Curious How Much Training it Takes to Run a Marathon?

I have many people ask me how many weeks and how much running it takes to train for a marathon.  Most training plans are around 18 weeks in duration.  The assumption to this is that you can run for 30 minutes without stopping before starting a training plan.  Below is my training schedule for the OKC Memorial Marathon at the end of April.  Each number is how many miles to be run that day.  “Cross” means you cross train on that day.  Cross training is doing some kind of exercise beneficial to marathon prep that is not running.  This is most commonly done by riding a bike, using an elliptical machine, swimming, or some other low impact exercise.

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

5

Rest

3

5

8

Cross

3

2

5

Rest

3

5

9

Cross

3

3

5

Rest

3

5

6

Cross

3

4

6

Rest

3

6

11

Cross

3

5

6

Rest

3

6

12

Cross

3

6

5

Rest

3

6

9

Cross

3

7

7

Rest

4

7

14

Cross

4

8

7

Rest

4

7

15

Cross

4

9

5

Rest

4

Rest

13

Cross

4

10

8

Rest

4

8

17

Cross

4

11

8

Rest

5

8

18

Cross

5

12

5

Rest

5

8

13

Cross

5

13

8

Rest

5

5

20

Cross

5

14

5

Rest

5

8

12

Cross

5

15

8

Rest

5

5

20

Cross

5

16

6

Rest

5

4

12

Cross

5

17

5

Rest

4

3

8

Cross

4

18

Rest

3

4

Rest

Rest

2

Marathon

There are numerous plans available for novice to advanced runners.

If you are new to running and attempting your first half or full marathon, I recommend one of the plans from Jeff Galloway.  You can find his training programs and other resources on his website: http://www.jeffgalloway.com.

If you are just starting out, see my blog post on how to get started with running: here.  I also have recorded a podcast about my experience running my first marathon.  Listen here.

Another great resource for marathon training plans are those by Hal Higdon.  The schedule above that I am using is one from Higdon.  Check out his plans and resources here: http://www.halhigdon.com

Running a marathon takes a huge amount of time, effort, and discipline, but achieving the goal feels great.  I wish you all the best if you are attempting your first half/full marathon in 2014.

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