My Marathon Training Plan

Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiday, where have you been all my life week? And tonight is quite exciting because Ben and me are off out to our running club Christmas meal (shhh, I know it’s only just November – it’s all about dragging Christmas out in my eyes).

This week I’ve been taking things a bit easier on the running front after the Great South Run to make sure I don’t over-do things. I’d love to be able to rock out stupid amounts of miles every week but unfortunately I’m not there yet. Not in this training cycle anyway.

Here’s how the upcoming weeks are looking for me for my marathon training:


There’s a great deal of flexibility though. I’m happy to move things around, reduce/increase miles, or delete workouts entirely if needs be. I like doing spin twice a week as it’s a great speed workout without the pounding on the legs (though after a hard run on Sunday I will drop my Monday one when I fancy). The workouts that I’m least likely to change though are the long runs. This is because this is a whole new territory for me. Long runs used to be 10-12 miles. Now they’re 14 miles plus. That’s scary to me at the moment – I have yet to do further than 16 miles (should I be panicking??). I’d love to have another 20 miler in there to fully boost my confidence and feel comfortable at longer distances but I just don’t have the time to recover sensibly.

Basically this is a guide of my ideal training cycle. But let’s be honest, knowing me, it is never going to work out that way. Ideally things would have gone a bit more smoothly leading up to this point due to my long-standing niggles. Thankfully though things are feeling lots better. The running coaching has definitely helped this, with improving my form and giving me the stretches and strength exercises I’ve needed.

It’s definitely been an eye opener for the stuff I haven’t been doing. Gluteal exercises for instance. Loving those bridges…they’re lots of fun. Not.

These are the top exercises and stretches I’ve been adding into my routine:

  • Bridges (pulsing and holding for 30 seconds)


Source [Except I don’t look as serene!]

  • Single leg squats (it really makes it obvious that I’m weaker on one leg)
  • Pendulum kickbacks
  • Lunges
  • Hip flexor stretch <—this one is a big one for me as my hips are always so tight (due to sitting 80% of the day…thank you work)

Hip flexor stretch


So I’m trying to do these every day where I can, or every other day.

I have a few goals for this marathon in December. I’m not going to say exactly what time I’m aiming for as I’m a big believer in not trying to jinx things. Plus I really don’t know how my body is going to respond to that distance. I may need to readjust my goals after my 18 mile training run!

But I have three time goals (my ballpark vague figure that I will say is sub-four hours) and then I have a “survive it” goal and a “have fun” goal. We’ll see which ones pan out…

Have you ever run a marathon? Any tips?

When you prepare for races do you follow a plan?

Do you do a lot of strength work?

10 Replies to “My Marathon Training Plan”

  1. This looks like a really sensible plan, they don’t recommend going over 20 or so miles for long runs during training anyway as the risk of injury is so much higher. I would carry on what your doing, with loads of stretches, (I love single leg squats!) and other things like spin is great to mix things off and not so strenuous on the joints. I do follow a plan, I feel it’s good to know what I’m aiming at and keep me on track knowing what runs I want to do that week. I do a lot of strength training, my last half marathon cycle, I was lifting heavy 5 days a week and it makes a huge difference for me during running, the only thing I have to be careful of is leg day, because if I go too hard on that it, I can’t recover and it affects my running too much. I’m without gym right now so I’ve toned it down on the lifting front, hopefully will strike a good balance, when I was marathon training I did 3 sessions a week and that worked well.

    1. I follow a plan because otherwise I won’t know what I’m doing at all. I know how to train for a half marathon but I have no clue about a full. It’ll be a trial and error this time around.
      Yeah doing strength training on the legs can be a bit of a nightmare. I never know what we’re going to do at pump and sometimes it’s a killer for my next run.

  2. You will totally rock your marathon for sure.
    I remember being so nervous before each long run- especially once they got over 13 miles as that was the furthest I had run before. But I was always amazed that I completed them. The longest I did was a 20 mile run- it was a “race” put on by a club in Cheshire (for the Edinburgh marathon, but it was good timing for ours too)- it was good to have drinks stations and practise the race day routine a bit. And it got me around the marathon- I wanted to finish it, run all the way, and enjoy it, and I mostly did all 3 (I did struggle mentally towards the end but then running for nearly 5 1/2 hours will do that to your brain). If I were to do another one (or when, I would like to do another one) I would do more than one 20 miler, as I think that really helps, but for my first one I would not have changed anything. The main thing I found tough was the nutrition- I don’t do well drinking lots, and I had started using those clif shot blocks and also jelly beans, but because the race started at 11.40am I basically missed lunch (because I was running) and think I ended up being under fuelled, but weirdly bloated from all the drink (not as if I drank loads- but I had a 500ml bottle of water + nuun and at the end I refilled it with a few cups)- so I would need to practise that more. But you will be much faster so it won’t be as much of an issue I don’t think.
    I think having approximate times is sensible, as you can’t replicate your speed in training- until you do one you don’t know how you will manage, and all the training plans can give you general ideas based on long run times/ half marathon times, but they are only guesses really.
    Anyway, what a long ramble! To conclude, your plan looks great, and it is fab you are being flexible. And practise that nutrition!

    1. Thanks, such good advice. The nutrition thing is a mine field. So much advice about running on empty to use your fat sotrage or using lots of gels when training to replicate the race. So far I’ve not been using gels, but then I haven’t gone that far. But for the 20 miles I will do what I plan for the race as that’s a good test I think. Also struggling to know what to do about whether to take a drink or not. I don’t want to carry a bottle, or a camelbak, so do I use my hydration belt which I found quite annoying?? So much to figue out…

  3. Love the snazzy plan, you’re so organised Anna! I’ve never run a marathon but I hope to some day, just not with my crazy job right now – there’s no way I could fit in the amount of training needed sadly. I bet you’re going to rock this one! Oh and those stretches look good, I’ve definitely been trying to stretch and strengthen to help my running recently!

    1. Oh yeah you’re job sounds a bit crazy whirlwind!
      If I could go back a year I would shake myself stupid and tell myself to stretch, strengthen and be sensible. I’m definitey learning from my mistakes now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.