First Marathon Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 03:08
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 03:08
Training Load By Week

This training plan is designed for people looking to build up to their first marathon through a gradually progressing long run and an emphasis on consistent training. This plan mixes distance based training with time based training to give the athlete the ability to run based on feel for the recovery days, while ensuring they prepare adequately to handle the marathon distance. It also incorporates a fair amount of exercises that focus on posterior chain strength, hip strength, and mobility, to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. The last thing that makes this plan slightly different than a typical training plan is the weekly check in on the Monday of each week, outlining the focus for that week as well as providing a link to my go-to resources!

Above all, the goal of the plan is to prepare the athlete for a good performance at the marathon...performance in this case meaning how the athlete feels AND how they make the people around them feel. Distance running may be classified as an individual sport, but it is most certainly a team effort throughout the entire journey.

I hope you enjoy the process!

Sample Day 2
Easy Day

The goal in this program is consistency. The long run is the big workout of the week, with some pace work on Wednesdays, but other than that, marathon training can be almost a social occasion. Not every workout has to be hard, in fact, you will get a better aerobic efficiency over the long run by staying in the lower heart rate zones.

Just because it is an easy day doesn't mean you can skip it! There are plenty of rest days built in, so if you need to switch things around occasionally that should be okay, but consistency is key!

Sample Day 2
Core + Hip Strength 1

*if any of the following hurts in a non-muscular way (a sharp pain in the knee or back especially) then move to the next exercise. We all have different bodies and have developed different issues over time. This should be a rare case with these exercises, but I would rather have you be safe than sorry!

20 second side plank on right side
20 second side plank on left side
5 pushups
20 second prone plank
20 second supine (or reverse) plank
5 pushups
2x20 bicycle kicks
2x10 glute bridge with 2 second hold at top

15 second superman hold
10 superman lifting alternate arm and leg

This weeks challenge! - 30 second wall sit.

5 on each leg of the following:
- Donkey Kicks
- Fire Hydrants
- Hurdle Leg Forward
- Hurdle Leg Backward
- Scorpions
- Iron Cross

30 second hold on the following
- Downward Dog
- Hip Flexor (both legs)
- Pigeon Pose (both legs)
- Quad Stretch
- Hamstrings

Great Work! Now go drink some water with electrolytes and get some protein in.

Sample Day 3
Establishing A Goal Pace

Our first workout is to establish goal pace. There are calculators that can be used based on your performance in other events such as the McMillan one and the Daniels' one, which are linked in the bottom. Thus, pick a relatively similar terrain course to your goal marathon course and run a 5k, or 3.1 miles, with 10 minutes very easy jog warm up and a 10 minute cool down afterwards.

This will give you a conservative 5k estimate to plug into the calculators instead of your PR, it is better to start conservative and work up than overshoot and get injured.

McMillan calculator is found here:

and the Daniels' calculator is found here:

For each you will select 5k, enter your 5k time in and hit calculate, no need enter anything else. For the McMillan one you simply scroll through to find your desired distance. For the Daniels' one you click on the equivalent tab. They will be slightly different, so I typically average them and round up to establish a goal pace.

Mark that time down! Every 5k or other race you do after this can be used to compare and adjust your goal pace accordingly. I would definitely adjust the goal pace if a longer race suggests a faster time.

Sample Day 4
Warm up for strength

5 - 15 minute jog, spin, or elliptical to get muscles warmed up for strength work.

Sample Day 4
Strength Workout 1

Go slow and controlled, focusing on form.

2x20 Walking lunges, making sure knee doesn't go past the toes

10 pushups

2 x 20 squat to press - body weight or small medicine ball, squeezing glutes at the top

10 dips

2 x 10 (on each side) Single Leg RDL

2 x 15 Monster Walks / Band Walks
- Side shuffle left
- Side shuffle right
- Slowly walk Forward
- Slowly walk

Finish with some stretching, downward dog, IT bands, and pigeon pose especially.

Sample Day 5
Cross Train

Your Choice of Cross Training for 30-60 minutes.

Get creative. Basketball, paddle boarding, kayaking, yoga, pilates, spinning, swimming, or even walking..just move your body!

Sample Day 6
Starting Long Run

Starting out with 10 miles! Make sure you start to plan hydration and fueling, testing various products and methods.

Pace is 20% slower than marathon race pace. Slow and steady wins the race.

Griffin Jaworski
Sweat Equity Athletics LLC

I am an IRONMAN Certified Coach and RYT 200 Yoga Instructor based in Des Moines, IA. There is both an art and a science to training and racing, and my passion is finding the balance you need to achieve your goals and more.

I'd love to hear more about you to see how I can help!


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