16 Week Marathon Training Plan: Intermediate level

After completing your first marathon training plan you might ask yourself, "What's next?" This is where you will want to sit down (or go for a run) and think about what your next goals are for yourself.

If the answer is....run another marathon then this 16 week marathon training schedule could be the thing for you. 

Running your first marathon helped you become better adapted to go the distance, made you stronger and faster and you are ready for something a little bit more intense. 

Are You Ready for this 16 week Marathon training Plan?

If you have run at least one marathon then you may be ready to up your training.

Running a second or third marathon race might help you transition better into the more intense training but that is something that you need to decide for your body.

Remember, there is no point rushing things and setting yourself up for injuries.

Here are some other factors to consider before jumping into an intermediate training such as the one below:

  • Run an average of 20-30 miles a week regularly 
  • Have at least one marathon under your belt

How is this Marathon Training Plan Designed?

The following training program is 16 Weeks in length. 

The Goal of this Marathon Training Plan:

The focus of this program is to help you become faster. Compared to the beginner marathon training program , it does require more time and effort but put those in and you will be successful! 

It will  help you to increase your speed and strengthen your mentality. (Yes! Half of the marathon is a mind game so you have to exercise it and prepare it to go the distance.)

Weekly Short Runs:

You have shorter runs scheduled during the week for Mondays, possibly Wednesdays (or it's a Rest Day), Fridays, and Saturdays. These can be run at your normal running pace. 

Weekly Long Run:

Your Long Run is scheduled for Sundays. This can be shifted to really any day of the week. My only requirement is that a rest day follows this long run or a very short recovery run (run at 1-3 minutes slower than your goal race pace). 

You will progressively build your long run distance starting at 10 miles.

For the first 6 weeks of the training plan you will add on 2 extra miles to your long run. The 3rd week you will have a break in your long run build up and run a "shorter" long run. 

Starting Week 7 you will alternate between a long run and a "shorter" long run. 

Your longest long run is scheduled at 23-24 miles. You could keep this run at 20-22 miles depending on how intense your marathon goal pace is, how you mentally handled your marathon during your last race and if your body is feeling up to the mileage. 

During your long run you may choose to do an easy paced long run, a progressive style long run or a marathon goal pace long run. You could also alternate between the different styles of long runs.

The Speed Training Portion of the Marathon Training Plan: 

  • Each  week you will have an alternating tempo run or a interval workout .
  • Speed workouts are always scheduled during weeks that you are not increasing your long run mileage (with the exception of weeks 2 and 4).
  • Tempo runs are always scheduled during weeks in which you are increasing your long run. This is because the tempo runs are not (supposed to be) as strenuous as a speed workout. Both are necessary though to increase your speed duration.

  • Rest:

    • Every 4 weeks is a “light week” which will hopefully give you a mental break plus extra rest for your body.
    • You also have scheduled between 2-3 rest days each week. Your Wednesday rest day is optional. If you are feeling good then opt for the short runs. If you are beginning to feel worn down then take the rest day. You may want to read this page on over-training during a marathon. 


    • Weeks 15 and 16 are “tapering weeks” that will reduce your mileage with the intent of being rested for your big marathon day!

    Remember, hard work always brings a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. 

    I'd love to send you this FREE 16 Week Intermediate Marathon Training Plan PDF package!  Just tell me where it should go!


    16 Week Intermediate Marathon Training Plan

    T = Tempo Run (E.g. T X 5 = A tempo run of 5 miles)

    You should try and pace your tempo runs about 15 secs faster than your marathon goal minute/mile pace.

    However a good guideline is too just run at a slightly difficult speed. (It should be hard for you to carry on a conversation.)

    S = Speed Workout (E.g. S X 4 = A speed workout consisting of 4 miles, preferably four 1 mile intervals .)

    Your speed workouts (intervals) should be run at about 15-30 secs faster than your marathon goal pace. If you plan on running 8:30 minute miles throughout your marathon you should try and run your speed workouts at 8:00 min/mile.) Check out the Pace Chart for help discerning your pace per mile.

    Don't forget your top 3 priorities when training for a marathon!

    As you work through this marathon training plan, remember the 3 most important things to focus on when training for a marathon

    • Your marathon training plan

    Your nutrition will actually need to be honed in on as you train to run faster times and sustain more intense training runs, while asking your body to run a faster marathon goal pace. 

    Put thought into the nutrition and fuel you give your body before, during, and after a long run and then be sure to properly plan and fuel the week before your marathon!

    Give attention to all 3 of these areas and you will have a great marathon race day!

    Don't forget to tell me where to send this FREE 16 Week Intermediate Marathon Training plan pdf! 


    Are you trying to break a time goal? We have 7 Finishing Time Goal Training Plans to help you reach your next PR!

    The plans combine base running with a variety of quality runs that will help you gain strength and speed so that you can crush your time goals!  

    We offer Time Goal Training Plans for these finishing times:

    3:30, 3:45, 4 Hours, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, and 5 Hours.

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