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.
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.
|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|
|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|
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.