My marathon training plan

10 weeks tomorrow I’ll be taking on the London Marathon for the second time. Last time I trained I ran, ran and ran some more. 4 times a week with the odd yoga session thrown in here and there.

This time I’m approaching it a little differently.

Of course there will be running involved, it’s a marathon after all. But this time there won’t be as much. I’m running 3 times a week maximum. Experience tells me that my body needs time to rest and recover between runs and running more often than that puts me at greater risk of injury. 3 times a week will be just fine.

My long runs are once a fortnight rather than every week. The reason for this is mainly based on my goal to keep losing fat while I train for the marathon. Long slow runs and fat loss aren’t best friends so my aim is to keep the long runs to a minimum. They need to be done sure, they’re the bedrock of marathon training, but based on my experience of training for half marathons over the last year I think every other week will work for me.

RunningMy other runs will be short and fast. At least one interval training run, sometimes two. Every other weekend I’m going to Parkrun and using that as tempo training. Running faster than my marathon pace at a speed where I can just about speak a sentence. It’s not pleasant, but it is effective. I’ll also be running the 5 miles home from work now and again. Traffic and pedestrians permitting I’ll aim to run these at marathon pace.

So that’s the running sorted. But I’m also working on my strength. I’m following Julia’s Fat Burn Revolution Programme again from the start – I’m currently about to start week 3 of phase 1. This means 2-3 weight training sessions every week as well as some bodyweight High Intensity Interval Training. Weight training has been an absolute revelation for me and it’s played a huge part in improving my running and helping me shed fat.

To help with my core strength I’m also doing regular classes at Tempo Pilates.


I love the classes at Tempo. Either 45 minute or 1 hour classes set to awesome playlists with fantastic friendly trainers who know just how far to push you. The reformer machine might look like an instrument of torture, and sometimes my body feels like it is, but it’s been so great for my core strength that I love it. When I was planning out my marathon training I knew that these classes had to be part of it. If you’re a runner and you’ve not tried out a reformer class then I’d highly recommend it, and if you’re in London then you should most definitely give Tempo a try. A word of warning though – it is addictive.

And finally my old friend yoga. Definitely not to be forgotten as the saviour of my legs (and mind) on many occasion. During January I’ve been taking part in a 21 days of yoga challenge and have found it relatively easy to slot a short session into my day. I’ve started practicing at home, something I’d not previously done and that’s made a huge difference. It’s something I plan on continuing over the next few months.

So that’s the plan – training 6 days out of 7, often with double sessions in a day, but never of the same type of exercise.

And the 7th day? That’s for a very much deserved rest!


What does your marathon training programme look like? Do you incorporate other types of exercise or focus exclusively on running? Leave me a comment and let me know.

10 thoughts

  1. Has been 4x run + 2x strength training per week, with a long run once a fortnight (like you!). Waiting for clearance to run again following calf strain.

    Will be 3-4 runs/week + 2 strength training + 0-1 cross training per week, with the “runs” being RWR from the start, and the long run still once a fortnight. Meanwhile, strengthening and stretching the calf, using crosstraining as a substitute for the running I can’t do. It’s not as much fun as running!

    On the week with the long run, I’ll swap one of the other runs for cross-training.

  2. Varying things up is always good to keep things interesting.
    Pilates and Yoga have well-deserved places in any marathon plans. Tempo Pilates looks like something that I would love to try.

    Having said that I run well when I run 5 times a week
    1x tempo run
    1x easy run
    1x mid distance (between 9-12 miles)
    1x long run
    1x 3 miler around a tiny lake (6 laps, I use this as mental training so I can deal with boredom better)
    Twice a month this 3miler get changed into a second long run for a ‘back to back long runs weekend’ but that is just because my main race is an ultra this year and I am trying to train my legs to run on tired muscles.

    sorry, this turned into a dissertation.
    but I love reading about how others train!

  3. I definitely want to try out tempo pilates!
    My training has been- 1x track run, 1x treadmill interval run, 1x long run.
    1x yoga session. 1x swimming. 1x strength training. 1x rest day!

  4. I’m currently training for my very first marathon so I always find it interesting to hear about others training plans. Everyone is so unique in the way that they train 🙂

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