run Rest 10mile / 90min+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 6 Rest 4mile / 40min run 5mile / 50min run 4mile / 40min run Rest 7mile / 65min+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 7 Rest 4mile / 40min run 6mile / 1 hour run 3mile / 30min run Rest 12mile / app 2hour run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 8 Rest 4mile / 40min run 6mile / 1 hour run 3mile / 30min run Rest Rest Half Marathon
Week 9 Rest 3mile / 30min run 7mile / 70min run 4mile / 40min run Rest 10mile / 90min+ run Rest
Week 10 Rest 4mile / 40min run 7mile / 70min run 4mile / 40min run Rest 15mile / 2hour+ run Easy walk or rest
Week 11 Rest 4mile / 40min run 8mile / 80min run 4mile / 40min run Rest 16mile / 2hour+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 12 Rest 4mile / 40min run 8mile / 80min run 5mile / 50min run Rest 12mile / 2hour+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 13 Rest 4mile / 40min run 9mile / 90min run 5mile / 50min run Rest 18mile / 3hour+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 14 Rest 5mile / 40min run 9mile / 90min run 5mile / 50min run Rest 14mile / 2hour+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 15 Rest 5mile / 40min run 10mile / 1hr 40min run 5mile / 50min run Rest 20mile / 3hour+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 16 Rest 5mile / 40min run 8mile / 80min run 4mile / 40min run Rest 12mile / 2hour+ run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 17 Rest 4mile / 40min run 6mile / 1 hour run 3mile / 30min run Rest 8mile / 80min run Easy walk or alternative exercise
Week 18 Rest 3mile / 30min run 4mile / 70min run 2mile / 50min run Rest Rest Race Day
Week 19 Rest or short walk Rest or short walk Rest or short walk Rest or short walk Rest or short walk Rest or 2-3mile run Rest or 2-3mile run

Download PDF »


Improvers' Marathon Training Schedule

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Alternative exercise 3mile / 25min+ run 5mile / 40-50min run 3mile run Rest 5mile race pace 10mile easy run
Week 2 Alternative exercise 3mile / 25min+ run 5mile / 40-50min run 3mile run Rest 5mile run 11mile easy run
Week 3 Alternative exercise 3mile / 25min+ run 6mile / 50min+ run 3mile run Rest 6mile race pace 8mile easy run
Week 4 Alternative exercise 3mile / 25min+ run 6mile 50min+ run 3mile run Rest 6mile race pace 13mile run
Week 5 Alternative exercise 3mile / 25min+ run 7mile / 1hour run 3mile run Rest 7mile run 14mile run
Week 6 Alternative exercise 4mile / 40min run 7mile / 1hour run 3mile run Rest 7mile race pace 10mile run
Week 7 Alternative exercise 4mile / 40min run 8mile / 60-75 min run 4mile run  Rest 8mile race pace 16mile run
Week 8 Alternative exercise 4mile / 40min run 8mile / 60-75 min run 4mile run  Rest 8mile steady run 17mile run
Week 9 Alternative exercise 4mile / 40min run 9miles / 80-90min+ run 4mile run  Rest Rest Half Marathon
Week 10 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 9miles / 80-90min+ run 4mile run  Rest 9-10mil race pace 19mile run
Week 11 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 10miles / 90min run 5mile run  Rest 10mile run 20mile run
Week 12 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 6 miles / 50-60min run 5mile run  Rest 6mile race pace 12mile run
Week 13 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 10miles / 90 min run 5mile run  Rest 6mile race pace 20mile run
Week 14 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 6miles / 50-60min run 5mile run  Rest 6mile run 12mile run
Week 15 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 10miles / 90min+ run 5mile run  Rest 10mile race pace 20mile run
Week 16 Alternative exercise 5mile / 45min+ run 8 miles / 65-75min run 5mile run  Rest 4mile race pace 12mile run
Week 17 Alternative exercise 4mile run  6miles / 50-60min run 5mile run  Rest 4mile run  8mile run
Week 18 Alternative exercise 3mile run  4miles / 30-40min run Rest Rest 4mile run  Race Day

Download PDF »


Remember that the marathon is a totally achievable challenge, but you are pushing yourself out of your normal comfort zone. If you are feeling unwelll at any time in you marathon build up, do rest for a day or two.The same applies if you pick up a little injury. If symptoms persists, it is good to consult your doctor or a qualified physiotherapist before resuming training.

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