20 Week Marathon Training Plan For Beginners

Our 20 week marathon training schedule for beginners is designed for beginners, novices, and first-time marathon runners.   The 20 week marathon program includes gradual mileage increases.

20 Week Marathon Training Plan for beginners

Who Is It For?:

People who are new to marathons – beginners and novice runners who don’t have a long history of running.   Perhaps you’ve picked up running in the past year – then this is the plan for you.

How Long?: 

20 weeks // 5 months.


The plan focusses on developing a strong running base, while very gradually increasing mileage.  

Your focus during training is to build up the miles, without worrying too much about speed.   

Try to run the mid-week runs at a comfortable pace. 

Long runs should be done slowly – at a conversational pace.

Walking breaks is acceptable, but if you can continue to jog – no matter the speed – that’s preferable.

The goal is simply to get your body attuned to running the miles.

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!