2018 Training Plans

Start your journey with Mo-Joe

Prepare for your Virgin Money London Marathon challenge with Mo-Joe, an Audible Original audio show.

The 18-week training diary joins Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah and Body Coach Joe Wicks as they lend their advice, expertise and moral support to George Lamb as he trains for the Virgin Money London Marathon. This blood, sweat and tears journey follows George as he transforms from couch potato to long-distance athlete in just 17 short weeks. Packed with entertaining anecdotes and essential training tips, this series gives budding runners all the help they need when it comes to getting marathon fit.

Mo-Joe is available now at

Your Marathon Training Plan

We want to ensure you make it to the Start Line so you can experience the joy of the adventure that is running a marathon. With that in mind, our coaching expert Martin Yelling has devised a training plan to help you get race ready.

The plan is aimed at novice marathon runners covering the distance for the first time, with a few tweaks and challenges if you want to test yourself, or if you feel like pushing on a bit if your training is going really well.

The plan assumes that you will aim to run three times a week, and you’ve done very little running in the past but are generally in good health and committed to your marathon journey. The days of the week shown are not fixed and only proposed. If you change them, try to ensure that a run day is followed by a rest day (for example, run on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday or Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday). 

Martin has broken your marathon training plan down into four key phases. Each phase is four weeks long. Work through each week concentrating only on the daily run and week that lies ahead.

How to use the Training Plan

Easy or recovery runs (less than 60% effort)

During an easy run, you should feel relaxed. You should be breathing comfortably and be capable of holding a conversation throughout the run.

If you’re a new runner nothing may feel easy at first – slow down, walk if necessary and control your effort.

Steady runs (60-70% effort)

These are the bread and butter of your training, the ‘miles in the bank’. Steady runs build the base that is the foundation for the rest of your training. Conversations are still possible at this pace but in sentences rather than long gossip.

Tempo runs (70-80% effort)

Running at tempo pace is great for improving your running economy. It’s a sustained cruise pace that requires concentration but you can hold on to. You will find these runs slightly uncomfortable as you try to run faster but they are worth it.

Long runs

These are a real focus of the plan. They should be used to develop strength and endurance but also to practise your target marathon pace and control. Long runs are shown in both time and distance.

Interval or mixed pace running

These include periods of higher intensity effort or faster running interspersed with periods of recovery or rest.