16 Week Marathon Training Plan – Novice

Our 16 Week Marathon Training Plan is for beginner to intermediate runners who are looking to get marathon-ready. 

Perhaps you’re getting ready for your first marathon, or you’ve run a marathon or two in the past and are looking for a training program to get yourself back into shape: this 16 week marathon training plan is the one for you.

This plan is designed to get you to the finish line – if you have any pace-specific goals (such as beating 4hrs 30 mins), I’ve included one day of pace training to focus on your speed.

Who Is It For?:

Beginner or intermediate runners looking to ready for their marathon!!

How Long?: 

16 weeks // 4 months.


The plan focusses on building your strong running base and adding mileage.

The ‘training runs’ should be done at a comfortable, sustainable pace – their purpose is to help you get the miles and time on your feet in.

The ‘race pace run’ is designed for those who have a specific target finish time in mind: during these runs, stick to your target marathon pace.   If you don’t have a target marathon pace, maintain a comfortable, sustainable pace.

Long runs are there to increase your maximum mileage and time on your feet.   The whole purpose of these is to run slowly – at a conversational pace – no faster.  If you are struggling during these long runs, feel free to take walking breaks – no worries.

The plan includes one day or cross training and two rest days. 

The rest days are especially important for letting your body recover.

Feel free to download the plan and change it up to suit your schedule.

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!