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.
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.
Check Out The 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.
The most comprehensive plan you will find
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!
Not sure what I'm missing
Not sure how I would write a review before getting the training plan, but from website copy it seems legit.
Broken links - can't get the plan
Thanks for all the useful information here, it really helps me in my running journey. I used your 6-month plan to prep for a marathon, and it was a great experience! Now I wanted to download the 12 weeks plan for a half marathon but it seems to be a problem, and I can’t find the place to leave my email address / download the plan. Since I didn’t find any other contact info, I’m leaving this comment here in the hope you will read it and can send me the plan. I would really appreciate cause I know how much easier it makes the preparation. Thank you!
Couch to Half Marathon
So I am a fairly sedate person, but this year I turned 40, and for some odd reason I wanted to start doing some running. I’ve done some 5k races 5-6 years ago, but was never very ino running. There’s a run coming up in my home town at the end ofJuly, but it’s only a half marathon or 5k and I wanted to challenge myself to something harder than the 5k, so I started the couch to Half Marathon plan, but was fairly confident I wouldn’t be able to handle the mileage. It’s week 14 and although I haven’t been perfect, I’ve actually been able to get most of the workouts in. I have been totally amazed. 1 week until the half, and although I won’t be breaking any speed records, I’m fairly confident I’ll finish, which is my real goal. Thanks to Thomas for having a plan that works, even for old non active people 😁, I’m super excited and very grateful!!
I would like to download this training plan
But I don’t know how?!
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!