How To Use Marathon Training Schedule Beginner/Intermediate

Many different things must fit together on the marathon distance before the race will be a success. With a Marathon Training Schedule and the right preparation, you can do a lot to have a positive experience. Below you will learn how to use the marathon training schedule for beginners/intermediate runners. The schedule is the Specialization, which shows how to put it all together in practice forward to the marathon race.

The schedule is for beginners/easy experienced and continues from the basic schedule but first, we will take a look at the training types in the schedule and their purposes. A blueprint so you know what it is all about.

Long Slow Distance LSD 1 and LSD 2

marathon training schedule The long run LSD 1 and LSD 2 (Long Slow Distance)

Aims to continue the endurance training from the basic training. Both LSD 1 and 2 should accomplish by easy/moderate intensity, i.e. in a comfortable, “talk” pace use your HRM training zone 2. This basic pace becomes faster and faster over time, as long as you are patient and let the body’s adaptation to the training happen by itself.

The Lactate Threshold Training (LT – training)

marathon training schedule runner in LT training

During this period, moves the lactate threshold for when the lactate begins to accumulate in the muscles, and thus you will be able to run closer to the limit for the maximum Oxygen uptake. As described earlier the LT corresponds roughly to your half-marathon pace and a working heart rate at 70-80 % of max. for beginner/easy experienced runners.

This lactate threshold can be determined by running 1 hour on a measured flat route with maximum effort. From the distance you have covered in an hour, you can calculate the time you use per kilometer, which is then used as the LT – training pace.

If you use a heart rate monitor, and have made the two heart rate tests and loaded the results in the HRM, you already know your working zone 3. The LT – training starts as intervals with long pauses between the work intervals – about 3 or 4 minutes. During the program  LT – training also includes tempo runs, test races and competitions on shorter distances as preparation.

The Tempo runs accomplish at the calculated pace, corresponding to the lactate threshold. The length of tempo runs is about 30 min. minutes of work, where the Intensity automatically will be close to the LT, because of the duration.

Test Run

Test runs are a good indicator of whether you are in the right shape concerning your goal or whether it is time to change your ambitions. The purpose of test runs and competition/races on shorter distances is:

  • To determine your physical capacity and do you recover in the right way
  • To research whether you are ready for your planned race
  • Being able to determine your level. The training load may then be adjusted concerning shape progress.
  • To assess the effect of the different training types and how you put them together.
  • To motivate you to more training
  • Making you conscious of the effects when you follow a training program.
  • Being able to predict your performance in your chosen marathon race.

When you participate in races during this period of training, the purpose is also to sharpen your mentality for competition. You get used to running among many other runners if you have not tried that before, which can push you too. These shorter races enhance the speed and thus the fitness toward the marathon goal. The pace should be just below maximum effort.

Before you start with interval training, it will be a good idea to have the right running shoes for the purpose. We will recommend Brooks Hyperion Tempo for Men and for Women an ultralight, fast and responsive running shoe.

A perfect shoe for intervals and tempo runs. A running shoe that just wants you to run forward. A minimalist shoe where everything has been about keeping the weight completely down, which has succeeded without compromising on quality:

Brooks Hyperion Tempo running shoe

How To Use Marathon Training Schedule Beginner/Intermediate Brooks Mens Hyperion Tempo
Brooks Hyperion Tempo is a Neutral running shoe for, great for intervals and tempo runs – Click on the image for more info

Maximal Oxygen Uptake

marathon training schedule runner in max. pace

Performs best at high-intensity training, where you work with an intensity equivalent to 80 to 95 % of the maximum depending on running experience. Since it is a very high pace, this training type accomplishes at short intervals.

High-intensity training is the most optimal way to improve the maximum oxygen uptake (VO2-Max.), since you by this training type, can achieve the greatest total amount of intensive work.

This training type is the most important factor to increase your shape, but you do not have to work to exhaustion to improve this. You will also obtain improvements by reducing the intensity and increasing the duration it takes a longer time but it is less stressful and safer in relation to being overloaded.

High Intensity Training – Find The Balance

It is therefore necessary to find a balance. The intervals should be accomplished with an intensity very close to the current maximum Oxygen uptake. If you are beginner/Intermediate, and not yet have accustomed the body to this intensive training type, you should run these at your 10 km pace.

It is also important that the rest periods between the working periods adapt to the length of the working period.

The optimal rest period should last between 50 and 90 % of the working period. It means that a running period of 4 minutes can be replaced by a rest period between 2 and 3 minutes. In the rest period, you should be in motion, because the blood circulation in the legs will decrease if you just stay and wait. Jog or walk.

High intensity training plan

If you run with a heart rate monitor or a stopwatch, you can set it to count down in the rest periods from let’s say 3 min. When you finish an interval, you start the countdown. When the timer beeps after the 3 minutes, you run the next interval and so on. Unless of course, you have a coach to manage the time. In this way you can manage your training.

Fartlek Training

Is to create variation, to keep your training from getting too boring, and obtain a better sense of your pace range. Include 6-8 strides here, and you will avoid being too slow, be better to pace shift and get a more optimal step length for your marathon pace.

The training program below is a suggestion. It’s a 14 weeks training schedule followed by 3 weeks tapering schedule. The program is for runners who run about 50 km/week. Race day is your chosen marathon race.

Running Up hills training

Is an alternative to Fartlek. Hill training performs like intervals just in hills and you obtain good muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, better running economy and variation.

Beginner Marathon Training Schedule

Below is a marathon training program for beginners and easy experienced runners. It’s suggestions, so be flexible around your current running level and adapt the program to you and your ambitions.

Marathon training Beginner/easy experienced

Week LSD1 (km) LSD2 (km) LT intervals Test/Tempo runs VO2 – max.  Fartlek/Hill Training Km/Week
1 18 10     30 min. 39
2 20 12 2*2000 m     42
3 20 12 2*2.500 m     44
4 21 12   4*1000 m   46
5 22 14 2*3000 m     46
6 23 14   4*1200 m 30 Min. 48
7 22 16 5 km tempo run     48
8 26 16 6 km tempo run     54
9 27 17     30 min. 54
10 22 17 8 km test run     55
11 28 16     30 min. 57
12 22 17 10 km tempo run     58
13 32 16     30 min. 62
14 25 16 10 km Race (competition)   30 min. 60

The remaining runs that are not described in the program are done as easy runs so that you reach the number of km/week shown in the right column. In this way, it ensures a progression in the course toward a chosen race.

Marathon Tapering Schedule

Below is the tapering schedule for 3 weeks to complete after the 14 weeks above.

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Km
1 Rest 6 km 8 km + 8 strides 5 km

6 km tempo 

Rest 21 km 46
2 Rest 6 km 3*1500 min 10 km pace Rest 7 km Rest 18 km 37
3 Rest 6 km 6 km 5 km Rest 5 km Race day  

I hope you like this blog and if you have any questions about this topic or want to leave your own Personal review, please leave a comment below.

How many months do you need to train for a marathon?

A rule of thumb as a complete beginner is 26 weeks. You have to find your current running level and follow a training program from there. By following a strict training plan you'll gradually improve your fitness and strength toward the race which is very important.  

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14 thoughts on “How To Use Marathon Training Schedule Beginner/Intermediate”

  1. Thank you for sharing this training schedule. Sometimes life is just so hectic and I have the marathon coming, the schedule will be very handy to have so I can make that I am staying on track for the upcoming marathon. Hopefully, after this covid-19 all the marathons will go back to normal. Will share you post to all my friends who are runners. 

    • Thank you for your comments. Life was also hectic to me until I was sent home because of Corona and everything was closing down. So I decided to write about marathon training sitting here alone. But this Covid-19 is only temporary and things will go normal again. Today we can run outside at least in my country but maybe  we should chose the woods or other places to run alone as I prefer.

  2. Hey there, 

    I’ve never actually ran a marathon but I would like to. The furthest I‘ve ran so far is 5k and that had my legs feeling like jelly haha. It seems very organised and I know where to start now. It’s also more motivating to follow a plan so I will give it a go. Your plan is very clear and it’s easy to see the progression that I should be making throughout the training. Thanks for the information. 


    • Thank you for the comments. The most important when starting running is to know your starting point and then take it from there. 5k was maybe a little too much as starting point

  3. This is exactly what I was looking for (more than I was looking for actually). A clear, step-by-step, action-oriented schedule to help me become marathon worthy. I loved the detail, the tips, and straight forward instructions this one contains. I’ve already bookmarked it and I will print it out later today.

    I mean, I’m so happy I stumbled upon this. I truly appreciate you devoting the time and expertise to create this. Now, it’s just doing the grueling work. And that I feel I can manage.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    • Thank you for the comments. I’m happy than it’s something you can use and that you say “that I feel I can manage”… You got it.

      Be well

  4. nice artilcle. I have a cousin who runs maraton races and has a dream to become one of the best but it has really been challenging for his as his body does not let him be what he wants to be and it has been really depressing for him. I already shared this article with him cos it is well detailed on how to work on your endurance level and also lactate threshold levl and maximum oxygen uptake. I beleive this will go a long way helping achieve his dream.

  5. helloo dear, wow an amazing post you have here i  see you have written a very thorough article here. these has been one of the most thorough and laid down article ive read so far, it crazy with what you can accomplish with the right post, your website is plain and simple easy to navigate and understand, i really do fancy these post alot thanks i already saved these post so as much as to come back for future reference

  6. Hello there thanks for this insightful review it was really helpful. Running a marathon is hard, but the training can be even harder. Most runners need 3-4 months of specific marathon preparation. The less you run per week, the more time you need. Long Run Distance. Since it takes 3-4 months to prepare for a marathon, you can’t start from scratch and expect to be ready in 16-20 weeks.

    • Hi Philebur

      Thank you for the comment. The results of your marathon run depends on your starting point and your expectations, and if you have experiences from other sports, you have a benefit comparing to the preparing time.

  7. Hello over there, I must say that this is really an amazing and fascinating article on marathon training schedule. I must say that this article is really filled with so much value and quality. This training schedule could really be effective if it’s properly out into practice, Nice one here..

    Thanks once again for sharing.


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