Marathon Training Plan & Race Day Tips

September 3, 2021 / ASICS Australia
If you’re all ready to race in your first-ever full marathon, the ASICS marathon training plan will get you there.
Marathon Training Plan & Race Day Tips

Designed for beginners, it’s a 16-week marathon training plan, plus one extra week leading up to race day. It will show you how to train for a marathon and help you gain valuable strength,speed, and flexibility necessary to complete the race.

  • 17-week marathon training plan for beginners
  • Race day tips for marathon runners
  • Frequently asked questions about how to train for a marathon
  • How many weeks does it take to train for a marathon?
  • What is the best clothing to wear during a marathon?
  • What shoes should I run a marathon in?
  • What is a good finishing time?

17- WEEK MARATHON TRAINING PLAN FOR BEGINNERS

This 17-week marathon training plan for beginners is designed for runners who can comfortably run a distance of 10K. This free marathon training schedule will take you through a three-day training week with rest days in between to give your body time to recover. By progressively increasing your mileage each week, you will develop the strength, endurance and speed needed to run your first successful marathon.

Before starting any exercise program, make sure you get the all-clear from your physician or healthcare practitioner. ASICS cannot accept any liability to injuries which occur while training via the schedule we provide.

To help keep you on track and accurately monitor your workouts, download for free the ASICS RunkeeperTM app.

Week 1

Monday: 10K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 10K run (low to moderate intensity). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 10K run (5K easy + 5K steady, challenging pace). General strength and core work.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 2

Monday: 10K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 10K run (low to moderate intensity). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 10K run (5K easy + 5K steady, challenging pace). General strength and core work. Stretching.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 3

Monday: 12K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace), 6x1000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K (easy). Stretching.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 4

Monday: 12K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 2x15 mins fast, 2-min rest each. 3K run (easy pace). Stretching.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 16K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 5

Monday: 14K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 3x10 mins fast, 2-min rest each. 3K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 6

Monday: 10K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 3x10 mins fast, 2-min rest each. 3K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 20K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 7

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 3x3000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 8

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 2x15 mins fast, 2-min rest each. 3K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 9

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 2x5000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 20K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery

Week 10

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 5x2000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 13K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 22K run (easy pace). Stretching.

Week 11

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 3x3000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 13K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 25K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 12

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 1000M fast, 2000M fast, 3000M fast, 4000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 25K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 13

Monday: 13K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 3x3000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday:

12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 24K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 14

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 2x6000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 20K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 15

Monday: 10K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 14K run (race pace). 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 13K run (easy pace). General strength and core work. Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 16

Monday: 15K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4K run (easy pace). 8x1000M fast, 2-min rest each. 2K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 14K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Week 17

Monday: 12K run (low to moderate intensity). General strength and stretching.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 10K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 6K run (easy pace). Stretching and active recovery.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Race Day!

RACE DAY TIPS FOR MARATHON RUNNERS

No marathon training plan is complete without proper nutrition, hydration and a race-day game plan to get you through. Here are some tips to follow on the day of your marathon to ensure your race is a successful one:

  • Eat carbohydrate-dense food. Keep your meals light on race day and avoid foods high in fat and fibre or anything that can cause stomach upset. You want nutrient-dense carbohydrates like bananas, granola, and toast with jam.
  • Drink plenty of water before the race. About an hour before the race, make sure you’re properly hydrated according to your bodyweight and how hot it is outside. During the race, it is important to replace valuable electrolytes with sports drinks and gel packs, and to check into the aid stations along the way.
  • Do a proper warm up. Ideally before your last meal, do some light jogging for about 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of stretching. This will get the blood flowing and help to prepare your joints and muscles for exercise.
  • Pace yourself. Practice your race-day pace the last week of your marathon training plan. This will help you determine your comfort level and condition your body to know what to expect.
  • Protect your skin. Make sure you use sunscreen and some kind of balm or skin barrier cream to help prevent chafing.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO TRAIN FOR A MARATHON

If you are a beginner to running marathons, you probably have a lot of the same questions as other runners. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below:

HOW MANY WEEKS DOES IT TAKE TO TRAIN FOR A MARATHON?

Training for a marathon can take anywhere from 12 weeks to 20 weeks, depending on your fitness level and the personal goals you set for yourself. Want a personalised training plan that fits to your schedule? Sign up to OneASICS for a 90-day free trial of ASICS Runkeeper™ Go and get race day ready at your pace.

WHAT IS THE BEST CLOTHING TO WEAR DURING A MARATHON?

You want lightweight, comfortable running gear made of breathable material that is quick drying. Some runners like shorts with an inner compression lining for extra support. Others prefer shorts with a longer inner short that’s soft and stretchy to help prevent chafing. With tops, it all depends on personal preference and of course, the weather on race day. Do you want to go sleeveless, or do you prefer longer sleeves to protect against chafing? With lots of options to suit your preference, ASICS Running Clothing will help you experience a more comfortable run.

WHAT SHOES SHOULD I RUN A MARATHON IN?

Every marathon runner needs a comfortable and lightweight pair of running shoes with extra cushioning, durability, and shock absorption. Look for shoes with extra support in the heel and forefoot and a breathable upper for moisture control. Get your foot fitted, and whichever shoe you choose, make sure you test them out during training to make sure they’re the right marathon shoe for you. A great place to start is with our Running Expert Collection - a curated range of technical ASICS running shoes - perfect for your next marathon.

WHAT IS A GOOD FINISHING TIME?

Most marathons set a maximum time limit of 7 hours to complete the race. For seasoned runners, average finishing times vary from 3:30 to 4:30 hours. But for beginners, a finishing time of 5 to 6.5 hours is not unheard of. You will get a good sense of where to set your finishing time based on your training and the comfortable running pace you set for yourself. Aim for an attainable finishing time and one that aligns with your comfort and fitness level.