Beginner Marathon Training Schedule

beginner marathon schedule

This 20-week marathon training program is designed to help you run/walk to the finish line of your marathon (26.2 miles). To start this plan, you should have been run/walking for at least six months and should have a base mileage of about 12 to 15 miles per week.

This beginner training schedule is a run/walk program, so your workout instructions will displayed in run/walk intervals. The first number displayed will be the amount of minutes to run and the second number is the amount to walk. So, for example, 3/1 means run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. If 3/1 intervals start to get too easy during your training, you can shoot for 4/1 or 5/1 intervals.

If you can already run 3 miles continuously, you can ignore the run/walk instructions and run for the indicated distances.

You should start each run with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up walk. Finish up with a 5 to 10 minute cool-down walk. Your run intervals should be done at an easy, conversational pace. You should finish your runs with overall stretching.

You don’t have to do your runs on specific days; however, make sure you don’t run every day. You want to mix in some rest days and cross-training (CT). Cross-training can be walking, biking, swimming, or any activity (other than running) that you enjoy. You’ll most likely want to do your long runs on Saturday or Sunday, when you’ll have more time.

Week 1:
Day 1: 2 miles – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 30 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 4 miles (long run) – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2 miles (recovery walk)

Week 2:
Day 1: 3 miles – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 3 miles – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 3: Cross-training or rest
Day 4:
Day 5:
Day 6: 4 miles (long run) – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 3:
Day 1: 3 miles – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 30 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 5 miles (long run) – 2/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2 miles (recovery walk)

Week 4:
Day 1: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 30 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 6 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2 miles (recovery walk)

Week 5:
Day 1: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 30 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 7 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles (recovery walk)

Week 6:
Day 1: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 30 minutes CT
Day 3: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 8 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles (recovery walk)

Week 7:
Day 1: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 40 minutes CT
Day 3: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 9 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles EZ (recovery walk)

Week 8:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 40 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4:
30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 10 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles EZ (recovery walk)

Week 9:
Day 1: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 40 minutes CT
Day 3: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 12 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 mi EZ (recovery walk)

Week 10:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6:
8 mi (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 mi EZ (recovery walk)

Week 11:
Day 1: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 14 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 12:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 10 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles (recovery walk)

Week 13:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 15 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles (recovery walk)

Week 14:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 10 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles (recovery walk)

Week 15:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 4 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 16 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
3 miles (recovery walk)

Week 16:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 12 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 17:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 18 to 20 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 18:
Day 1: 4 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 45 minutes CT
Day 3: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 4: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 12 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 19:
Day 1: 45 minutes CT
Day 2: 3 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 3: 30 minutes CT or Rest
Day 4:
2 miles- 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 6 miles (long run) – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 7:
2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 20:
Day 1: 3 miles – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 2: 30 minutes – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: 20 minutes – 3/1 run/walk intervals
Day 5: Rest
Day 6 (day before race):
Walk 20 minutes
Day 7:
RACE!

More on Marathon Training:

Top 10 Marathon Fears – And How to Get Over Them

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