Good Form Will Carry You Through®

Full Marathon Training Programs

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The key to a successful marathon performance for any runner is to find the appropriate training schedule.  In order to select the proper training schedule, follow these basic rules:

  • Train the athlete you are today – not the athlete you were months or years ago, nor the athlete you will be on race day.
  • Do your own training.  For best performance, follow the training schedule which fits your fitness level as to mileage and pace, not that of a friend.
  • Endurance before speed – build your base mileage using good running form and speed will improve.
  • Quality over Quantity – the quality of the workouts is more important than the number of miles run, particularly when it comes to signs of ‘over-training’.

To help you find the appropriate program, I have prepared 6 training schedules to help you reach the finish line of your marathon.  Three are for those who will run continuously throughout training runs and races; three are for those who train and race and follow a run-walk strategy. Here’s a brief description to assist selecting the correct program for your marathon:

Schedule #1 – Continuous RunThis training schedule is designed for runners who have not previously run a marathon, or are new to endurance running but have been running on a regular basis (at least 3 – 4 days a week) for at least the previous 6 months. Recommended Requirements: your average weekly mileage has been at least 15 – 20 miles per week and you are able to run at least 7 miles continuously and comfortably. The goal for those following this schedule is to finish the race running throughout and finish comfortably using a Continuous Run strategy.   

Schedule #2 – Intermediate Run This training schedule is designed for runners who have been running regularly (3 – 4 days a week) for at least six months.  It will help experienced runners improve performance. Recommended Requirements: you have run at least two half marathons or one marathon in the last two years; your average weekly mileage has been at least 20 – 25 miles per week; and you are able to run at least 8 miles continuously and comfortably. The goal for this schedule is to complete a marathon and improve finish time using a Continuous Run strategy.   

Schedule #3 – Advanced Run This training schedule is designed for runners who are experienced marathon runners with a solid base and looking to improve performance in the marathon distance. Recommended Requirements: you have been running regularly (at least 4 – 5 days a week) for at least one year; your average weekly mileage has been greater than 25 miles per week; you have previously run a half marathon or longer distance race within the last 6 months; and can run 10 miles continuously and comfortably. The goal for this program is to complete a marathon and improve finish time using a Continuous Run strategy.   

Schedule #4 – Run-Walk This training schedule is designed for athletes who have not been involved in regular athletic endeavors for at least the previous 6 months.  If you are beginning an exercise program please visit your physician for an examination before starting an exercise program. Recommended Requirements: your average weekly mileage is less than 15 miles per week or if you have not run longer than 3 miles continuously and consistently. The goal of athletes following this training program is to complete a first marathon following a Run-Walk Strategy.   

Schedule #5 – Intermediate Run-WalkThis training schedule is designed for athletes who have been involved in periodic, but not consistent athletic endeavors for at least the previous six months. Recommended Requirements: your average weekly mileage is 15 – 20 miles per week and/or you are unable run longer than 4 miles continuously and consistently. The goal of those athletes following either of these training programs is to complete a marathon using a Run-Walk Strategy.   

Schedule #6 – Advanced Run-WalkThis training schedule is designed for runners who have been running or run-walking regularly (3 – 4 days a week) for at least six months and who wish to follow a Run-Walk Training Schedule.  It will help experienced runners and run-walkers improve performance. Recommended Requirements: you have run at least two half marathons or one marathon in the last 2 years, your average weekly mileage has been at least 20 – 25 miles per week and you are able to run at least 8 miles continuously and comfortably before training begins. The goal for this program is to complete a marathon and improve finish time using a Run-Walk strategy.

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