RW’s Basic Marathon Schedules

The ‘Get You Round’ schedule

A beginner’s programme, mixing some walking with running, over 4-5 days a week.

The idea here is to get you fit enough to make it round the course, regardless of speed, so there’ll be very little fast work. You need to build up endurance and the schedule will help you to cut down on body weight.

The first thing is simply to get used to running regularly. Pace isn’t important, in fact it’s a good idea to go out with the slowest group of friends or clubmates can find.

The only serious training is the long weekend ‘ramble’. Walk briskly most of the way and put in the occasional trot. You shouldn’t get too sweaty or short of breath, but you’ll be spending long enough on your feet to build up your endurance.

You may find that, after the initial burst of enthusiasm, regular training starts to get tedious, and you may be tempted to miss a day or two. Try to resist this, because the schedules rely very much on continuity. If you’re forced to miss most of a week for some reason, don’t proceed to the next week, but repeat the one you should have done. It may mean you have to miss half or all of the two-week module in Weeks 13/14, but at least you’ll have built up to the ‘plateau of fitness’ in the right way.

The Intermediate Schedule / The Advanced Schedule

Intermediate: For runners aiming for 3:30-4:30, with training over 5-6 days, and from 32 to 48 miles a week.
Advanced: For runners aiming for sub-3:30, with training over 6-7 days, and from 44 to 60 miles a week.

These schedules contains a mixture of repetition running, hill sessions and pace runs, for improving running speed, plus long runs for endurance. For advanced runners, the highest weekly mileage reaches a plateau of 55-60 miles a week, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do more than that. We’ve based our plans on one session a day, but you could easily add 15-20 miles a week by putting in an extra daily session of three or four miles before breakfast or lunch. However, it is training hard and training long that counts – the rest makes little difference.