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Your First Marathon - 12 weeks to the Finish Line.


Joe Friel

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12 Weeks

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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.

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Plan Description

Train smart with a marathon training plan by Joe Friel, best-selling author and internationally recognized endurance coach.
• Prepare for your first marathon (26.2 miles) in 12 weeks.
• This plan is intended for a first-time marathoner who has been running for at least 6 months and several times a week.
• Receive two follow-up emails from Joe with more information on the plan (must provide email address at time of purchase).
• If plan is not working for you within the first 2 weeks, you can switch to a plan of equal value or receive a full refund.

“Joe Friel is one of the world’s foremost experts on endurance sports.” Outside magazine
“Following your plan, I had a great race and first marathon. Your plan was the fine-tuning I needed.” —Bruce, marathon first-timer

Who is this plan for?

This 12-week plan is intended for the first-time marathoner whose goal is to finish the race smiling. If you are an experienced runner looking to do your first marathon, you may consider one of my other marathon plans based on your goal finish time.

When should you start the plan?

This plan should be started 12 weeks prior to your marathon. Before starting the plan, you should have been running for at least 6 months, have completed a 5K or 10K race, be free of injuries, be running several times a week recently, and have completed a long run of at least 1 hour recently.

What does the training look like?

This plan includes 4 weekly runs in most weeks with 3 runs in recovery weeks every third week. One or two bike workouts are scheduled weekly to help avoid injury and to speed recovery while maintaining aerobic fitness. Long runs are scheduled for the weekends and build from 75 minutes in Week #1 to 3 hours in Week #9. All run workouts are given in minutes and call for alternating running and walking, just as you do in the race. With this strategy, you will avoid training injuries while learning to finish all long runs—and the race—strongly. Your fitness and confidence will soar!

Do you need any devices or apps?

A heart rate monitor or pacing device is not required for this training plan but may prove helpful. Note that this plan does not include expected workout TSS and does not use the TrainingPeaks “Workout Builder” format. TSS, however, is still calculated on completion of every workout.

After your event, please provide feedback on how this plan worked for you.
“Thanks again for your interest in my training plans, and I hope your training and racing go very well this season.” —Joe Friel

Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x4
3:33 hrs 3:00 hrs
Day Off x3
—— ——
Bike x1
0:51 hrs 1:00 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:33 hrs 3:00 hrs
Day Off
—— ——
0:51 hrs 1:00 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • GPS

All supported devices

Joe Friel

Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980, Joe Friel has worked with triathletes, cyclists, and runners around the globe. He trains coaches and assists various national federations and national Olympic team staff. He also consults with professional athletes and sports-related businesses. Coach Friel occasionally offers personal camps and seminars for clubs and teams. He has authored 17 books on training including the best-selling Training Bible series. For more info, go to his blog at

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