Sample Marathon Schedules

This page gives two sample marathon schedules. One details an option to train by time and one details an option to train by distance. Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions and that there are many other plans available which you might like to investigate. For further reading, the following article looks at some of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach – Click Here

The 15 week, train by time schedule, assumes you have a good aerobic base behind you and that you are able to run for approx 90mins at your EASY pace at the start of week 15. The train by distance schedule assumes you are able to run for approx 9miles at your EASY pace at the start of the schedule.

The Sunday run is only a small part of your overall marathon training so ensure you include the right balance of other training during the week. The schedules are geared towards Brighton on 17th April 2015 but for other events such as London, just shunt the plans forward a week or two and/or have a longer, four week taper. Read the article on having a good taper, again available on the website – Click Here

Long Slow Run – Run at EASY pace. This EASY pace should be aprox 60-90secs slower than your intended marathon pace. This means where you can hold a full conversation (with yourself or others) or aprox 3-4 on a scale of 1-10. Later on, include some segments of your intended marathon effort or aprox 5-6 on that scale of 1-10 within your long slow runs. Start with a few surges in the early weeks then build to a couple of blocks of three to four miles towards the end of your run. Doing these towards the end of your long run, when your legs are tired, will replicate race day when you have to put more effort in to maintain the same pace towards the end. See the Pace Guide on the BHR website – Click Here

If you want to be a bit more specific about pace and know what your specific training paces should be, put a recent race time into the calculator below. It will show you what your easy and other training paces should be for achieving best results. Repeat the benchmarking a couple of times between now and race day to allow for improvements. Do a final benchmark a few weeks before the marathon to take some of the guess work away about what pace to run on race day.

Train by Time Schedule

This will lead you to a run of a maximum time of 3hrs for the long run. This may suit you better, especially (but not exclusively) if you are a slower runner so give it a try. Training to set distances, especially in the later stages of a marathon training plan, can mean a far longer run in terms of time that will add any physiological benefit. If you are a slower runner and do the same mileage as a faster runner, you will actually be doing a much "longer" run in terms of time. This will have the effect of placing more stress on your body than is beneficial. It will increase injury potential and will require longer recovery meaning you are not able to train effectively in the following days. Your body doesn’t understand distance, it's the duration of effort that represents the amount of training stress.

The “Train by Time” schedule will allow you to compete in WSFRL races without having to do additional miles afterwards. If you are unable to compete in a WSFRL event (you should really try to do these as it's great to race and can give a real edge to your training), there is an alternative session suggested. The “Train by Time” schedule will also allow you to take part in the club “Sunday Runs”, either completing the whole distance or part of it based on time, depending on your individual fitness / ability level.

It’s important not to increase your over-all weekly mileage too quickly (not just the long run in isolation). Around 10-15% per week is considered by most as a safe amount.

For more detail of running by time and to a max of aprox 3hrs, see the articles in the training area of the BHR website – Click Here and in particular, this article – Click Here.

There are many half marathons and other events around Feb and March (Brighton, Steyning, Eastbourne, Hastings, Paddock Wood etc). There are plenty of options for switching these weeks around on both schedules to fit races in. Play around with times & distances to achieve the best balance for you. This point will be a good time to take stock, review the last few weeks and make any adjustments to your training, whatever schedule you have chosen to follow. If you are a BHR member and would like some advice on optimising your training over this period without under or overdoing it, please email any of the coaches.

Train by Distance Schedule

The train by distance schedule has been put together by Keith Delderfield and will lead to a long runs based on fixed mileage. The option of completing extra miles after WSFRL events will usually be available if you have chosen that option.

Sunday Run Schedule 2016 (aimed at the Brighton Marathon if you are doing London only then adjust accordingly)