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.

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. If you're unsure of your pace, try out calculator.

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).

22-Week Marathon Training Schedule

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Rest 3 mi Rest 3 mi Rest 3 mi 2 mi
2 Rest 3 mi Cross training (CT) or Rest 3 mi Rest 4 mi 3 mi
3 Rest 3 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 5 mi 3 mi
4 Rest 3 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 6 mi 3 mi
5 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi Rest 7 mi 3 mi
6 Rest 5 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 8 mi 3 mi
7 Rest 5 mi CT 4 mi Rest 9 mi 3 mi
8 Rest 5 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 10 mi 3 mi
9 Rest 5 mi 3 mi 4 mi Rest 6 mi 4 mi
10 Rest 5 mi CT 4 mi Rest 12 mi 4 mi
11 Rest 5 mi CT 4 mi CT or rest 13 mi 4 mi
12 Rest 5 mi CT 5 mi (1 mile @ estimated marathon pace) Rest 14 mi 4 mi
13 Rest 5 mi CT 5 mi (2 miles @ estimated marathon pace) CT or Rest 10 mi 5 mi
14 Rest 6 mi CT 5 mi (2 miles @ estimated marathon pace) CT or Rest 16 mi 4 mi
15 Rest 6 mi CT 5 mi (3 miles @ estimated marathon pace) CT or Rest 10 mi 4 mi
16 Rest 5 mi CT 5 mi (3 miles @ estimated marathon pace) CT or Rest 18 mi 4 mi
17 Rest 5 mi CT 5 mi (3 miles @ estimated marathon pace) CT or Rest 10 mi 5 mi
18 Rest 6 mi CT 6 mi (4 miles @ estimated marathon pace) Rest 20 mi 4 mi
19 Rest 5 mi CT 5 mi CT or Rest 14 mi 4 mi
20 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 12 mi 3 mi
21 Rest 4 mi CT 3 mi CT or Rest 8 mi 3 mi
22 Rest 2 mi 30 minutes Rest Day 20 minutes Race Day! Rest Day!
Was this page helpful?