22 Week Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners

Fun Runners make their way through Canary Wharf during the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 on April 13, 2014 in London, England.
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

This simple marathon training schedule (see below) gives beginner runners two more weeks than the 20-week marathon program for beginners. It's perfect for first-time marathoners who are nervous about the race and want plenty of time to get ready.

To start this schedule, you should have been running for at least six months and be able to run at least 3 miles.

If you haven't had a recent physical, get cleared by your doctor before you start marathon training. And make sure you have thought a lot about the commitment required and considered these questions about marathon training.

Getting Started With Marathon Training

Below are descriptions of what to expect and what to do each during your training.

Cross-training (CT): Cross-training can be walking, biking, swimming, or any other activity (other than running) that you enjoy. Marathoners-in-training benefit from strength-training, so try to work at least one or two strength-training sessions into your weekly training. When your schedule calls for cross-training, do your activity at a moderate level for 30 to 45 minutes.

Rest days: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't assume you'll get fitter even faster by running on rest days. It's important that you build your mileage gradually so you avoid overuse injuries and don't get burned out from running all the time.

Take a complete day off or do some easy cross-training (CT).

Run days: Run your designated mileage at an easy, conversational pace. Use your breathing as your guide. You should be able to breathe easily. If you feel your breathing getting out of control, slow the pace. Use a run/walk strategy if you need to take walk breaks.

You can switch a run to a different day to accommodate your schedule. You'll most likely want to do your long runs on Saturday or Sunday when you'll have more time.

When you have to do a marathon pace (MP) run, run the number of miles at your anticipated marathon pace. Run the remaining mileage at your regular easy run pace.

22-Week Marathon Training Schedule

1Rest3 miRest3 miRest3 mi2 mi
2Rest3 miCross training (CT) or Rest3 miRest4 mi3 mi
3Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest5 mi3 mi
4Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest6 mi3 mi
5Rest4 miCT4 miRest7 mi3 mi
6Rest5 miCT4 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi
7Rest5 miCT4 miRest9 mi3 mi
8Rest5 miCT4 miCT or Rest10 mi3 mi
9Rest5 mi3 mi4 miRest6 mi4 mi
10Rest5 miCT4 miRest12 mi4 mi
11Rest5 miCT4 miCT or rest13 mi4 mi
12Rest5 miCT5 mi (1 mile @ estimated marathon pace)Rest14 mi4 mi
13Rest5 miCT5 mi (2 miles @ estimated marathon pace)CT or Rest10 mi5 mi
14Rest6 miCT5 mi (2 miles @ estimated marathon pace)CT or Rest16 mi4 mi
15Rest6 miCT5 mi (3 miles @ estimated marathon pace)CT or Rest10 mi4 mi
16Rest5 miCT5 mi (3 miles @ estimated marathon pace)CT or Rest18 mi4 mi
17Rest5 miCT5 mi (3 miles @ estimated marathon pace)CT or Rest10 mi5 mi
18Rest6 miCT6 mi (4 miles @ estimated marathon pace)Rest20 mi4 mi
19Rest5 miCT5 miCT or Rest14 mi4 mi
20Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest12 mi3 mi
21Rest4 miCT3 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi
22Rest2 mi30 minutesRest Day20 minutesRace Day!Rest Day!
Was this page helpful?