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Marathon Training Schedule

Check out our marathon training schedule advice and plans in order to get it right for the big day. From the right exercises to building up those miles in the right way. Check out our simple FREE guide now.


You will need to find some runs that you like in your area that suits your current fitness level. It may be 1,2,5 even 10 mile runs that you are currently doing. Aim to have as many different routes and distances, with the aim of avoiding just going out for a run around the block. By simple going out on the same run each time, you will soon get bored, and your body becomes adapted to it. Vary your routes, the way in which you run round and speed. Keep a log of your times.

When choosing routes, try and stay close to home for safety, as you could injure yourself whilst out running. Look for runs on roads that are not heavily beveled (slopping to allow water off), or if running on paved areas avoid loads of driveway slopes, as both of these will contribute to lower limb problems.

Running on dry flat grass i.e. in a park is good, as it generally has less impact on your joints. The best area for you to train whist doing speed work, is on a running track, as this is flat, smooth and accurately measured.

Aim to build up your mileage each week, i.e. for a complete beginner, if you can only run 1 mile at a time, then aim for 5 / 10 miles for the week.

Depending on how you feel, there is nothing stopping you running 1 mile in the morning, then 1 at night. Soon you will feel comfortable to take it up to 2 miles then 3.

If you feel tired, then walk for a bit, then when you are ready carry on running.

Build up your fitness level with low impact workouts like cycling or swimming, and put at least one weight training session in for the week.

With your normal running, do speed work and fart leg work on a track / football pitch.


2 laps as a warm up, nice and light then stretch

1 lap fast - make sure you time yourself and 85% effort

2 laps fast 85%

4 laps fast 85%

2 laps fast 85%

1 lap fast all out 100%

2 laps cool down then stretch

The above example is called pyramid running, and can be adapted to any distances, as you get fitter, place in either a 6 or 8 lap run then another 4 lap. Time yourself from the first to last lap, to help you judge your running speed for example 90 second laps will give you 6 minute mile pace, so you are running at 10 mph

Give yourself enough rest between each new run and aim to keep at a good pace all the way around. Look at your watch at the 200 and 400 meter marks to check your pace. If it says 40 sec's at 200 then 90 at 400, then you have started too fast, pace yourself.

As the runs get longer your speed will obviously get slower, then when they come down again, aim to go as fast as you did for the same run at the beginning of the pyramid, make notes of your times. These training sessions are hard work, and should only be done about once every 10 days with normally a rest or easy day to follow.

Fartlek work is a combination of running sprinting and walking/jogging over either a given distance or set time. For example 150m running 100m sprint and 150m jog. This can be done on either a running track or out on the road using equally placed markers such as lampposts.

The idea is to increase your heart rate for anaerobic improvements, and again increase speed and the body's ability to cope with it. Like the above this is a hard workout and should only be done once every 10 / 14 days, or for a short period at the end of a normal run. Try to sustain this type of training for as long as possible, bearing in mind that you can alter the distances/time to suit your current fitness level.

Beginners, work on increasing your running distance and improving your fitness level before attempting the above. Once you can run 2/3 miles at a comfortable pace then try one of these sessions to improve your running speed.

Intermediate, try these sessions as outlined and aim to increase the distance on the sprints for each one. The sprint should be done concentrating on correct running form, pumping the arms, lifting the knees high pushing yourself forward.

Advanced, you should already be doing some form of speed work like this, and realize the benefits that it offers, if not implement it into your training with the aim of keeping the running and sprint sections for as long as possible will give good results.

Hill sprints are another excellent form of improving your fitness level, and at the same time increasing the strength of the working muscles. Lean into the hill and take smaller strides, again pumping with the arms to help you up it.

As you can tell, there are no set training distances for you to run. This is because everyday you will feel different, one day you will have a good run, the next bad. If I tell you to run 8 miles, you could push your body too hard when it needs rest. Listen to your body, train your mind, prepare well and enjoy the day.

Competing in shorter runs, such as 10k 10m or half marathon distances, will help with your preparation, and give you a good guideline into your current fitness level.

On the final page we provided you with a downloadable training schedule to help you keep track on how you are doing :

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