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Training plans

Beginner 24 week training plan

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If you're new to running, use this guide to get yourself in shape for the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Introduction: The following training programmes cover a period of 17 weeks. Before embarking on one of these marathon training plans you should have done four to eight weeks of steady running so that you have a foundation of fitness to build on. Each programme is designed to cater for different levels and abilities so it’s important that you choose the right plan for you. A training schedule needs to be challenging but not so that you feel out of your depth.

Key: ER = Easy Run, SR = Steady Run, TR = Threshold Run, HR = Hill Run, FR = Fartlek Run, IR = Interval Run, LR = Long Run, MP = Marathon Pace, 1/2MP = Half Marathon Pace, H&N = Hydration & Nutrition Strategies

Week 1
Monday Rest
Tuesday 10min walk, 20min ER, 5min walk
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 10min walk, 30min ER, 5min walk
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 5min walk, 30min LR, 5min walk, 10min ER, 5 min walk
Week 2
Monday Rest
Tuesday 35min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 5min walk, 35min ER, 5min walk
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 5min walk, 45min LR, 10min walk
Week 3
Monday Rest
Tuesday 40min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 15min ER, 10min SR, 15min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 5min walk, 55min LR, 5min walk
Week 4
Monday Rest
Tuesday 40min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 45min FR as 5min ER, 10min SR, 5min ER, 5min TR, 10min ER, 5min SR, 5 min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 5min walk, 65min LR, 5min walk
Week 5
Monday Rest
Tuesday 45min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 45min FR as 5min ER, 15min SR, 5min ER, 5min TR, 5min ER, 5min SR, 5 min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 5min walk, 75min LR, 5min walk
Week 6
Monday Rest
Tuesday 10min ER, 5 x (3min IR, 2min ER), 15min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 45min FR as 10min ER, 15min SR, 5min ER, 10min TR, 5min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 10miles LR
Week 7 (An easier week to help your body recover and adapt to the training)
Monday Rest
Tuesday 20min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 40min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 50min ER
Week 8
Monday Rest
Tuesday 10min ER, 8 x (2min IR, 2min ER), 10min SR
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 10min ER, 3 x (7min TR, 2min ER), 10min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 12 miles LR. Practise H&N
Week 9
Monday Rest
Tuesday 40min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 60min SR
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 14 miles LR. Practise H&N
Week 10
Monday Rest
Tuesday 50min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 10min ER, 20min HR, 5min ER, 10min SR
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 16 miles LR. Practise H&N
Week 11
Monday Rest
Tuesday 10min ER, 5 x (5min IR, 2.5min ER), 10min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 40min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun Run a Half Marathon
Week 12
Monday Rest
Tuesday 50min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 10min ER, 3 x (8min TR, 2min ER), 5 x 30sec fast, 5min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 18 miles LR 3 x 4 miles MP at start, middle and end. Practise H&N
Week 13
Monday Rest
Tuesday 35min ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 5min ER, 40min SR, 5min ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 20 miles LR. Practise H&N
4 Weeks to go!
Monday Rest
Tuesday 30 mins ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 1 mile ER , 4 miles HMP, 1 mile ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 22 miles LR. This will be your final long training run. Practise MP and H&N
3 Weeks to go!
Monday Rest
Tuesday 30 mins ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 2 miles ER, 4 miles HMP, 2 miles ER
Friday Core & stretching
Sat or Sun 13 miles LR. Practise MP and H&N
2 Weeks to go!
Monday Rest
Tuesday 30 mins ER
Wednesday Rest
Thursday 1 mile ER, 5 x (2 mins IR, 2 mins ER), 1 mile ER
Friday Core & Stretching
Sat or Sun 8 miles ER
1 Week to go!
Monday 10 mins MP, 20 mins HMP, 10 mins MP
Tuesday Rest
Wednesday 20min ER
Thursday Rest
Friday 20min ER
Saturday Gentle stretching
Sunday Race day! Remember to strecth & warm down with a 15 min walk. Eat & drink well.