Athletics Weekly | Marathon training plan: Beginner - Athletics Weekly
Marathon training plan: Beginner

Marathon training plan: Beginner

If you’re training for your first marathon as a bit of a beginner to the longer distance running scene here’s a 20-week plan which might help you on your way


» Non-club member, runs or walks regular parkrun events/walks and occasional local 10km charity events
» Trains four times per week
» Been running or walking for one year
» Timed runs not an issue – runs/walks for enjoyment and achievement


» To be able to complete marathon distance without undue stress and injury
» Aim is to finish the distance by either running or walking sensibly and/or run the whole distance
» Training with a group of three other similar ability and non-competitive runners/walkers
» Health benefits and weight maintenance are two of the main reasons for running/walking


» All runs/walks are based on ‘time on your feet’ and there is no pressure towards any set pace
» Speedier sessions are a waste of time – your target is to complete the 26.2 miles in the best possible shape
» In every session it is recommended to run/walk until you can run further without slowing down to walking pace
» Make sure your training partners are chatty – run/walks seem to pass by much more quickly with welcome distractions
» Your eventual target is to complete 6 miles in an hour and then keep going for a further 20 miles


» Get a medical MOT check-up before commencing this programme
» Set goals and stick to them
» Make sure you wear the right footwear for you (get professional help)
» Aches and pains will be encountered – make sure you differentiate between these and a potential injury
» If too tired, don’t be afraid to miss a training day or two
» Try some cross-training at a gym (elliptical machine) if you feel too achy for a few days
» Run/walk varied routes and try some softer surfaces on some runs/walks
» Use your weekends wisely – this is usually when people have more free time so you might find it easier to do your longer runs at weekends
» Keep focussed and cut down on alcohol and eat healthily – you will burn many more calories

130min run/walkRest30min run/walkRest35min run/walkRest35min run/walk
240min run/walkRest35min run/walkRest35min run/walkRest35min run/walk
340min run/walkRest35min run/walkRest35min run/walkRest40min run/walk
450min run/walkRest40min run/walkRest45min run/walkRest55min run/walk
51hr run/walkRest45min run/walkRest50min run/walkRest60min run/walk
61hr 10min run/walkRest50min run/walkRest60min run/walkRest65min run/walk
71hr 20min run/walkRest60min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest60min run/walk
81hr 30min run/walkRest60min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest60min run/walk
91hr 40min run/walkRest60min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest60min run/walk
101hr 50min run/walkRest60min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
112hr run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
122hr 10min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
132hr 20min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
142hr 30min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
152hr 40min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
162hr 50min run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
173hr run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
183hr run/walkRest80min run/walkRest90min run/walkRest80min run/walk
191hr run/walkRest40min run/walk30min run/walkRestRestRest
20RACE DAY!RestRestRestRestRestRest
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