Marathons have held the reputation as the ultimate physical challenge for centuries, and for good reason. Running 26 miles and 385 yards (those extra yards really count!) takes its toll on your body, no matter what your fitness. It's a mission that many of us feel is beyond us. But every journey begins with a single step and with the proper training and a pinch of dedication, you'll be amazed what you can achieve.
About the programme
The following six-month training programme will help you complete a marathon and could help improve your time if it's not your first marathon. Before you embark on a marathon, you should speak with a GP or health professional who can perform some tests to ensure there are no underlying issues that may prevent you taking part.
The plan requires three runs per week:
- Speed - shorter, faster
- Interval - 200m – 1km distance
- Endurance - Long and steady
It also incorporates one to two strength and conditioning sessions per week:
- Full body resistance
- Metabolic conditioning
And one to two active recovery sessions:
- Myofascial release (foam roller / lacrosse ball / orb / tiger tail / rumble roller)
- Stretch techniques (PNF / Band assisted/distraction)
SIX MONTHS TO GO
With six months to go you've got plenty of time to prepare for your marathon, no matter how unfit you feel. This first month should be used to build a base level of fitness and start to build confidence in yourself.
FIVE MONTHS TO GO
FOUR MONTHS TO GOWith four months to go you should focus on improving strength with an emphasis on active recovery. Incorporate weights into your strength and conditioning sessions to continue with improvements in muscle gain and strength.
THREE MONTHS TO GO
At the half way point you should be increasing your training load, including weights in strength and conditioning sessions, to continue with improvements in muscle gain and strength.
TWO MONTHS TO GO
With two months to go the end is in sight, but it's not the time to slack off yet. This month's training has an emphasis on post-workout recovery and mobility to avoid injury. It also adds maximal effort dynamic movements and short, high intensity cardiovascular intervals to your strength and conditioning.
ONE MONTH TO GO
In your final month you might be tempted to go full force with your training, but in fact it's most important you protect yourself from injury. So this month is broken down into two sections - the first, a continuation of your programme; the second a deloading of effort to give your body rest before race day.
Last updated Thursday 27 October 2022
First published on Thursday 9 June 2016