12 Week Marathon Training Plan

Our 12 week marathon training plan is designed for runners looking to get race-ready on a tight schedule. 

The 12 week marathon training schedule is not recommended for complete beginners; you should be able to run 10km continuously before you being.   The plan is designed to get you to the marathon finish line as comfortably as possible.   

It ramps up the mileage and training quickly to suit your tight training schedule.

12 Week Marathon Training Plan

Who Is It For?:

Runners who have established an initial running base, or have an existing good fitness level.   You should be able to run 10km without stopping.

How Long?: 

3months // 12 weeks.


This plan has you working out five days a week – four days of running and a day of cross-training, with two days off.  

Given the short training time, the important thing to focus on building your stamina and endurance rather than speed.   

There are 3 regular training runs per week, and a long run at the weekends. For your Long Runs, the aim is simply to get your body used to running for a long time – so take them easy, don’t push yourself.  For your weekday runs, try and sustain a pace at which you could hold a conversation with someone.  

The plan also features one day of cross training.  Cross training is a great way to keep fit and ensure your marathon training does not negatively impact other parts of your body.  Many runners have other sports and hobbies they don’t like to neglect when in training, so you can do these on Thursdays if you want.  Cycling, swimming and yoga are all recommended cross-training activities. 

Don’t overdo things – given you only have 12 weeks to prepare, speed is secondary to getting the miles in.  If your body is worn out, allow it some rest.  And good luck.

Get The Complete Guide

My guidebook, Marathon in 3 Months, is available now for instant download.  It maps out the complete training strategy and rationale behind the 12 week marathon training schedule supplied.   It walks you through your week-by-week training and preparation to get you to the finish line in under four hours. 

The guidebook goes into detail with the training plan, and includes many practical tips for marathon preparation.

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customisable), in both miles and kilometers.  

The most comprehensive plan you will find

5.0 rating
October 28, 2019

I had run a couple of half marathons and was in reasonable shape coming into the plan and it was a good rise in intensity throughout. You need to want to do an event like this – I was getting up at 3am to get my long run in before kids weekend sport etc and this was hard. When you combine the plan with the online community through the Marathon Handbook FB page and website, you get complete support. Have used this plan with great success and now looking at upping the pace in the marathon space… GREAT JOB!

Rob McCaw

Get out of my way

5.0 rating
December 27, 2019

Really good book. Not a lot of extra fluff. Here is what you need to do. Now go do it. Building for my 1st marathon. See you on the other side.


10k training​ plan

5.0 rating
December 27, 2019



50 Mile Success!

5.0 rating
November 22, 2019

Hey dudes, this is the plan to use for a 50 miler. Got me through at least – at age 42, I’m happy with that.

Ellis Kern

Training for NYC Marathon

5.0 rating
October 29, 2019

Trying to train for NYC Marathon and cane across your site! Wish me luck!

Jaime Goodall

Proven Training Plans by a UESCA-certified Running Coach 

Every one of our training plans has been developed by Thomas Watson, a UESCA-certified running coach.

Thomas is also a podium-finishing ultra-marathon runner, and has dozens of marathons under his belt.

Each training plan has been road-tested by hundred of runners, refined and improved – and are free to download and customise to suit your needs!