Marathon Training Plan Database

Welcome to our complete, all-access database of free marathon training plans.

All our readers have completely free access to all of our marathon plans, in a variety of formats.

5k plans :: 10k plans :: half marathon plans :: marathon plans :: ultra plans


quick links for direct access to the plans:

Beginner + Novice Training Plans

Intermediate Training Plans

Advanced Marathon Training Plans


Marathon Training Plans: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Does All This Work?

We’ve decided that the best thing we can do for our readers is simply sharing all our training plans, for free, forever.

Below you can find all our marathon training plan in a variety of formats:

  • PDF in both miles and kilometers, ready to print and start marking off,
  • Google Sheets, which allows you to make your own version in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel and customize the plan as you see fit,
  • Printable, an eye-catching and motivating 1-pager
  • TrainingPeaks plan, which you can sync to your training device (Garmin, etc.) Note that these are premium plans which you do have to pay a for – but we do our best to keep our prices fair.

2. Do I Need To Pay For Anything?

No, all the plans are free.

Only if you want to get the TrainingPeaks version do you need to pay for that, but it’s entirely optional.

3. Do I Need To Sign Up For Something?

All we ask before we share the plans with you is that you share your email address; this stops our plans from just being spread unfettered across the internet and allows us to send you more relevant training information to your inbox.

If you don’t want to receive any emails, just unsubscribe at any time.

4. What Is Grow?

It’s the system we use to manage access to these plans.

5. Which Plan Is Right For Me?

Deciding which marathon training program is right for you is a personal choice – it depends on your current running ability, how long you have until your marathon, and what your marathon goals are.  

Whether you’re looking to train for your first full marathon after completing a half marathon, or you’re completely new to running – there is an option for you.

Check out the notes alongside each plan to help you choose!

6. Why Don’t The Weekly Mileage Totals Seem To Add Up Correctly?

Some of the plans have interval training sessions, which should include 1.5 miles of warm-up and 1.5 miles of cool-down running.

This is explained in the notes attached to the plan, but not explicitly noted on the plan – so some people don’t count these when adding up the weekly mileage.

7. Who Designed These Marathon Training Plans?

Hi!

I’m Thomas, a UESCA-certified running coach and ultra-runner. 

I’ve worked with hundred of runners, and developed these training plans through ongoing research, my work with other marathon runners, and personal experience.

I am always reviewing the best marathon training practices and update the plans as required!

How To Use The Google Sheets + Download MS Excel Plans

The links below will take you to ‘read only’ versions of the Google Sheet training plans.

If you want to make edits, you can either:

i) Make A Copy (File > Make A Copy), this way you’ve got your own version of the Google Sheet to edit as you please.

ii) Download A Copy (File > Download > MS Excel), this saves the plan as a more traditional .xls file on your device which you can then customise.


Beginner + Novice Marathon Training Plans

Marathon Training Plan Database 1

Couch To Marathon Training Plan

This epic plan is designed for non-runners looking to get to the finish line of their 1st marathon! It uses our Couch to 5k plan as a base, then adds in additional phases of 10k, half marathon, and marathon, to be done at the runner’s own pace.

Marathon Training Plan Database 2

Six Month Marathon Training Plan

This 26-week plan is designed for new runners with 6 months to prepare: Ideally, you should be able to run 2-3 miles without stopping before you begin this plan, but you can choose to adopt a run/walk strategy too!

Marathon Training Plan Database 3

20 Week Marathon Training Plan

This 20-week plan is designed for occasional runners who are used to shorter distances.

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Intermediate Marathon Training Plans

Marathon Training Plan Database 4

16 Week Marathon Training Plan

People with some running experience, looking to ramp up their training for a marathon. Perhaps it’s your first marathon, perhaps you’ve run a couple; this plan is designed for people who can currently run continuously for one hour.

Marathon Training Plan Database 5

12 Week Marathon Training Plan

Designed for people who already run regularly; 12 weeks is the shortest timeframe we’d generally recommend for anyone preparing for a marathon, as sufficient time is required to build up the base mileage without cramming in too many miles and causing overtraining injuries.

Marathon Training Plan Database 6

The Sub 4-Hour Marathon Training Plan

This 20-week plan is specifically designed for those want to run a sub 4-hr marathon.

Marathon Training Plan Database 7

The Sub 3:30 Marathon Training Plan

This 20-week plan is specifically designed for those who want to run a sub-3:30 marathon.

  • Get the TrainingPeaks version of this plan, which you can sync with your device.
couch to half marathon training plan 5

The 8 Week Marathon Training Plan (Coming Soon)

This plan is specifically for those runners who are already bagging plenty of miles and just need to tune-up prior to their 26.2 miler.

  • Open the Google Sheets version of this plan
    ( File > Make A Copy) to create your own version
  • Open this plan as a PDF – miles version
  • Open this plan as a PDF – km version
  • Open the Guidance Notes that accompany this plan (PDF)
  • Open the printable version of this plan
  • Get the TrainingPeaks version of this plan, which you can sync with your device.

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Advanced Marathon Training Plans

sub 3 hour marathon training plan

The 3-Hour Marathon Training Plan:

This plan is specifically designed for those want to run a sub 3:00 marathon.

Marathon Training Plan Database 8

20 Week Advanced Marathon Training Plan

This plan is designed for experienced runners who are really looking to push their limits; whether it’s a new PB or another ambitious target, this training program is intense from week 1 and rachets things up from there. Note that it starts with a 10 mile long run, and includes 3 x 20 mile long runs.

Marathon Training Plan Database 9

20 Week *Intense* Advanced Marathon Training Plan

It is based on the Advanced Plan, but replaces one of the rest days with an extra speed work day. This means two days of speedwork per week; 5 days of running, one day of cross-training, and one rest day.

Note: this plan is for people aiming to crush it and reach for the ‘elite’ section.

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