Beginner Marathon Training Schedule

Train for Your First Marathon

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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 about 4–8 weeks of easy running under your belt. You should also be in good health and free from injury. Training for a marathon is a huge endeavor. 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 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 30–45 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.

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. If you'd like to track your running times along the way, try out our pace calculator.

Beginners' Marathon Training Schedule

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Rest 3 mi CT 3 mi Rest 4 mi 3 mi EZ
2 Rest 3 miles Rest 3 mi CT or Rest 5 mi 3 mi EZ
3 Rest 3 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 6 mi 3 mi EZ
4 Rest 3 mi Rest 4 mi CT or Rest 4 mi 3 mi EZ
5 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 6 mi 3 mi EZ
6 Rest 4 mil CT 4 mi CT or Rest 8 mi 3 mi EZ
7 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 10 mi 3 mi EZ
8 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 8 mi 3 mi EZ
9 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 12 mi Rest
10 4 mi EZ 4 mi Rest 4 mi CT or Rest 10 mi 3 mi EZ
11 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 14 mi 3 mi EZ
12 Rest 5 mi CT 5 mi CT or Rest 10 mi 3 mi EZ
13 Rest 4 mi CT 5 mi CT or Rest 16 mi 3 mi EZ
14 Rest 4 mi CT 5 mi CT or Rest 12 mi 3 mi EZ
15 Rest 4 mi CT 5 mi CT or Rest 18 mi Rest
16 3 mi EZ 5 mi Rest 6 mi CT or Rest 12 mi 3 mi EZ
17 Rest 4 mi CT 6 mi CT or Rest 20 mi 3 mi EZ
18 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi CT or Rest 12 mi 3 mi EZ
19 Rest 3 mi 20 minutes 3 mi CT or Rest 8 mi 3 mi EZ
20 Rest 2 mi 20 minutes Rest Day 20 minutes Race Day! Rest Day!
3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Özsu İ, Gurol B, Kurt C. Comparison of the effect of passive and active recovery, and self-myofascial release exercises on lactate removal and total quality of recoveryJournal of Education and Training Studies. 2018;6(9a):33-42. doi:10.11114/jets.v6i9a.3511

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.