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.

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!)

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 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
6 Month Marathon 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!

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

Remember that speed is not important for this training plan – more important is your ability to keep running the distances necessary.

Rated 5 out of 5
May 18, 2023 1:51 am

The information is helpful.


10 / 10 - Got my through my race!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 17, 2023 4:51 am

Great plan


This plan hit so well!

Rated 4 out of 5
December 28, 2022 6:12 am

Well, I have been marathoning for almost 15 years and wanted to test something new out. I tried this plan because it looked completely different than any training method before. It didn’t make sense how the running peaked, and I got to the start line exhausted and sick, clearly under rested. The marathon had actually gone pretty smoothly until mile 17, when my ankle rolled and my ACL ripped. Had to quit the race and was upset with this training plan. However, free IS free. 6/10. Would not recommend


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 🥰)

6 Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginner and Intermediate runners 2
6 Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginner and Intermediate runners 3

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!