You Can Run a Marathon - A Marathon Training Plan for New Runners

 

By Rick Morris

 

At one time, only the most highly trained runner attempted the marathon distance. Today, with proper training, almost anyone can enjoy the great accomplishment of finishing a marathon. Even individuals with little or no running experience can finish a marathon with the proper training. Running your first marathon can seem very intimidating. That marathon stress is understandable. You are attempting a feat that few people ever think about trying. You are venturing into the unknown; that alone can cause some fear and stress. There is really no reason to worry. Finishing your first marathon will require some work and a lot of dedication, but you can do it. This marathon training program for beginning runners will get you successfully to the finish line. Before attempting a marathon training program, there are a few requirements you must meet.

 

You should get a complete medical examination to make sure you are physically prepared for rigorous marathon training. Tell your doctor what you want to do and get his or her clearance. You do not want to attempt to run a marathon if you are injured or have a medical condition that would make the training a risk to your health.

 

Do not plan a marathon until you are at least 16 years old. The bones of younger runners are still developing. The repeated impact of running long distances can cause problems with those developing bones.

 

You must commit to the required training. Do not attempt to run a marathon without the proper training. Anyone can complete a marathon, but only by completing the proper training. If you do not have the time and energy to commit to the program, it would be better to hold off until the time becomes available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Week marathon training program

 

This is a 24-week cycle that is designed to prepare a runner to finish a marathon. This program will not build speed or guarantee a specific finishing time, but will get you to the finish line. You will take frequent walking breaks during both training sessions and the actual race. These walking breaks will give your muscles a chance to recover and will decrease the discomfort that is inevitable when running the entire distance. You should be able to run or run/walk for at least 2 miles comfortably before beginning this program. If you cannot run or run/walk 2 miles, slowly build up to that level using the beginning runners program before starting this program. This will safely build you up to the 2 mile requirement.

 

The Workouts

 

This program contains rest days, easy runs and long runs. It is designed to prepare you to finish a marathon by running most of it, but taking frequent walking breaks. It is not designed to train you to run fast or finish in a specific time. This program requires minimal time commitment. Most of the workouts can be completed in less than an hour. The workouts with the greatest time commitment are the long runs. This run will build up to about 20 miles. This 20 mile run, which is the longest run you will complete, will take the average beginner between 3 and 5 hours to complete.

 

Easy Runs

 

Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running too easily. Take walking breaks as needed.Try to run as much of the workouts as you can, but when you feel you need a walking break, take it.

 

Rest

 

Rest is a very important part of any training program. Without proper rest, your muscles and connective tissues will not have an opportunity to recover and strengthen properly. On the days calling for complete rest, do no strenuous activity. On the days calling for rest or cross training, you can rest totally or do some cross training. Cross training can be any activity other than running. You could go for a walk, swim, bicycle or do nothing. It is up to you. If you are feeling fatigued or sluggish, you should rest completely.

 

Long Runs

 

Long runs are the most important workouts in your program. This is where you will build up your endurance to the level required to safely complete the marathon. The long runs in the program are a combination of running and walking. When you feel you are getting fatigued, take a short walking break and then resume running. You should run at a comfortable, easy run pace. Listen to your body on these runs and gauge the frequency and length of your walking breaks according to how you feel.

 

Week 1

 

Monday - Rest. Rest is not just a day off; it is an important and planned part of a training program. Rest allows your muscles to recover and strengthen.

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 2 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or walk/run 2 miles easy. Run at an easy pace. Run as much of these workouts as you can, but take the walking breaks whenever you feel the need.

Thursday - Rest or cross train. On these days you can either rest completely or do another activity such as bicycling, swimming, tennis or any other activity that you enjoy.

Friday - Run or run/walk 2 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 2 miles easy.

Sunday -Run 3 miles easy. This is your first long run. The long runs are planned for every Sunday, but you should adjust this to fit your schedule. Plan your long run for the day that allows you the most time to run. Remember that your long run will slowly build up to 20 miles, which will require between 3 and 5 hours to complete. Remember also that these runs are a combination of running and walking. Take walking breaks according to how you feel, but be conservative. At this level it is better to walk too much rather than not enough.

 

Week 2

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 2 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 2 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 2 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 4 miles easy. Remember to take walking breaks.

 

Week 3

 

Monday -  Rest. This program has a rest day scheduled for every Monday. Adjust this to meet your schedule. You must have a rest day scheduled after your long run. This will allow your muscles to recover and strengthen.

Tuesday -  Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Wednesday -  Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday -  Rest or cross train. Schedule this second rest day in the middle of your training week.

Friday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 5 miles easy. These long runs will be increased by one mile each week. Keep your running portions at a very easy pace. Your goal is just to finish. Speed is not a factor. Do not forget the walking breaks.

 

Week 4

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 5 miles easy. No increase in mileage this week. You will resume one-mile increases starting next week.

 

Week 5

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 6 miles easy. Add in walking breaks as needed. Keep the pace fairly comfortable.

 

Week 6

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 7 miles easy. Keep your running portions easy. You should feel comfortable. Keep taking walking breaks as needed.

 

Week 7

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 8 miles easy.

 

Week 8

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 9 miles easy. Listen to your body and insert your walking breaks accordingly.

 

Week 9

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 10 miles easy.

 

Week 10

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 6 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 11 miles easy.

 

Week 11

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train..

Friday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 12 miles easy.

 

Week 12

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 7 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 13 miles easy. You are now running almost half of the marathon distance. Keep your pace easy and comfortable. Keep taking the walking breaks.

 

Week 13

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 14 miles easy. If you have a treadmill, you can do these long runs indoors. Put a television in front of your treadmill and watch a movie as you run. The time passes quickly. Elevate the treadmill 1 percent to more closely mimic running outdoors.

 

Week 14

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 8 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 6 miles easy. Starting this week you will be doing a long run only every other week. You will increase your long run by two miles each workout. Your long runs have reached the point where you need two weeks of lower mileage for full recovery.

 

Week 15

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 16 miles easy. Keep taking those walking breaks, but take them only when needed. Listen to your body and not your mind. Running long distances is a struggle mentally as well as physically. There are times when your mind may be struggling more than your body. You should look at this as an opportunity to toughen and strenghen yourself mentally. You will need this mental toughness to help push you through the hard parts of the marathon. If your body is telling you to take a walking break, then take it. If it is your mind that is weak, try to push yourself to keep going.

 

Week 16

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 9 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 6 miles easy.

 

Week 17

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 18 miles easy.

 

Week 18

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 10 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 6 miles easy.

 

Week 19

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 20 miles easy.

 

Week 20

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 10 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 6 miles easy.

 

Week 21

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday- Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 22 miles easy. Before you complete this workout, you should analyze how your body is feeling. If you feel fresh and strong, go ahead and complete this workout. If you are feeling tired or sluggish, just run 10 miles at an easy pace today. You body may need the extra rest before your big race. If you are feeling strong and do complete this workout, it will be your longest training run. After this week you will begin to "taper" or decrease overall mileage. A taper is necessary to allow your muscles to full recover from long training runs and to be at full strength for the race. The marathon is 4.2 miles farther than this run. The endurance you have built up and the excitement of the race will carry you through the last 4 miles of the race.

 

Week 22

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 6 miles easy.

 

Week 23

 

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 5 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest or cross train.

Friday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Saturday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Sunday - Run 4 miles easy.

 

Week 24

 

Monday- Rest

Tuesday - Run or run/walk 4 miles easy.

Wednesday - Run or run/walk 3 miles easy.

Thursday - Rest

Friday - Rest.

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - RACE DAY. HAVE FUN!! Follow the same routine in the race that you did while training. Keep your pace easy and take walking breaks when needed. The start of the marathon will be very exciting. Resist the temptation to start at too fast a pace. If you start out too fast, you may have trouble in the final miles of the race.

 

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