Marathon Training Program for Beginners

Before you make a commitment to run a marathon, you need to develop a carefully planned marathon training program. Running 26.2 miles is no easy task and the ability to cross the finish line doesn’t happen overnight.

Marathons have become a popular sport in America. The Chicago marathon recently had over 45,000 registered runners. While some runners compete for the fastest time, many participants are recreational runners. These runners often set personal goals to complete a marathon.

Marathon Training ProgramWith the growth of the sport, marathons are popping up all over, and many races fill up with professional as well as novice runners.

The one thing that both seasoned and new runners have in common is the fact they will need to do some serious pre-race training to successfully run a marathon.

Training Tips

Proper training for a marathon is mandatory for a successful outcome. Many runners start their marathon training programs about six months prior to the race.

Training routines often vary and can depend on the skill level and experience of the runner.

Recreational runners often aim at 20 to 40 miles of running a week, while advanced runners can easily log in over 100 miles in any given week.

According to American College of Sports Medicine fitness instructor Jacob Havenaf, “Training for and running a marathon is a huge commitment.” Research has revealed that people who are motivated to run a marathon to lose weight or gain notoriety are frequently unsuccessful in their training results.

According to a study completed by the American College of Sports Medicine, over 70% of first-time marathon runners do not complete their training.

How to Get Through Training?

A carefully planned marathon training program can help get you through the 26.2 miles of pain. James Pivaryk, Ph.D of the American College of Sports Medicine advised that the two key factors for success are strong legs and lungs.


To effectively strengthen both your legs and your lungs, you will need to run some serious miles during training. Most hopeful marathon runners will typically train four days a week and will average about 20 weekly miles.

This will help build the foundation for your program. To avoid injury, it’s best not to increase your daily runs more than 10%. If you increase your distance too much, you may suffer from overuse injuries.


During your four day running schedule, plan on taking the other three days off. This will give your body a much-needed opportunity to recover.

Here is an example of a 10 week marathon training program schedule:

  • Run 3 miles for the first three days and 4 miles on the fourth day.
  • During the second week, split the schedule between 3 and 4 miles and run 5 miles on the fourth day.
  • Gradually add miles each week, until the 10th week, when you’re at the 13th mile mark.

Research indicates that if you can successfully run between 10 to 12 miles three weeks before the marathon, you are likely to complete the 26.2 mile race.


Along with the rigorous marathon training program, a proper diet is crucial to success. Avoid eating foods that are high in fat and calories. Make healthy carbohydrates, protein and fiber, the center of your diet.

After and during training, remember to drink plenty of water. Also, include essential nutrients such as vitamin C and calcium into your diet plan.


Nagging overuse injuries are the most common complaints of people training for marathons. Sometimes, injuries can be prevented by simply using the right equipment.

Good quality shoes can be compared to proper tires on your car. Without tires, your car wouldn’t go very far. The same principle applies to running with poor quality shoes.

Purchase your running shoes at a store that specializes in running gear. Furthermore, make sure that your shoes fit comfortably. Some specialized running stores will allow you to try the shoes out on a treadmill prior to purchase.

It may also be a good idea to invest in a sports watch. This will allow you to time the runs and track your progress. Some watches are also equipped with heart rate monitors and will count calories burned during activity. This will allow you to target a particular heart rate and know exactly how many calories you burned during your run.

Bottom Line

In the end, many factors play a role in successful marathon training program. With some dedication and persistence, as well as proper training, you can conquer your goal of successfully completing a marathon.