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Marathon Training Schedule For Beginners

Four Month Training Marathon Schedule

You're ready. You did it. You finally signed up for your first marathon. So, now what? It can seem very overwhelming, running 26.2 miles, so it's important to stick to a training schedule that slowly builds up your distance and endurance.

This four-month training schedule will gradually increase your mileage until the big marathon day. Each week includes running, but also cross-training sessions (XT) where you get to choose the workout of your choice such as cycling, a group cardio class like Zumba, yoga, weight training, or hiking.

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Friday Sat Sun Total Miles Run
1 XT: 0-30 min 3-4 miles 2-3 miles 3-4 miles Rest 4-5 miles 2-3 miles 14-19 miles
2 XT: 0-30 min 3-4 miles 2-3 miles 3-4 miles Rest 5-6 miles 2-3 miles 15-20 miles
3 XT: 0-30 min 4-5 miles 2-3 miles 3-4 miles Rest 6-7 miles 2-3 miles 17-22 miles
4 XT: 0-45 min 4-5 miles 3-4 miles 4-5 miles Rest 7-8 miles 2-3 miles 20-25 miles
5 XT: 0-45 min 5-6 miles 3-4 miles 4-5 miles Rest 8-9 miles 2-3 miles 22-27 miles
6 XT: 0-45 min 5-6 miles 3-4 miles 5-6 miles Rest 10-11 miles 2-3 miles 25-30 miles
7 XT: 0-60 min 6-7 miles 3-4 miles 5-6 miles Rest 11-12 miles 3-4 miles 28-33 miles
8 XT: 0-60 min 7-8 miles 3-4 miles 6-7 miles Rest 13-14 miles 3-4 miles 32-37 miles
9 XT: 0-60 min 7-8 miles 4-5 miles 6-7 miles Rest 10-11 miles 3-4 miles 30-35 miles
10 XT: 0-90 min 7-8 miles 4-5 miles 7-8 miles Rest 15-16 miles 2-3 miles 35-40 miles
11 XT: 0-90 min 6-7 miles 4-5 miles 6-7 miles Rest 17-18 miles 2-3 miles 35-40 miles
12 XT: 0-90 min 7-8 miles 4-5 miles 7-8 miles Rest 14-15 miles 3-4 miles 35-40 miles
13 XT: 0-90 min 7-8 miles 3-4 miles 6-7 miles Rest 20 miles 2-3 miles 38-43 miles
14 XT: 0-60 min 6-7 miles 3-4 miles 5-6 miles Rest 14-15 miles Rest 28-33 miles
15 XT: 0-45 min 5-6 miles 3-4 miles 4-5 miles Rest 10-11 miles Rest 22-27 miles
16 XT: 0-30 min 4 miles 3 miles 2 miles Rest Rest Marathon 35 miles
ann-Douglas ann-Douglas 8 years
Just got into the NY Marathon via lottery! Figures this would be the lottery that I would win! Using the guide above! Very excited/nervous!!! I just want to be injury free! Love reading all the advice!
behemoth_the_cat behemoth_the_cat 9 years
i wanna run a marathon!
njau njau 9 years
Marathon is a lot, I was just going to search for a half-marathon program on this website!
SillyGirl SillyGirl 9 years
I feel your pain syako - I haven't run longer than 3mi in a year :( I was training for a half marathon, and used to running 3 5-mi runs a week, but it apparently aggravated an old injury i didnt know i had once i reached a 9miler and I slipped a disk. I am still recuperating but almost healed. Fit - I would love it if you posted a really good century training schedule. Since i can't pound the cement on doctors orders, I am spending a lot of time on my bicycle.
Running-Bunny Running-Bunny 9 years
To add to taking things at your pace, slower if needed...I want to say that do not do MORE than is asked of you, especially if you are training, or running for fun. I did way too much while training for my second 1/2 marathon, thinking "hey I've done one, I'm going to push harder for this one"...I did too many miles a week and I think I have messed up my feet/ankles for a while. I am still running, going slower and doing less miles, and will still run a half with coaching and rehab from my physio. I just don't want anyone to get hurt!
syako syako 9 years
and good luck renees! I love running now, but if you had asked me about it 5 years ago I would have said "ha, I'm never going to be a runner" oh how things changed. :( my poor hip is hurt and all I want to do is :speedy: :rant:
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I've read that if you aren't currently running at least 15 mi a week don't even start training for a marathon. Slowly work up to that and then start a training regime. Personally I'm running my first 5K in May, i used a similar program to the Couch Potato to 5K, it was a little longer of a program though. I was the farthest thing from a runner when I started. Now I just run 3 times a week and it's good. I can't imagine running 6 like this program says, but obviously I'm not ready for that! My goal for next year will be a 10K or Half. We'll see. This year I'm just focusing on getting out there and actually Running!
runningesq runningesq 9 years
Ditto syako ! I've run three marathons and I firmly believe that people need a certain number of 'base' miles before they start a marathon training program. Couch to 5K is one thing (and is a great program!) but a non-runner should work up to regularly running, say, 20-30 mpw before starting a marathon training program.
syako syako 9 years
I just want to say something. I personally am not training for a marathon, but did start a new running program recently focusing on improving my speed. Unfortunately I pushed myself too hard on the FIRST workout and pulled my hip flexor. So my point is, don't push yourself to do things your body isn't capable of yet. You really need to take it slowly and build up gradually. I've been out for about a week and a half now and haven't run since and I'm really sad :cry: but I need to nurse the injury. So just use good judgment. If you seriously are running 5-10 miles a week, you may want to work up to week one on this training program.
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