Browse More Plans

18 Week Marathon Plan - Intermediate


Coach Pittman

All plans by this Coach


18 Weeks

Plan Description

This plan is designed for the intermediate athlete who has run at least a sustained 20+ miles per week. This plan is ideal for anyone looking to run between 3 to 4 hours in the marathon.

You will find that each workout is prescribed an RPE. This is Rate of Perceived Exertion and describes what effort you should be running at to get the desired physiological adaption. It's very important that you follow this RPE scale so that you don't risk getting injured. Run your easy days easy and your hard days hard.

RPE 1 - Recovery effort. Walking, jogging very easy, and able to carry a conversation comfortably.
RPE 2-3 - Aerobic. Able to carry a conversation and feel like you can sustain this effort for hours.
RPE 4-6 - Tempo. Moderate activity that you feel like you can hold for hours, but breathing is harder.
RPE 7-8 - Anaerobic. Uncomfortable, short of breath, hard to complete sentence.
RPE 9 - VO2Max/Speed. Can barely speak and can only sustain for around 3 minutes.
RPE 10 - Power. Unable to speak, max effort, unsustainable for even short a period of time.

If you use heart rate zones and have been tested for your lactate threshold, use the following conversion:

RPE 1 = Zone 1
RPE 2-3 = Zone 2
RPE 4-6 = Zone 3
RPE 7-8 = Zone 4
RPE 9-10 = Zone 5

Your training program is broken down and periodized into phases based on the law of specificity. Meaning as the workouts progress throughout the weeks, they will become more and more specific to your race demands.

Preparatory Phase: Week 1
Strength Phase: Weeks 2-8
- VO2Max Phase: Weeks 2-4
- Tempo Phase: Weeks 5-8
Race Specific Phase: Weeks 9-15
Taper Phase: Weeks 16-17
Race Week: Week 18

Throughout each phase there will be a heavy and dominate load of aerobic endurance. That's because a marathon is an aerobic event and requires aerobic fitness.

If your race has a lot of hills, make sure you include courses that have hills in them in weeks 9-15 of your plan.

Ensure that before every workout, you get a proper warm up with dynamic exercises. Here is a sample dynamic warm-up:

10 squats
10 alternating lunges
10 calf raises
10 leg swings
10 high knees
10 butt kicks

This is critical to perform before higher intensity workouts such as VO2Max, but it's important to do before every run.

How it Works

Load Your Plan

Quickly view upcoming workouts in the TrainingPeaks app.

Workout and Analyze

Upload completed workouts from your favorite tracking app or device.

Track Your Progress

Get feedback, stay on top of your training and perform at your best.

Learn More

Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x5
00:19:00 01:00:00
Day Off x2
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
00:19:00 01:00:00
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

Coach Pittman

Fit 2 Endure

USA Triathlon Coach and Running coach

  • This plan includes a Free Basic TrainingPeaks Account.
  • Access your training plan anywhere on the TrainingPeaks mobile and desktop apps.
  • Track your performance with robust data tracking and detailed graphs.
  • Plan for your event in the TrainingPeaks calendar.
  • Track your weight, sleep, hours, fatigue and stress while you train.
  • Syncs daily with other popular apps like Garmin and MyFitnessPal.

Refund Policy

This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

Still have questions about this plan?
$35.00 - Buy Now