Sports Tours Beginner marathon plan 24weeks


Tim Pigott

All plans by this Coach


24 Weeks

Typical Week

4 Run, 2 Day Off, 1 Custom, 1 Walk, 2 Other

Longest Workout

26.2 miles

Plan Specs

running marathon beginner hr based

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This is a longer plan to take you from running 5k through to 42k. If you have been doing a little bit of running, perhaps some park runs, but now have the goal of completing a marathon this is the plan for you. It will build gradually, with an emphasis on running technique, in order to reduce your risk of injury. You will do 4 runs each week, 3 mid week and one long run at the weekend. It is advisable to also include a cross training session on the other day at the weekend, such as going for a swim, cycling, or just going for a walk.

There is a planned 10k race at week 9, and a half marathon at week 12. You can either find a suitable race for you to do, or do your own benchmark test.

As the long weekend runs increase you will utilise a run-walk strategy, where you take a short walk break every mile. This short 'power walk' allows you to settle your heart rate and give your calves a rest. It also is a good time to take on a drink or gel in those longer runs, as you will do in the race going through an aid station. It has been shown that those who use this run-walk strategy do not fade towards the end of the run and thus finish in a quicker time compared to those who try and 'run' the whole way but fade and end up walking large sections towards the end.


Although nutrition is without doubt one of the most important aspects of race preparation, athletes typically spend far more time thinking about training than about nutrition. In a marathon, nutrition can mean the difference between winning a race and not even finishing a race. Athletes who did not have a great run often blame nutrition: they ran out of energy, became dehydrated or experienced stomach problems. They ingested too much, or ingested too little. They tried new products they had not used in training, and so on. Within this plan we link to guides produced by Asker Jeukendrup from CORE, which will give you the knowledge you need for a successful nutrition strategy.

Enjoy your training and the challenge ahead. The Sports Tours International team look forward to seeing your smile as you cross the finish line!




Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 01:17
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 01:17
Average Weekly Breakdown

Tim Pigott

Health & Performance 3

My area of expertise is working with athletes who have been struggling with illness or injury and returning them to peak performance, particularly the longer distance events.

I am a sports physiotherapist, with over 15yrs experience working with beginners through to international & Olympic athletes from a multitude of sports, and university researcher. Coupled with S&C, Retül Bike Fit (IBFI 4), British Triathlon level2 and British Athletics, I can help you return to, or realise your potential.

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

3mile run - Cadence

Check cadence: count left foot strikes 15 seconds. Goal is 22 or higher / 170steps a minute or higher. Research has shown that increasing your natural cadence by 8-10% can reduce the risk of injury, or help rehabilitate following injury. Therefore, this week calculate you cadence and then we will be using a metronome (download one to your phone) and train you run to a faster beep. This week just measure it, either by counting your foot strikes or if your watch has a cadence sensor then look at your data. TrainingPeaks will report this in the box on the left of this screen. You are thus looking for the number there to be 85 or higher.

Sample Day 2

3mile run - Breathing

Try a breathing technique 3:2 (3 foot strikes to breathe in - 2 foot strides to breathe out) or 4:3 or 3:4 This way you are alternating which foot hits the ground as you start to breathe in and then start to breathe out. This balances the stress on each limb as the activation of the diaphragm as you initiate a breathe helps stabilise the leg. If you always time your breathing to a dominant leg then you run the risk of over stressing the opposite leg.

You can use this breathing technique to help you focus and stay present during your long runs and racing.

Sample Day 3

3mile run - light feet

Focus on low impact through the feet - what do you need to do to be light and quiet. Use a treadmill for enhanced feedback of ground impact. Be a Ninja!

Sample Day 4

Foam roller / soft tissue mobility

See the attached video for a few examples of techniques you can use to do some self massage with a foam roller.

Sample Day 5

4mile run - systems check

Systems check-
Feet - how are they landing? (light on mid-foot)
Knees - are they straight, not collapsing in.
Hips - squeeze the glutes, pelvis level
Core - squeeze the abs/pull in belly button
Chest - tall but rib cage down - breathing lateral-costally
Shoulders - back and down
Elbows - tucked in
Hands - nice and relaxed
Head - lifted tall, looking forward.

Sample Day 6

Weekly roundup

Spend 5mins this evening reflecting on the past week and setting yourself goals/targets for next week. This review is both for your training, and general life. Remember, we are about Health & Performance, so make sure you are reflecting on both aspects. 

Rate how hard you perceived this past week's training: 
1 (very easy) --- 10 (extremely tough)

Rate your external stress from the past week (eg. family life, personal, work, etc) 
1(very little) --- 10 (extremely stressful)

What went well this week -
What needs improvement -
What are your goals for next week -

Sample Day 6

Cross training - walk / bike / swim

Sports Tours Beginner marathon plan 24weeks

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