20 Week Marathon Training Plan For Beginners

Our 20 week marathon training plan for beginners is designed for beginners, novices, and first-time marathon runners.   

The 20 week marathon program includes gradual mileage increases designed to not overwhelm you, and get you marathon-ready in a structured, injury-free way.

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.

20 Week Marathon Training Plan

Description: 

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 customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our marathon training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
20 Week Beginner Marathon Training Plan

Check Out The Premium Version of The 20 Week Marathon Training Plan . . .

We’ve teamed with TrainingPeaks to offer a premium version of the 20 Week Marathon Training Plan:

Access the plan via the TrainingPeaks website and app, track your workouts in real-time against the plan, and get performance data analysis on your progress.

Check out the premium training plan here!

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trainingpeaks training plan

The most comprehensive plan you will find

Rated 5 out of 5
October 28, 2019 7:05 pm

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

Amazing programme!!

Rated 5 out of 5
November 15, 2022 11:16 am

These running plans are AMAZING. I used it for 2 half marathons and I was so surprised at how I gained fitness, even though I was ill for 2 weeks and sustained a knee injury!

I completed the half marathon in 1h37 min 😃🤗

Thanx again team!

Miranda (51 yrs old 🥰)

first marathon

Rated 5 out of 5
October 27, 2022 6:16 am

and it worked a charm!

Marcelina Ziemnicki

Where do I enter my email for the training plan?

Rated 5 out of 5
October 17, 2022 4:45 pm

As the title says, I can’t find where to enter my email for the training plan.

Where do I enter my email for the training plan?

Lukas Olsson

Brilliant

Rated 5 out of 5
October 9, 2022 5:52 pm

The 1hr45 plan got me a 1hr38 finish in my first ever half marathon (first official race, period). I seriously recommend it. (Repeated some weeks towards the end as I had extra time.)

Stuart

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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!