6 Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginner and Intermediate runners

This 6-month marathon training plan is perfect for new runners, or runners with some experience under their belt! 

As with all our training plans, it is available for free in PDF and other formats in both miles and kilometers.

Can you train for a marathon in six months? – Yes, six months is a generous amount of time to prepare for a marathon, which means we can very gradually work on building up your mileage.

This is awesome as it reduces the risk of injury that comes with ramping up the miles too quickly.

It also allows your muscles and cardiovascular system more time to get used to the mileage, so it’s not such an intense experience for your body.

Before beginning, you should ideally be able to run 2-3 miles without stopping. Alternatively, if you are a complete beginner you can adopt a run/walk strategy for this training plan too!

I’ve also written the following article to accompany the 6-month marathon training plan:

How To Train For a Marathon in 6 Months – check it out!

6-Month Marathon Training Plan: Essential Info

Who Is It For?:

Beginner and intermediate runners who have six months (or more!) to train for a marathon!

Ideally, you should already be able to run 2-3 miles without stopping before starting the plan! However, it is completely acceptable to use the run/walk method during training if you struggle with this.

This plan is best suited for runners who don’t have an ambitious marathon finishing time goal, but rather are simply looking to comfortably finish their marathon.

Not sure this is the plan for you? Then check out our other marathon training plans

How Long?: 

24 weeks // 6 months.

If you’ve got slightly longer, you can work on your shorter distances with 2-3 runs per week and a couple of cross-training days before starting the 6-month marathon training plan.

How Many Days Per Week?:

The plan features 4 days of running workouts, plus one day of cross-training – leaving two days of rest per week.

Some women in a running race

Training Breakdown: What Will Your Weekly Schedule Consist Of?

Here’s a run-down of each type of training you’ll be doing during your 6 month marathon training program.

Training Runs

These are regular, easy runs to be done at a comfortable pace.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can determine your planned marathon pace and do these runs at that pace. For the rest of us, these are all about adding miles to your training and getting your body adapted to running.

Ideally, you should be running all of these; if you are struggling, adopt a structured run/walk strategy (run for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute). Aim to train yourself so you can be running this continuously as soon as you can! (some more on walk/run strategy here!)

Pace Runs

Pace runs should be done at your target race pace if you have one, or slightly harder than your regular training runs – a 5 out of 10 RPE.

Long Runs

One long, slow run is factored into the plan every weekend.

They are designed to increase your maximum mileage, and therefore your stamina.

The most important thing to remember with these long runs is to do them at a slow, comfortable pace!  Don’t push yourself.

The aim is to get the miles in, not to exhaust your body.

 If in doubt, do them at a speed at which you could hold a conversation with a friend.

Some running shoes, a race entry number and a finisher medal on grass

Cross Training

The plan includes one day per week dedicated to cross-training.

Cross-training improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens some of the muscles weakened through running, thereby reducing your chance of injury.

Recommended cross-training exercises include bodyweight exercises, light gym work, swimming, yoga, pilates, and cycling!

Check out our cross-training guide for runners to learn more.

Changing The Plan

If you have a hectic schedule and need to miss one day of training, my advice would be to skip one of the short training runs.  It will mean you’re a little less prepared come marathon day, but should still make it round.

The most important workout of the 6 month marathon training program is definitely the Long Run – try not to skip too many of these! They are crucial for building your endurance and getting your mileage in.

Many runners decide to drop cross-training from their training schedule. While cross-training is definitely optional, I can tell you that its effects on your marathon performance are greater than one short run. That’s why I always include one day per week of cross-training in each of my training plans.

Feel free to move around the order of these runs to suit your own schedule – just drag and drop using the spreadsheet, once you’ve downloaded it. My one piece of advice is to leave a rest day after the long run day.

Download The 6-Month Marathon Training Program For Free:

6 Month Marathon Training Plan Printable

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.  

After entering your email, you’ll be prompted to create an account on the Grow platform we use to control access to the plans. It’s completely free – make sure to complete the process to gain access to the plan!

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

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

download the free training plan

Check Out The Premium Version of The 6 Month Marathon Training Plan . . .

We’ve teamed with TrainingPeaks to offer a premium version of the 6 Month 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 6 month marathon training plan here!

6 Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginner and Intermediate runners 1
trainingpeaks training plan
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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 hundreds of runners, refined and improved, and is free to download and customize to suit your needs!

Other Suggested Marathon Training Plans

Beginner + Novice Training Plans

Intermediate Training Plans

Advanced Marathon Training Plans