RW’s Ultimate Marathon Schedule: Get You Round

This month we begin preparing, as beginners and slower runners, to get round the marathon. The goal is simple: to line up healthy and well-trained at the start, and cross the finish line smiling. It can be done. With a little patience, you can have the best marathon experience of your life.

There are two key features to this plan. First, all the training is ‘time-based’. There are no miles to keep track of, no distances to measure. If you’ve got a watch, you’re ready to begin. Second, it is based on the Galloway Run-Walk method. I have used this method in each of the 23 marathons I’ve run, and have used it in training with thousands of other runners. It works.

As opposed to those who beat themselves up in the early stages, only to find themselves walking the last eight miles, we will integrate scheduled walk breaks into our training and into our race. At the Flora London Marathon, we figure that the ‘Get you Round’ pacing team passes nearly 3000 people on our way to the finish.

The time listed on each day of the schedules is the total time of the work-out. You alternate running and walking in those intervals for the entire work-out.

Week One
Mon Rest
Tue 20 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 30 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 40 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 80 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2

Week Two
Mon Rest
Tue 30 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 40 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 45 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 1hr 40 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2

Week Three
Mon Rest
Tue 40 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 45 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 50 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 1 hr 50 mins: run 4 mins, walk 2

Week Four
Mon Rest
Tue 40 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 50 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 55 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 2hrs: run 4 mins, walk 2

Pep Talk

The key is consistency. If you’ve been tempted to skip a session every now and then, it’s time to rededicate yourself to the goal of reaching the starting line healthy and the finish line happy. Thousands of us will be out there that Sunday morning in April. You don’t want to be left behind.

Focus on making each session a small goal in itself. Take a minute to congratulate yourself on getting out there on those days when you don’t feel like it. Take pride in those days when you train even though you have plenty of excuses not to.

The payoff will be there on race-day. But the preparation needs to begin in earnest today.

Week Five
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 55 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 55 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 2hrs 20 mins: run 4 mins, walk 2

Week Six
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 60 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 60 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 90 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1

Week Seven
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 65 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 65 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 2hrs 40 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1

Week Eight
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Wed 70 mins: run 3 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 65 mins: run 3 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 3hrs: run 4 mins, walk 1

Pep Talk

This is the time to start making mistakes in your longer runs. You want to make all of your mistakes before marathon day. The long runs are the time to experiment with your kit (do you prefer shorts or tights; long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts), experiment with how to drink water and how much to drink, and experiment with energy drinks, gels and bars.

And remember, the goal is to start healthy and finish smiling.

Week Nine
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 75 mins: run 4 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 65 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 90 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1

Week Ten
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 80 mins: run 4 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 65 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 3hrs 30: run 5 mins, walk 1

Week Eleven
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 85 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Thu Rest
Fri 65 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 90 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1

Week Twelve
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 90 mins: run 4 mins, walk 2
Thu Rest
Fri 65 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 3 hrs 30 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1

Pep Talk

The big day is nearly upon us. Now is the best time to do some final preparation, both mental and physical. Running a marathon isn’t one big challenge; it’s a series of small challenges. On race day, you’ll want to break up the miles into smaller segments, setting shorter goals along the course to help keep you motivated. We’ll celebrate each mile.

Training well means tapering well. Beginning three weeks before the marathon, you need to reduce your daily and weekly mileage. You’ve worked hard – your body has gone through an amazing transition – and now it’s time to allow it to get fully recovered before marathon day. Don’t try to squeeze in just a little more training.

Race-day Rule 1: Don’t try anything new. Now is not the time to experiment with the latest fad diet, fuel source, shoe design or clothing advancement. Stick to what your body knows. Stick to what you know worked in the training runs.

Race-day Rule 2: Pace yourself from the very first mile. Plan to run the first half of the marathon slower than the second half. That way, you won’t worry about getting behind early.

And remember, in the end, the difference between a marathoner and a non-marathoner isn’t the training, the diet, the clothes or the willpower. The difference is that one single step across the finish line. On April 22, we’re not going to worry about running 26.2 miles. Together, we’re going to do everything we can to take that final step.

Week Thirteen
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 75 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Thu Rest
Fri 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 4hrs: run 5 mins, walk 1

Week Fourteen
Mon Rest
Tue 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 60 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1
Thu Rest
Fri 45 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 2hrs: run 5 mins, walk 1

Week Fifteen
Mon Rest
Tue 30 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 45 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1
Thu Rest
Fri 30 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun 70 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1

Week Sixteen
Mon Rest
Tue 20 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Wed 30 mins: run 5 mins, walk 1
Thu Rest
Fri 20 mins: run 4 mins, walk 1
Sat Rest
Sun The race: run 5 mins, walk 1