This 32 Week Beginner Marathon Training Schedule is one of THE most popular training plans on this site!
Runners love it as it is ideal for those who need a little more time when training for a marathon.
Get this free printable marathon training schedule pdf at the bottom of this page! Bonus: it comes in both miles and kilometers.
A lot of marathon training programs are about 16-20 weeks in length.
While this might be the ideal for many runners, we all vary when it comes to our running history, current goals, and fitness level.
This 32 week schedule will help you on your way to running a fantastic marathon while taking your time to focus on building up your endurance level.
Still not sure if you are ready for a marathon? Answer these specific questions to determine if you are ready to begin a marathon training schedule.
Everyone runs a marathon for different reasons. Runners usually try to pick a training plan that will help them fulfill their marathon goals.
The most important thing to keep in mind as a first time marathoner training with this 32 week marathon training program is that you are not racing to meet a certain time.
You are running the marathon for the huge accomplishment of finishing it!
This program will just ease you into beginner marathon training and set you up for future marathons wherein which you can have a time goal.
Runners, especially beginners, training for a marathon have a high risk of injury due to the high mileage that they are running each week, and it increases as you add in factors such as:
Therefore, the easiest thing you can do during a marathon training program is become injured.
Taking it slow and prudently the first time will help to get you across the finish line in full health!
This is why stretching out your marathon training and doubling it to 32 weeks is perfect for preventing injury and allowing yourself to set a sturdy foundation for your marathon race.
Before most runners begin a marathon training schedule they should first run for about 3-6 months, consistently.
It is never a good idea to jump into marathon running and training if you haven’t been a regular runner for awhile.
Your body needs to adapt and strengthen itself towards the high intensity of running before it can take on the marathon.
However, since this program gives you such a gradual buildup you could begin training earlier and have the first few weeks serve as your consistency training as you build endurance and work into the plan.
By the way, here are the best 16 things you can do before you begin any marathon training program.
As you can see in the plan below, this training program has a very gradual build up in how far you are running during each of your scheduled long runs.
Remember that this is to help your body keep up with the training program, avoid injury, and give you a good running base to work with.
Let's talk a bit more about your long training runs as they are the #1 predictor of your marathon race day success!
Your long runs will increase each week by one mile until you hit a total long run of 11 miles in Week 11.
From Week 11 onwards, you will have one easy week, also known as a "reduction week" where your long run mileage will be reduced, followed by a week where you will add on another mile to your last longest long run distance.
Your longest long run will be a total of 22-23 miles during Week 30 of the marathon training schedule, which will lead you into the 26.2 miles of the marathon that takes place 2 weeks following that run.
However, if you don't feel comfortable going over the 20 mile mark, you can just opt to do only 20 milers for any scheduled run over 20 miles.
Here is more information on how far your longest long run should be when training for a marathon.
It will help you to make a more informed decision on how far you want your longest run to be before a marathon.
Your nutrition will play a heavy role as you begin to perform runs over an hour in length.
You definitely want to focus on what you are putting in your body so that it can give back to you the energy that you need to run long distances!
I wrote a series of post on this topic that you might find useful!
This is an area that is important to implement as you ask your body to do one long training run after the next.
I have a 24 hour long run recovery timeline that you can use to really help jump start your recovery process.
It contains a list of things you should focus on during those first 24 hours post long run to help you feel your best and get back out there with your training the following week.
Besides the long run, you also have scheduled:
Yes, this is a very basic marathon training plan that really places emphasis solely on building your endurance in order to complete 26.2 miles.
There are no quality workouts scheduled in this program such as hill repeats, sprints, or intervals.
This is because the main goal of the plan is to take beginner runners and have them increase their endurance in order to get them to the marathon finish line.
You're cutting out any fluff and cutting to the chase when following this beginner marathon training plan!
During each week of training you will have 3 days of shorter runs leading into your long run on the weekend.
These shorter runs will help you to build mileage (running volume) and help your body acclimate to consistent long distance running.
Your running volume, or weekly mileage, is another strong determinant of your race day success. The way to becoming a better runners is running more. Surprise! (or no surprise!)
Therefore these short runs are very important for staying tuned and ready to go for your long run on the weekend and ultimately your marathon race!
You need at least 3 runs per week in order to maintain and increase your running fitness level. These easy base runs help you to do just that.
Three glorious rest days have also been scheduled every week during your training.
Rest days look different from runner to runner.
Some like to literally do nothing active and give their body a complete rest.
Others like to use this time to get an extra stretching session in, do some strength work on weak areas of their body, or taking an Epsom salt bath.
I like to recommend that you find some activity that relaxes you and to include that into your rest day routine.
This might also be the perfect day to work on your mental training which is an often neglected but incredibly effective technique that runners should be tapping into.
My 20 Week Mental Training Plan for Marathoners would be perfect to include on your rest days!
When following a marathon training schedule, never be afraid to make alterations where needed.
I realize that this might bring up doubts about how to do this and if it will change the effectiveness of the plan.
However, if you are keeping the main elements of the plan that make it work with your schedule.
Since this is a basic marathon training plan, there is a lot of flexibility for alterations.
Walking or Running Walking with Using this Plan:
This plan isn't just for runners, you could think about power walking a marathon using this program or doing run/walk intervals versus steady paced running.
Here is a guide on how to use run/walking as a distance runner.
Rescheduling your long runs:
Your long run is scheduled for Sundays however you could move this to Saturdays.
If you chose to do this, simply adjust everything by one day so that your long run falls on Saturday, your rest day on Sunday and then begin the first of your short, base runs on Monday.
Add in Other Running Workouts:
Just because this training plan does not implement any quality workouts doesn't mean that you can't.
If you are feeling a bit stale just doing easy paced base runs and long runs a good entry level running workout that you might enjoy is the tempo run.
Tempo runs can be done once a week and for this specific training plan a good day to do them would be on Tuesday or Thursday. Here is information on how to perform and run tempo style runs.
Incorporating Cross Training into this Plan:
There is no scheduled cross training on this marathon training schedule however if you would like to include a day of cross training then feel free to do so on one of your rest days.
For this training plan, Wednesday would make a great day for cross training.
Here's information on cross-training including the best and worst activities, how long you should cross train for, and even links to some of my favorite YouTube cross training workouts for runners!
Note: the free printable 32 week marathon training schedule also comes in kilometers.
I do also have a 32 Week Marathon Training Printables Package that I created specifically for this marathon training plan!
You will enjoy it if you like to see visible progress towards your goals and enjoy tracking your runs, mileage and even when you are on point with your nutrition!
It is a 12-page pdf download that contains:
Remember, the theme of this race plan is to be easy on your body and focus on building your running endurance level.
If you follow the guidelines you won't end up tearing yourself up during your training and you will have a very pleasant marathon experience!
Now that you have your marathon training plan, here is your ultimate guide on how to train for a marathon.