Updated date:

24 Week Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist as well as being a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Before you start a marathon training program make sure you have the right running shoes. These Saucony Jazz running shoes could provide support for longer runs but always try before you buy

Before you start a marathon training program make sure you have the right running shoes. These Saucony Jazz running shoes could provide support for longer runs but always try before you buy

A Training Program for Marathon Novices

To many people, the marathon is the ultimate in endurance events. 26.2 miles (42 km) of running with added suffering leading to the elation of finishing.

The realistic goal of a first-time marathoner should be to finish their race as the body is not often subjected to the physical effects of running and training for a marathon. A marathon will push your endurance capabilities to their limit and requires a large amount of time to be dedicated to the needs of training for a marathon.

Good luck in your marathon preparation!

How Do You Know if You Can Run a Marathon?

Due to the intensive endurance nature of a marathon event its recommended to ask yourself a few questions before starting to train for a marathon.

  • Am I a generally healthy individual with no ailments or health problems which could prevent me from completing a marathon?

It is vital to your long term health that you are healthy prior to training for and completing a marathon event. If you are in any doubt it's best to get a thorough check over by your doctor/ physician prior to starting a marathon training program.

  • Have I run before or do I have a background in another endurance exercise?

It's not recommended for non-runners or those with no running background to simply launch themselves head-first into a marathon training schedule. Already having some form of endurance sports background prior to starting an intensive running training program. The beginners marathon running programs further down the page take this into account for you to be able to tailor your program to your running experience.

  • How many miles do you average in training per week?

Ideally a runner should be averaging 10-15 miles of running per week prior to starting a marathon training program. A newcomer to running who shows training restraint can build this mileage up over a period of a couple of months and be able to run a marathon with the right preparation over a 24 week beginners marathon training program. If you already run 10-15 miles per week it's possible to build up to distance with a 16 week marathon training program.

  • Do you have the available time to train for a marathon?

Marathon training can be very demanding on your time. Particularly when you are performing long runs to prepare your body for the extreme endurance of the event.

It takes a lot of training to run a marathon.

It takes a lot of training to run a marathon.

The Novice Runners 24 Week Marathon Running Schedule

If you have very little background in running it's recommended to take at least 24 weeks to prepare for your first marathon. This will allow you time to develop your running steadily in preparation for your event.

This schedule works on the basis of building up to 4 running workouts a week with the below suggestions. You can change the days around depending on your own personal circumstances although make sure you get a days rest between any workouts (except easy recovery runs after your long days)

Marathon Training- Beginners daily schedule from weeks 1-8

To get you used to running this training program conscentrates on short runs twice a week initially to get your body used to running and allowing you to progress to longer distances later in the program. If you haven't run regularly before it is likely that your leg muscles with take a hammering and you will learn exactly where each muscle is in your leg as they get sore

2 runs per week- Wednesday and Saturday

Marathon Training- Beginners daily schedule from week 9

Midweek runs- Tuesdays and Thursdays

Weekend long run- Saturday

Recovery run- Sundays

The 24 Week Beginners Marathon Training Schedule

WeekMonTuesWedsThursFriSatSunTotal

1

Day Off

2 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

2 miles

Day Off

4 miles

2

Day Off

2 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

2 miles

Day Off

4 miles

3

Day Off

2.5 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

2 miles

Day Off

4.5 miles

4

Day Off

2.5 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

2.5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

5

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

2,5 miles

Day Off

5.5 miles

6

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

6 miles

7

Day Off

3.5 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

6.5 miles

8

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

Day Off

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

6 miles

9

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

10 miles

10

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

6 miles

Day Off

11 miles

11

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

8 miles

Day Off

15 miles

12

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

9 miles

Day Off

17 miles

13

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

7 miles

Day Off

15 miles

14

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

9 miles

Day Off

17 miles

15

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

11 miles

Day Off

19 miles

16

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

4 miles

Day Off

13 miles

Easy 2 miles

23 miles

17

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

10 miles

Day Off

20 miles

18

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

12 miles

Easy 2 miles

24 miles

19

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

14 miles

Easy 2 miles

26 miles

20

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

16 miles

Easy 2 miles

28 miles

21

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

14 miles

Easy 2 miles

26 miles

22

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

17 miles

Easy 2 miles

29 miles

23

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

5 miles

Day Off

20 miles

Easy 2 miles

32 miles

24

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

3 miles

Day Off

Race Weekend

Race Weekend

6 miles + Race

The 16 Week Beginners Marathon Running Program

For those who already have a regular running background it is possible to prepare for your first marathon in a 16 week marathon training program.

For those who have a running background the 24-week marathon training program featured above can be entered from week 9.

A lightweight and fast paced running shoe like these Saucony Fasttwitch may not suit a beginner due to a lack of cushioning

A lightweight and fast paced running shoe like these Saucony Fasttwitch may not suit a beginner due to a lack of cushioning

Comments

Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on July 16, 2012:

Great to hear London, I feel that 16 weeks is very short to go from nothing to an extreme distance. Good luck with your training in future. CF

LondonhereIcome on July 15, 2012:

Thanks for the info, I'm planning on doing a marathon next year so looks like if I start this in the new year I could do a summer marathon.

Everyone else seems to go for 16 weeks to prepare which I think would be a little too much for me so soon.

Related Articles