Run - Marathon Basic Training Plan (16 weeks)

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Run - Marathon Basic Training Plan (16 weeks)


Vision Quest Coaching

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16 Weeks

Typical Week

1 Day Off, 3 Run, 2 X-Train, 1 Strength

Longest Workout

26.2 miles

Plan Specs

running marathon beginner

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This plan is intended for a first time marathoner who wants to be prepared to complete 26.2 miles. It will likely start a little too aggressively for a complete beginner, so if your are not already comfortable running at least a 5k or active in some other endurance sport, we would recommend starting with our 8-week 5k or 10k training plans prior to beginning this plan.

Aerobic endurance and proper pacing are the most important qualities to successfully completing a marathon, so this plan focuses on a steady increase in weekly training volume and run intensity is limited. Cross-training is recommended once a week, and as an optional replacement for one weekly run for those who may be dealing with an injury or who have a history of running-related injuries.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 02:22
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 02:22
Average Weekly Breakdown

Vision Quest Coaching

Vision Quest Coaching

We offer one-on-one coaching and a variety of consultation options to all athletes, as well as performance testing, bike-fitting and facility-based memberships to athletes in the greater Chicago area.

Sample Day 1

4 mile Run

Weekday runs will include shorter durations making it easier to fit them into a busy schedule. The volume will increase, but at a slower rate than the weekend runs. Start by running at an easy to moderate pace as you get into the running routine.

Sample Day 2

Cross-Train or Easy Run

Cross-training with a low-impact sport will help to improve fitness with less strain on the body than running. Suitable options include swimming or cycling. If training in a gym, rowing or eliptical trainers are also useful tools.

If you really enjoy running and are healthy, feel free to include a short run today. Notice the duration is scheduled in time rather than distance today, stick to that whether you cross train or run.

Sample Day 3

4 mile Run

Steady 4 mile run at an easy- to moderate-pace.

Sample Day 4

Strength & Stability Training

A light routine of strength and stability training will promote total-body fitness and help you to remain more efficient and healthy during your run training.

Perform the following exercises in a circuit, repeating 2-3 times.
- Front Planks - 60 seconds;
- Side Planks - 30 seconds each side;
- Glute Bridges - 15 reps;
- Lateral Band Shuffles - 50 small steps;
- Squats - 15 reps;
- Lateral Lunges - 15 reps each leg;
- Hamstring Curls on a stability ball - 15 reps;
- Pushups - 15 reps
- Barbell or Dumbbell Row - 15 reps.

Sample Day 5

8 Mile Run

The weekend run will be a longer duration run to build the endurance necessary to complete a marathon. Run at an easy, sustainable pace that will allow you to adapt to the weekly volume increases over time.

Sample Day 6

Endurance Cross-Training

One of the weekend days will include a cross-training workout as well. This can be the same or a different activity than your weekday cross-training option, but definitely do something other than running. The volume of of the weekend workout will be longer than the weekday workout to build your endurance.

Sample Day 8

4 mile Run

Steady 4 mile run at an easy- to moderate-pace.

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