Many many runner blog postings ago I wrote about my marathon training plan and I had promised to publish it here and then I never did up until now.

Well, there is a good reason why I never did and the reason is that I pretty much created my own for a very specific reason and it does not match 99% of the other marathon training plans out there.

So far I have found only one marathon training plan that kind of comes close to what I am doing.

So, my marathon training plan is not conventional and it is taxing because I am having a lot of days with double-workouts and while I might not post a 70 or 80 mile week, it doesn’t mean I am not putting in enough work.

Junk miles will not help you with your marathon training and each workout should be of a certain quality.

I am not running a marathon as a race. I just don’t have years of building a base and training like many others who have run marathons before.

I have been a casual runner and have been very happy with it. To improve your speeds you need a higher base and you need to log a few more long runs compared to me and you need to do it more often than me.

So, I am running it for fun, but I also want to come home with a decent time. I do not want to walk a marathon, I want to run it. With that being said, I believe that my training schedule is actually pretty good – it meets my current goal and it can evolve and take me to the next level if I want to.

So, here it goes:

Speed work

Well, I did 3 speed work workouts and every time I needed an extra rest day to recover.

It just does not fit into my marathon training plan at this point. Speed work is important and I will do speed work outside of my marathon training. It has no room in my existing training plan.

Long Runs

My longest training run was 22 miles, but that was really more for me to see if there is a wall somewhere.

I determined there is no wall if I run and pace correctly. I am good with long runs being around 20 to 21 miles in length. My recovery has been solid after all these long runs.

I choose to complete the last mile close to my house and in most cases I ended up at exactly 21 miles (21.04, 21.08, 21.07, and so on).

I see it from a motivational factor – If I can say that I ran 21 miles it sounds so much better compared to saying that I ran 20.75 miles.

Tempo Runs

I did do tempo runs, but not on a fixed schedule. I’d rather do decide on the fly depending how I feel if the run is going to be a tempo run.

It does not matter if you do them Monday’s or Thursday’s or if you skip a week as long as you get a decent amount of tempo runs in over the course of your training.

Recovery Runs

I did a few recovery runs the day after my long runs, but I also skipped them when things just did not feel right or when it would have been stressful from a time perspective.

Overall I recommend to do them if you can. I always felt good the day after a recovery run.

Dual-Workout Days

This is not for everyone because it really forces your body out of its comfort zone.

I had a lot of days with two workouts. I am doing a boot camp style workout almost every morning before work and then I go running after work.

I promise you, you will feel tired if you put effort into both. I felt tired a lot, but I felt good. It’s that cumulative fatigue feeling that builds up and in the will help you to push through when it matters. However, it is important to listen to your body.

I sometimes skipped a run or the boot camp workout and turned a day into a single workout day. On 2-3 occasions I even skipped an entire day. Don’t stress about it if you do so.

Again listen to your body and rest when you need to. Doing dual workouts per day is taxing. If you are stressing out about it, simply count the hours you are working out and compare it to a traditional marathon training plan. You will be way ahead and there is no need to stress out about it if you skip a few workouts.

By doing this boot camp style workout I am doing so many exercises that will benefit my running, I love it.

So, these are the core items of my marathon training. How does a normal week look like for me then? My week goes Monday to Sunday, but you can mix it around anyway you want it.

Morning Workout: Kosama Boot Camp
Afternoon Workout: Slow Running 6-8 miles

Morning Workout: Kosama Boot Camp
Afternoon Workout: Tempo Running 6-8 miles

Morning Workout: Kosama Boot Camp
Afternoon Workout: Slow Running 6-8 miles

Morning Workout: Kosama Boot Camp
Afternoon Workout: Slow Running 6-8 miles

Morning Workout: Kosama Boot Camp
Afternoon Workout: None = Rest for the Long Run

Long Run

Recovery Run: Slow 2 to 3 miles

Rinse and Repeat from here. I did not put a mileage next to the long run. It depends on where you start with this marathon training plan.

I had a certain fitness level already when I decided to run a marathon and I started at 13 miles and worked my way up by adding 2 miles every weekend.

Which pace should I follow?

My biggest problem was trying to decide on what pace to aim for with my marathon. It is very hard to do so if you have no numbers and no experience to work of.

I had never run a race before nor did I ever care about keeping track of my times when running. So, I started where I felt comfortable running which was at around 10 minutes and 30 seconds per mile.

After the 3rd long run and a few weeks of training under my belt my average pace per run improved.

So, I kind of ran every long run at a pace I felt I would be able to run during a marathon, but I also tried to finish each long run with a faster finish.

You will be able to run faster once you have built up endurance for longer distances.

My training plan for my marathon was very short and in an ideal case you want to have a little bit more time available than I did.

I had 12.5 weeks from when I decided to run a marathon and the last 10 days to two weeks are reserved for the taper period.

In addition you need to know that it takes about 7 to 10 days for your body to benefit from a workout – so, anything done too close to the marathon will not help you.

Again, I already had a pre-existing fitness level and was able to jump in at running 13 miles for my first long run and then build up from there.

My recommendation would be to add 2 weeks of training time for every 2 miles that you are away from running a half marathon. So, let’s say you are able to run 6 miles today. That means you are 7 miles short of running a half marathon distance.

Based on my recommendation you probably want to plan for 18-19 weeks of marathon training accordingly. And keep in mind that it takes a lot of time to build up endurance to run faster – this mantra continues after you ran your first marathon.

Technically it will take 2-3 marathon cycles to dramatically improve your times. Also, as mentioned above I am not doing speed workouts during my marathon training as it is just too taxing to do this because I am already dual workouts most days.

Plan for it during your non-marathon training cycle if you do something similar.

If you do only single workouts per day, then add some speed work to your workout schedule. You will NOT need to do these weekly, but again listen to your body. If you have the strength and want to do them, go for it.

Speed workout Examples
20 x 200m with 200m jog at 5K to 10K pace
16 x 400m with 200m jog at 5K to 10K pace

I highly recommend doing cross training at least 2-3 times per week. It is very important to build up a strong core and back and to strengthen some other parts of your body, too.

You will not need to plan for hours of cross-training, but 20 minutes 3 times a week is a great start.

At the bottom of this post is an example of a solid 20 week program that should get you to the start and to the finish line, too.

Big Reminder: Listen to your body. You want to make it healthy to the start line. Don’t push yourself too hard and allow for proper rest. Also, do the workouts in a way where you will not injure yourself. As an example, running too fast without having a proper base built up can get you hurt.

Disclaimer: This marathon training schedule has worked for me, but it might not work for you.

Do proper research and also consult with your primary care physician as needed. If you can get a running coach or join a running club, it might help as well.

However, I am not responsible for what you do with your marathon training or if you hurt yourself. I had a few minor injuries on my journey to my first marathon and had to adjust. So, again – listen to what your body tells you.

Here is the mileage for each of my training weeks (Week 12 and 13 are still in progress at the time of this writing).

Please note that I was on vacation parts of week #8 and week #9 which took a tool on my overall mileage. Ideally I would have liked to run more during that time.

  • Week #1 (half week only): 26.02 Miles
  • Week #2: 39.47 Miles
  • Week #3: 39.57 Miles
  • Week #4: 47.6 Miles
  • Week #5: 44.1 Miles
  • Week #6: 46.3 Miles
  • Week #7: 53.0 Miles
  • Week #8: 34.55 Miles
  • Week #9: 36.31 Miles
  • Week #10: 50.86 Miles
  • Week #11: 50.36 Miles

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