24 Week Marathon Training Schedule For Beginners

Updated on January 6, 2013
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 | Source

A training program for marathon novices

To many 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 it's 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. | Source

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

Week
Mon
Tues
Weds
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Total
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
24 week novice runners marathon training schedule. Preparing from no running experience.

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 | Source

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    • CyclingFitness profile image
      Author

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      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

    • profile image

      LondonhereIcome 5 years ago

      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.