Beginners Marathon Training Schedule

There’s no getting away from the fact that to finish a marathon, you need to get many training miles under your belt. However most beginner marathon runners don’t realize there is more than one way to go about your training.


Your first step should be to download my free Guide to Marathon Training. I’ve spent hundreds of hours packing this guide with exactly what you need to know about starting out with your marathon. Just add you email below and I’ll send it to you right away.


Here’s What NOT to Do:

  • Jump headlong into your training program letting your enthusiasm carry you along.
  • Get on the road and grind out as many miles as your new running legs can manage.
  • Calculate that you need to run X number of miles per week in Y number of sessions. Each session should therefore be X divided by Y in length.
  • Get an experienced training partner and run together, constantly struggling to keep pace.
  • Equate “Rest” with “Lazy” and train 7 times per week.

I’ve seen people approach their first marathon this way. The end result is almost always injury. There’s a popular phrase: “Train Smart” and it perfectly applies to your beginner marathon training schedule.

The Thinking (Wo)mans Training Schedule

Slow and Steady. First and foremost, you need to build your weekly mileage slowly. Apply the 10% rule and aim to build both your weekly mileage and the length of your longest weekly run by no more than 10% in any week.

Easy/Hard, Easy/Hard. Structure your training program in a way that alternates between easy training days and more demanding training sessions.

Recovery Lets You Grow. While pounding the streets for miles helps develop your cardiovascular endurance, it is the rest and recovery between sessions that allows your body to grow stronger. Don’t make the mistake of over-training early on in your program.

Have A Plan. Training for a marathon is hard enough without having to constantly guess where you are in your training. Make sure you follow a structured training program. The provides two main benefits: (i) you’ll always know how far you have progressed and how far is to go (a great motivational tool) and (ii) it will help you avoid injury by overtraining.

Respect the Long Run. The weekly Long Run is the cornerstone around which your entire training program should be built. It is this run that will build both mental and physical strength that will carry you through your marathon.

Mix it Up. You should incorporate Cross Training sessions into your weekly training program. This is particularly beneficial during the first few weeks of your training program as it allows you to develop your cardiovascular fitness while giving your legs some much needed recovery time.

The Structure of a Standard Training Week

Here is how a standard beginners marathon training schedule week should be structured::

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: Medium training run
Wednesday: Cross-training or short training run
Thursday: Short training run with technique drills
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Cross-training (earlier in the training program) or short training run
Sunday: Weekly Long Run

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