****Marathon for Beginners 12 week program

Average Weekly Training Hours 03:57
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 03:57
Training Load By Week

The Distance




The Distance So, you want to run your first Marathon? Not sure how to train for it? This program is for you.

This program assumes that you already run regularly - you may have already done a half marathon or a few 10km races and can currently manage training runs of up to 15km.



With a passion for anatomy and the physiology of exercise, our head coach is an accomplished age group Marathon and Cross Country runner, Ironman Triathlete and 2 time World Championship representative. He is an accredited Lvl 2 Advanced Athletics Australia running coach, former Athletics Australia course facilitator and holds a B.App.Sci. (Human Movement) and Post Grad.Dip. (Exercise Science)

If you ever need clarification, feel free to email any questions via our website:
or direct email coaching@thedistancecoaching.com


This is a 12 week lead-in program.

There is an emphasis throughout this program on teaching you pacing and consistency, both of which are critical to training and racing.

This 12 week plan progresses through a 10 week Marathon specific phase (which will see your longest run of 32km and longest total week of 60km). Nearing your event the program will enter a 2 week taper.

At The Distance, our running programs are designed using training fundamentals proven to enhance performance. Inserted strategically each week are various forms of aerobic, anaerobic and high intensity running specific training sessions.


At The Distance, we fundamentally believe in teaching our athletes the art of pacing. This program is based around Perceived Feel of effort rather than Heart Rate or Speed. Every single session specifies a pace/effort that you should complete it at. If you change the pace/effort of the prescribed session, you will change the physiological outcome of the session.

Consistency is the key to this program. Most weeks have 3 recovery days per week. This program will get you to the start line in really good shape as a result of the overall work, so do your best to complete every session.

Easy means Easy!!! There are many reasons for running slowly/easily. Do not be tempted to run too fast - save that for when the program asks you to run fast, and race day!

Never shorten your warm up or cool down – it’s a sure way to get injured. If you are pushed for time, I'd prefer you to cut the main session short.

Sample Day 2
Conditioning - 4x10min as (8min M, 2min walk)

Welcome to the program. The first week is comfortable as we build up to the 9 week specific phase. Spend this week learning the terminology in this program.

TODAY you have:

10min E warm up
4x10min as (8min M pace, 2min walk)
5min E cool down

WALK BREAKS - they are inserted at this early stage of the program to ensure you get small breaks which will prevent you from tiring too much and loosing good form, technique & posture. Poor form due to fatigue increases likelihood of injuries.

Emphasis for this session is on the DURATION, not the distance.

Sample Day 4
20min M - insert 5x1min surges

10min E warm up
20min M paced run but randomly insert 5x1min S pace surges
5min E cool down

Note: "S" pace = "Solid". This pace should feel around 90% - not a max effort, but a difficult pace to maintain.

Sample Day 7
Aerobic Run - 12 (6E, 2E/M, 1E, 2E/M, 1E)

12km as 6E, 2E/M, 1E, 2E/M, 1E

Sample Day 9
Fartlek 30sec/30sec

Fartlek (pace variations)

10min E run, then
15min of as 30sec S, 30sec E
Finish with 5min E

Sample Day 11
Quality - 4x500m, 2x1km

10min E warm up
4x100m Strides, (walk back recov)

4x500m @ M/S pace (1min walk recov), 2x1km @ M/S pace (2min recov)

10min E cool down

Sample Day 14
Aerobic Run - 70min (30E, 3x10min)

80 minutes - 40min E, 3x10min (8min E/M, 2min walk),
10min E.
Really stick to the suggested pacing below. Don’t go too hard and big focus on good technique, especially as you tire.

Sample Day 16
5km Tempo

10min Easy warm up
5km Tempo pace - lets loosely describe that as Solid-to-Fast pace
Finish with 5min Easy jog

Grant Hornsby
The Distance - Run Coaching

Do you have a goal or event in mind? Not sure how to train for it? Don't guess. Let us help.

From recreational runners to representative athletes, you can benefit from our knowledge and careful planning. As certified coaches and with multiple qualifications in sports science, The Distance has the experience and educational expertise to develop your athletic potential, or to just get you up and moving towards your first running goals.