Beginner Marathon Training Schedule

Train for Your First Marathon

Smiling female marathon runner ready, preparing smart watch at starting line on urban street

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Congratulations on your decision to train for your first marathon! This training schedule (see table below) is perfect for a beginner runner and a first-time marathoner whose goal is to finish the 26.2-mile race. To start this beginner marathon training schedule, you should have been running for at least six months and should have a base mileage of 12-15 miles per week.

Training for a marathon is a huge endeavor, so it's good to think carefully about what's involved with the training

If the schedule below seems too easy for you, try this advanced beginner marathon schedule or check out even more marathon training schedules for other options.

If you haven't already had a physical, visit your doctor for medical clearance to train for a marathon.

Getting Started With the Training Schedule

Here's what to expect each week during your marathon training:

Mondays: Most Mondays are rest days. Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days.

Tuesdays and Thursdays: After your warm up, run at a moderate pace (slightly faster than your long run pace) for the designated mileage. Cool down and stretch after your run.

Wednesdays and Fridays: Do a cross-training (CT) activity (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer, etc.) at easy-to-moderate effort for 30 to 45 minutes.

It's also beneficial to do overall body strength training at least once a week. If you're feeling very sluggish or sore on Friday, take a rest day. It's important that you're feeling strong for your Saturday long run.

Saturdays: This is the day for your long slow distance run. Run the designated mileage at an easy, conversational pace.

Use your breathing as your guide. You should be able to breathe easily and talk in complete sentences comfortably during your long runs.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your short run should be at a very easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles.

Note: You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. Just make sure you don't do two really intense or long workouts two days in a row.

Beginners' Marathon Training Schedule

1Rest3 miCT3 miRest4 mi3 mi EZ
2Rest3 milesRest3 miCT or Rest5 mi3 mi EZ
3Rest3 miCT4 miCT or Rest6 mi3 mi EZ
4Rest3 miRest4 miCT or Rest4 mi3 mi EZ
5Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest6 mi3 mi EZ
6Rest4 milCT4 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi EZ
7Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest10 mi3 mi EZ
8Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi EZ
9Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest12 miRest
104 mi EZ4 miRest4 miCT or Rest10 mi3 mi EZ
11Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest14 mi3 mi EZ
12Rest5 miCT5 miCT or Rest10 mi3 mi EZ
13Rest4 miCT5 miCT or Rest16 mi3 mi EZ
14Rest4 miCT5 miCT or Rest12 mi3 mi EZ
15Rest4 miCT5 miCT or Rest18 miRest
163 mi EZ5 miRest6 miCT or Rest12 mi3 mi EZ
17Rest4 miCT6 miCT or Rest20 mi3 mi EZ
18Rest4 miCT4 miCT or Rest12 mi3 mi EZ
19Rest3 mi20 minutes3 miCT or Rest8 mi3 mi EZ
20Rest2 mi20 minutesRest Day20 minutesRace Day!Rest Day!
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