Marathon Training Plan

This is the training plan that I followed for my second marathon.  It worked for me, but I’m not promising it will work for everyone.  The important thing to remember when training for something is to listen to your body.  And to definitely give it rest!

I found a version of this training plan in the July 2009 issue of Runner’s World magazine.  But I for some reason cannot find the exact plan on the website.  But Runner’s World magazine and their website is a super awesome tool for any runner.  I use it all the time and they can tailor a marathon plan based on your current level of fitness and past times that you’ve finished races.  Check it out.

Here is the plan but just to let you know, I had a very good base before I started this 16 week plan.  In fact, I had just finished a 1/2 marathon with a PR of 2 hours even.

Intermediate 16-week Marathon Training plan Sheet1

Just a few more notes:

-The Friday runs I never did because I like to be rested up before a long run.  But on the rest or easy days you can do cross training.  I like spin classes (for a more intense workout,) swimming, and yoga.

-LSD is short for Long Slow Distance and is great to do for the long runs

-For the hard work days I just tried to include either a faster pace or more hills to my run.  The actual plan has you doing mile repeats, hill repeats, and other really scary workouts. But what worked for me because I didn’t consider myself a “true” intermediate (I was someone in between a beginner and intermediate marathoner since I had only done 1 full marathon before,) was to just do the mileage for that day.

-MP stand for marathon pace. Apparently most runners run their long runs slower than what they plan to run during the marathon (at least that is what is sounds like in the Runner’s World magazine) but I found that the pace I went for my long runs was basically the pace I went for the marathon.

For Beginners

If you have never run a marathon before I would follow this plan but subtract two miles from the long run days.  That is what was recommended in the magazine and I also had a friend do something similar and he finished with a great time!


I would recommend some stretching after a workout,e specially your calves, hamstrings, quads, and your booty.  Also, I found that yoga (at least once a week) was my best friend while training!


I am also not an expert on this. and are great resources for figuring out your nutritional needs.  But just a few things that helped me out:

  • Eat a balanced diet, don’t forget fruits and veggies
  • Make sure to have at least a 200 calorie snack composed of carbs and protein after a run.  My favorite choices are chocolate milk or a fruit and yogurt smoothie.
  • Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D and protein. Runner’s need extra.
  • Make sure you are getting enough calories.  I figure that a burn at least 100 calories per mile and more like 120 calories if it is a hilly route.  Training for a marathon isn’t the best time to plan on losing a ton of weight because you don’t want to deprive your body of any nutrients it needs.  If you do want to lose some lb’s plan to lose a pound a week.  To do that you need to either burn an additional 500 calories a day (easy peasy with this plan) or eat 500 less calories a day.  I would just focus on eating a balanced diet.  Another reason why it isn’t the best time to plan on losing weight is because you will most likely find that you are STARVING all the time.  When I am training I feel like eating enough almost becomes like a second job, which is mostly fun but can get annoying.
  • For long runs I found that carbohydrate gels were the best for me.  I would replenish every 5 miles with about 100 calories (or a packet of gel) and don’t forget water.  I bought a water belt (it has a pocket for keys/gels and 4 eight ounce water bottles) and I usually had to plan long runs around lots of drinking fountains and porta potties.
  • And don’t forget to have fun! This is the time when indulgences aren’t as big of a deal. So yes you can have that bowl of expresso chip ice cream! Dig in 🙂


I hope this helps!



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