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Trail Marathon plan 14 weeks (novice / beginner)


Tim Pigott

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14 Weeks

Plan Specs

running marathon beginner hr based

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Plan Description

This is a 14-week trail marathon training plan aimed at first-time marathon runners or those who have not done a recent marathon. The weekly mileage starts at 13miles (your long run being 7miles) and peaks at 28miles (longest run 18miles). While the run volume is lower it is supplimented with cycling and hiking to prepare your body safely if you are rebuilding after injury / illness or a period of minimal running.

It is split into key phases. The first phase you will run 3 times a week, with an emphasis on run technique. Supplimenting the running is a mid week turbo / bike session. Throughout the plan you will do your long run on a Saturday, and then a fast hike on the Sunday. In trail marathons you will often find sections of the race where you are forced to walk, by teaching yourself to hike fast you will improve your slowest pace and reach the finish line quicker. These hiking sessions will also build your base aerobic fitness with 'time on feet'.

You will then move onto the second phase where you run 4 times a week and start to introudce some short efforts and hillier runs.

Your long runs are set to utilise the run-walk strategy, whereby you run for 9minutes, then fast walk for 1minute. This strategy has been proven to result in an even split (less fatigue towards the end of the race) and reduces the load on on the legs by giving your muscles a short break every 10minutes. This is also the opportunity to have a drink / eat something and let your heart rate settle a little.

Supplimenting the running are some basic strength and conditioning exercises, self massage / foam roller techniques, and mental training exercises. There is also a link to CORE nutritional planning ( ) with further educational material to help you optimise your race nutrition and reduce the risk of you running out of energy or getting gastrointenstinal distress. Some of your longer runs are identified as good opportunities to test your hydration and nutrition strategies.

Hydration planning is provided in partnership with Precision Hydration and a discount code is available for you to use.




Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
0:33 hrs 0:15 hrs
0:01 hrs 0:20 hrs
0:56 hrs 1:04 hrs
0:20 hrs 0:20 hrs
0:05 hrs 0:15 hrs
1:55 hrs 3:00 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
0:33 hrs 0:15 hrs
0:01 hrs 0:20 hrs
0:56 hrs 1:04 hrs
0:20 hrs 0:20 hrs
0:05 hrs 0:15 hrs
1:55 hrs 3:00 hrs

Training Load By Week

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.

Sample Day 1

Goal setting 2020 (and beyond)

Goal setting. Learn from the past, prepare for the future, perform in the present.  
ACT - 
Accept your current state,
Create your desired state, 
Take action through your goal setting.

Spend some time reflecting on your season and plan your goal setting for 2020 (and beyond). See attached file.

Sample Day 1

Foam roller / soft tissue mobility

Spend 10-15minutes working on some self massage / foam roller / stretching / mobility exercises. Making time for this at least a couple of times a week will ensure you keep your body in good condition and aid recovery from the training runs.

Sample Day 1

OPTIONAL - Active recovery <55% FTP

Just spin the legs at a normal cadence but don't put any force through the pedals. Power and HR stay low, just keeping the muscles turning over. You are still improving blood flow to your muscles at this effort range.

Sample Day 2

Pre run glute mobility and activation

See the following link:

Warrior lunge with rotation - 10 reps each side
Bum shuffle - 20reps forward/back
Active pigeon pose - 10reps each leg
Burpees - 15 reps
Frogger - 10reps forward/back
Frog bridge - 15 reps
Donkey kick with rotation - 8 reps each leg
Reverse side clam - 12 reps each leg
Single leg RDL with a twist - 8 reps each leg
Standing hurdle drill - 5 forward/5 back each leg
Lateral jump - 20 reps

Sample Day 2

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 3

Low cadence strength

Low cadence workout - learn to feel the force through the pedals. Stay stable in the saddle and push down and back.

Sample Day 4

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!

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