Don’t Make These 9 Errors

So, do you want to join the 11 million or so people in the world running a marathon this year? Congrats! The first thing you need is a solid marathon training plan that is your roadmap to success.

Choosing the right marathon training plan to go 26.2. Mileage matters: Make the wrong marathon training plan, or take it the wrong way, and you’ll never be able to reach the finish line, or worse yet, get injured and not be able to run!

We got you!

In this article, we will cover:

  • What is a good marathon training plan
  • How do I choose the right marathon training plan for me
  • How long should your marathon training plan be
  • How long should a long run marathon be
  • How many miles should you run per week to train for a marathon
  • How many days a week should you run to train for a marathon
  • And 9 Mistakes You Should Avoid With Your Marathon Training Plan

Let’s go!

Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 9 Mistakes

What is a good marathon training plan?

Marathon training involves much more than just running. It involves subtle progression in volume and intensity to get you to the starting line in a healthy and fit manner.

When looking for a marathon training plan, you should find these components:

  • An appropriate starting point for your current fitness level
  • A week a step back, with no mileage increase, every 3-4 weeks
  • Basic stage of easy mileage to start
  • Weekly long flight, usually taken on weekends
  • Mileage decrement period in which you reduce your mileage approximately two to four weeks prior to race day.
Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 9 Mistakes 2

warning: If you’re just running to finish, doing a beginner plan or from couch to marathon, you probably don’t have any quick exercises in your plan. OK! After you get your first marathon under your belt, you can progress to doing doses of running speed.

How do I choose the right marathon training plan for me?

Your marathon training plan should meet you where you are and fit in with your life.

Click here to browse our library of free and downloadable marathon training plans – there’s one for everyone!

When evaluating a potential training plan for yourself, look at two main factors:

Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 9 Mistakes

1. It has a suitable starting distance

Your starting mileage must be equal to or higher than ten percent of your current weekly running volume.

This is critical. If you increase your mileage too quickly, you are more likely to get injured. In fact, an increase in mileage is the most common cause of running injuries.

2. It will fit in your schedule

Your running schedule should fit into your life. If your training plan makes you work 6 days a week and you know your body can only do 5 reps, or you only have time for four rounds a week, you’ll need to find a different schedule.

Staying consistent with your running and sticking to your running schedule as much as possible (life happens, so some changes are to be expected) is really important to achieving your goal of finishing a marathon.

If you miss several training sessions, you will need to expand your range and possibly change your target sprint. If you miss several days to a week of running, it is not recommended to jump back into the plan. You’ll need to reduce your miles and work again to get back to your schedule.

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How Long Should My Marathon Training Plan Be?

Most marathon training plans last about 16 weeks or 4 months. Some may be as long as 6 months, which includes a solid base training phase.

There are some, like us, that are 3 months long and are suitable for runners who have three months of easy runs to build from.

The length of your marathon training plan depends on your current running abilities and your goals for the marathon.

So, Be honest with yourself where to start!

How Long Should I Run Before a Marathon?

Most marathon training plans will include a long run of at least 18 miles. The length of your longest distance, which is 2-4 weeks apart from the race, will depend greatly on the estimated time to finish the marathon.

  • If you plan to run your marathon in 4 hours or less, you will likely have at least one long run of more than 20 miles.
  • If your long run is less than 5 hours, your long run will be finished at about 3:30.
  • If the expected marathon end time is more than 5 hours, long runs should be restricted to 4 hours.
Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 9 5 Mistakes

You should not run 26.2 miles before your marathon because that overworks the body and increases the risk of getting hurt and missing your time goal.

How many miles per week do I need to run to train for a marathon?

You should run at least 25 miles per week To train for a marathon. If you plan to finish faster, 4 hours or less, you should approach 40-50 miles per week to train for a marathon.

How many times a week should I run to train for a marathon?

Depending on your time goal, you should Run at least 3 times, usually 5 days a week To train for a marathon.

9 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Marathon Training Plan

Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 6 Mistakes

1. Starting with very aggressive mileage.

If you choose a marathon training plan that makes you run a lot more than your body is used to running at the time, you are putting yourself at risk of injury.

Choose a plan that fits you with your current fitness level, or 10 percent above your current weekly size.

If the plan you want has a higher number of miles than you can currently run, work up to those miles before starting the plan.

2. Pick a plan that is too short.

You want to choose a training plan that gives you a solid base of your miles and that allows your body to adapt physiologically to running.Including building endurance and musculoskeletal strength.

If your training plan is too short, you won’t have time to build up your fitness to achieve your marathon goal.

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3. Choosing a marathon plan that does not fit the schedule

Don’t pick a marathon training plan that doesn’t fit your lifestyle easily. If longer cycles aren’t doable per day, or if the plan has too many running days to handle, look for a different plan.

If it’s too hard to follow through on the plan, don’t and set yourself up for failure!

4. Inconsistency

The most important way to get better at running is to be consistent with your training. If you get your marathon training here and there, you won’t be ready for race day. This is a guarantee.

Training for a marathon is a commitment, so jump with both feet.

5. Not adjusting your plan for vacation days

If you skip several cycles, it is dangerous to go back to your plan.

You’ll need to add a few days of extended runs to back up your plan. You should also never try to make up for lost miles. This will also expose you to injury.

Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 8 Mistakes

6. Minimizing recovery

The running equation for PRs is stress + rest = success.

Thus, you need to recover as aggressively as you run. Make sure you take your days off, get enough sleep, warm up and cool down, and eat well when training for a marathon. Otherwise, you guessed it, you might get hurt!

7. Inflexibility

Most people choose the race and then choose a marathon training plan. This is risky.

Ideally, you would choose a training plan, and then When you feel secure with your training regimen, sign up for a marathon.

You should never ignore the warning signs that you should postpone your marathon date because your body needs more time.

8. Taper too much or too little

The taper period is where the magic happens.

It allows your body to build itself up again and can increase fitness by 4 percent. It happens two to three (or at most four) weeks before the race and still includes some long runs and workouts.

However, if you run too much or too little while tapping, you can reach the starting line with flat legs. Make sure your plan includes long runs and reduced speed — but still includes both components.

Marathon Training Plans Don't Make These 9 Mistakes

9. Not having fun!

Marathon training is supposed to be fun! But it can easily turn into grinding.

So, be sure to get in touch with the “why” to run this marathon.

Run with friends or find a training group. This can make miles fly near you and give you accountability. And review your training regularly in a log to show your progress on your journey!

After the perfect marathon training plan for you? Check out ours!

For beginners:

This is great for a first time marathon:

Looking to break 4 hours? This is for you!:

For seasoned runners looking to break the 3-hour barrier:

Whitney Haines

Whitney Haynes is the founder of The Mother Runners and a VDOT-O2 certified running coach. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with her two crazy and beautiful children, puppies, and her husband. She is currently training to qualify for the 2024 US Olympic Trials marathon.

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