Beginner - Full Marathon / 16-Weeks

Average Weekly Training Hours 00:18
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 00:18
Training Load By Week

This plan is an easy to follow 16-week training schedule ideal for beginner and novice runners. The training load begins with 17 miles/week and tops out at 41 miles by week 12. Prior to beginning the training plan, the athlete should be running consistently (3-4 days/week) and be able to run six miles at an easy effort. This plan is focused with a proper balance of aerobic/easy running, intensity/speed work, rest/recovery days, and duration with longer workouts focused for the weekends. It also contains additional injury prevention exercises to do on an ongoing basis (dynamic stretching, core strength work, stability work), and tips to help you succeed complete the marathon with confidence.

Sample Day 2
4mi
Easy Run *aerobic effort + Strides

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Strides at the end of run.
Four sets of 15-20 second runs (50-100 meters) about the pace you estimate to be current 5k race pace. Take 60-90 seconds recovery between strides so each one feels as comfortable as the previous one.

Sample Day 4
4mi
Easy Run *aerobic effort

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. Zone 2 or about 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.

This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Desired stride rate is 165-180 steps per minute. It's easier to count for 15 seconds. Shoot for 40-45 steps per 15 seconds.

Breathing rhythm should be 2:2
2:2 rhythm would mean you take two steps (one with your right foot and one with the left) while breathing in and two steps (again, one with your right foot and one with your left) while breathing out.

Tip for breathing.
Your breathing should be diaphragmatic, meaning the action of inhaling and exhaling extends down into your stomach.
As you breathe, your stomach should expand and contract as your diaphragm forces air into and out of your lungs.
Your chest, meanwhile, should remain mostly still, but you’ll take in more oxygen with every breath.

Sample Day 6
6mi
Easy Long Run

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. Zone 2 or about 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.

This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Desired stride rate is 165-180 steps per minute. It's easier to count for 15 seconds. Shoot for 40-45 steps per 15 seconds.

Breathing rhythm should be 2:2
2:2 rhythm would mean you take two steps (one with your right foot and one with the left) while breathing in and two steps (again, one with your right foot and one with your left) while breathing out.

Tip for breathing.
Your breathing should be diaphragmatic, meaning the action of inhaling and exhaling extends down into your stomach.
As you breathe, your stomach should expand and contract as your diaphragm forces air into and out of your lungs.
Your chest, meanwhile, should remain mostly still, but you’ll take in more oxygen with every breath.

Sample Day 7
3mi
Easy Run *aerobic effort

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. Zone 2 or about 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.

This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Desired stride rate is 165-180 steps per minute. It's easier to count for 15 seconds. Shoot for 40-45 steps per 15 seconds.

Breathing rhythm should be 2:2
2:2 rhythm would mean you take two steps (one with your right foot and one with the left) while breathing in and two steps (again, one with your right foot and one with your left) while breathing out.

Tip for breathing.
Your breathing should be diaphragmatic, meaning the action of inhaling and exhaling extends down into your stomach.
As you breathe, your stomach should expand and contract as your diaphragm forces air into and out of your lungs.
Your chest, meanwhile, should remain mostly still, but you’ll take in more oxygen with every breath.

Sample Day 9
4mi
Easy Run *aerobic effort + Strides

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Strides at the end of run.
Four sets of 15-20 second runs (50-100 meters) about the pace you estimate to be current 5k race pace. Take 60-90 seconds recovery between strides so each one feels as comfortable as the previous one.

Sample Day 11
4mi
Easy Run *aerobic effort

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. Zone 2 or about 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.

This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Desired stride rate is 165-180 steps per minute. It's easier to count for 15 seconds. Shoot for 40-45 steps per 15 seconds.

Breathing rhythm should be 2:2
2:2 rhythm would mean you take two steps (one with your right foot and one with the left) while breathing in and two steps (again, one with your right foot and one with your left) while breathing out.

Tip for breathing.
Your breathing should be diaphragmatic, meaning the action of inhaling and exhaling extends down into your stomach.
As you breathe, your stomach should expand and contract as your diaphragm forces air into and out of your lungs.
Your chest, meanwhile, should remain mostly still, but you’ll take in more oxygen with every breath.

Sample Day 13
8mi
Easy Long Run

This needs to be at an easy intensity which could be a conversational pace. Zone 2 or about 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.

This is a good time to concentrate on stride rate and breathing.

Desired stride rate is 165-180 steps per minute. It's easier to count for 15 seconds. Shoot for 40-45 steps per 15 seconds.

Breathing rhythm should be 2:2
2:2 rhythm would mean you take two steps (one with your right foot and one with the left) while breathing in and two steps (again, one with your right foot and one with your left) while breathing out.

Tip for breathing.
Your breathing should be diaphragmatic, meaning the action of inhaling and exhaling extends down into your stomach.
As you breathe, your stomach should expand and contract as your diaphragm forces air into and out of your lungs.
Your chest, meanwhile, should remain mostly still, but you’ll take in more oxygen with every breath.

Ronnie Delzer

Ronnie is a run coach for Vantage Point Endurance based in The Woodlands, TX. He offers one-on-one coaching as well as pre-built marathon and ultra-marathon training plans for all levels of athletes.

One-on-one coaching includes review of past training and development of future goals, weekly training schedule, detailed personalized daily workouts custom designed for athlete, weekly training log review and feedback, scheduled phone call every two weeks, and unlimited e-mail communication.