18 Week Marathon Training Schedule – Beginners and Intermediates

35 Flares Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 35 Flares ×

An 18 week marathon training schedule should be long enough to get you ready for your marathon. I recommend preparing for at least 12 weeks, but preferably longer; 16 to 18 weeks of specific marathon training has always worked well for me.

18 weeks of marathon training is enough to make the necessary adaptations to your body’s needs and improve your marathon performance. At the same time, these 4 to 5 months shouldn’t be too long for you to stay focused.

Two-time Olympic marathon runner, Marius Bakken, has created a unique and proven marathon training plan. If you are thinking about competing in a marathon in the next 3 to 12 months I recommend to check out my review of his 100 Day Marathon Plan. It tells you all about Marius Bakken’s revolutionary and highly effective method to train for a marathon.

Are Your Ready for This Schedule?

Let me start by saying that before you start with any marathon training schedule, you need to be in very good health.

A person who is over 40 years of age should not forget to pay a visit to his or her doctor first. The marathon is a rigorous effort, so act wise.

Even when you are younger than 40, I would recommend having a health check done first. Beyond a health check, you do need some running experience before starting with the marathon schedule.

6 to 12 months of serious running are a minimum requirement, and you should be able to log 25 miles or more in a week.

The first week of the 18 week marathon training schedule starts with around 25 miles of running.

18 Week Marathon Training Schedule

7 years ago, I ran my first marathon. Using everything that I learned during those years (from books, the Internet, coaches, and simple trial and error) I came up with an 18 week marathon training schedule for beginners and intermediates.

This 18 week marathon training schedule includes 4 days per week marathon training and requires running 45-50 miles per week maximum.

The mileage increase per week is 10% at most. This is to lower the chances of getting injured due to building up too quickly.

Please find the schedule below.

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 10 mi long run
2 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 12 mi long run
3 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
7 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 14 mi long run / 8 mi MP
4 Rest
or CT
7 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
7 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 12 mi long run
5 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
8 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 16 mi long run
6 Rest
or CT
7 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
9 mi aerobic / 6 mi LT Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 17 mi long run
7 Rest
or CT
7 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
10 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 18 mi long run / 10 mi MP
8 Rest
or CT
5 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
8 mi aerobic Rest or CT 10K race 14 mi long run
9 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
12 mi aerobic / 7 mi LT Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 16 mi long run
10 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
10 mi aerobic Rest or CT 10K race 18 mi long run
11 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
9 mi aerobic Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 20 mi long run / 12 mi MP
12 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
10 mi aerobic / 7 mi LT Rest
or CT
5 mi recovery 14 mi long run
13 Rest
or CT
7 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
9 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
10-15K race 16 mi long run
14 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
11 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
5 mi recovery 19 mi long run / 10 mi MP
15 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
12 mi aerobic / 7 mi LT Rest or CT 5 mi recovery 20-22 mi long run
16 Rest
or CT
5 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
10 mi aerobic Rest or CT 10K race 14 mi long run
17 Rest
or CT
6 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
8 mi aerobic Rest
or CT
5 mi recovery 10 mi long run
18 Rest
or CT
5 mi aerobic 5 mi recovery Rest Rest 4 mi recovery Marathon Race!

Marathon Workouts in 18 Week Marathon Training Schedule

For detailed information about the different marathon workouts please see the marathon training schedule page.

You can find a brief description below:

Recovery runs
Recovery runs are known as short-distance runs at an easy pace. These runs should accelerate your recovery for your next workout. You will regret it if you do them too fast!

Cross Training (CT)
Cross training refers to easy walking, cycling or swimming. On the Cross Training days, you can choose to take a complete rest or do some light cross training instead. Just see how you feel!

Aerobic runs
A moderate-effort run that should be a standard element of your marathon preparation. These runs are done at a pace about 15-25 percent slower than the marathon pace.

Long runs
The marathon long run is the single most important workout in your marathon preparation. You will slowly build up to running 20-22 miles at a time. In order to simulate your marathon as closely as possible, some parts of your long run should be done at marathon race pace.

Marathon Pace (MP) runs
These runs are partly done at your predicted marathon race pace. So, for example: “20 mi long run / 11 mi MP” means a run of 20 miles in total, of which 11 miles are done at a marathon pace.

Lactate-Threshold (LT) runs
Lactate-threshold runs are tempo runs of at least 20-25 minutes at this so-called lactate-threshold pace. The pace for these runs is around 15K to half marathon pace. If an aerobic run of 10 miles calls for 5 miles LT, it means that half of this run should be done at a lactate-threshold pace.


Return from 18 Week Marathon Training to Marathon Training Schedule

Return to Marathon Training Tips home

35 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 34 Google+ 0 Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 35 Flares ×
35 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 34 Google+ 0 Filament.io 35 Flares ×