Marathon Training

4 Months to A 4 Hour Marathon by Dave KuehlsIf you are running a Marathon, be it for a worthwhile charity of your choice or your own interest, then this page is for you.  Read on to discover how you can increase the odds that you will finish.

Itís simple! Train the body and mind to do it and eliminate as many factors as possible that might stop you. Letís turn to training first.

Following is a 16-week programme designed to help you complete any marathon. If you are already running on a regular basis then you can adapt the programme accordingly and fit into the relevant week.

If you are just starting then follow the guidelines given.

Good luck!

Training Programme

Use the programme as a guide. It is not rigid, but note that rest days are incorporated and are vitally important.

The long runs should be on Sunday mornings where possible. That is when you will be running the marathon.

The long runs build up slowly and then taper off so you can recover and be fresh. Run them at an easy pace, or your target race pace, and enjoy them.

Fartlek is going out for a run and making it up as you go, mixing fast with slow, walk with run, hills with flat. Enjoy them.

Intervals help to improve your fitness and increase your pace. Run them at a pace that means you can complete the session. For 1 minute efforts recover for 1 minute with a walk. Equate the recovery time to the effort time on the other sessions.

Vary the surfaces you run on. Grass is kind on joints but remember that in the marathon you run on road.

If you have not raced already, find a local race or two and fit it in with the programme where it is relevant. Early on a 10K race, and around Week 10 try a half marathon.

If you want to cross train or work out in the gym you can. Be sensible and fit it in so that you get your recovery periods. Donít substitute for running though. You are not cycling around 26.2 miles.

All sessions should follow a 5 minute gentle warm up and stretch routine. Stretches should be static and eased into. Stretch afterwards also.

A heart rate monitor is a good investment. You will know exactly what your body is doing and how it is reacting to the demands. Run at approximately 75% of your maximum which is simply ( 220 Ė age ) x 75/100.

On the steady run, increase it slightly to a rate you feel comfortable with and one that allows you to finish your run.

When doing the intervals your heart rate may be higher. Donít run over 90% of maximum. If you want advice on monitors call me at London Fitness.

1RD2Ms3MeRD6 x 1 minRD4Me
2RD2Ms3MeRD6 x 1 minRD4Me
3RD3Ms5MeRD8 x 1 minRD6Me
4RD3Ms5MeRD8 x 1 minRD6Me or 10k race
5RD4Ms6MeRD10 x 1 minRD8Me
6RD4Ms6MeRD10 x 1 minRD8Me
7RD5Ms8MeRD12 x 1 minRD10Me
8RD5Ms8MeRD12 x 1 minRD10Me or 10M race
9RD5Ms8MeRD8 x 90 secRD12Me
10RD5Ms8MeRD12 x 90 secRD13Me or 1/2 MARATHON
11RD5Ms8MeRD6 x 3 minRD15Me
13RD5Ms8MeRD12 x 1 minRD20Me
14RD5Ms8MeRD6 x 3 minRD15Me

Key : M = Miles, s = steady, e = easy, min = minutes, sec = seconds, RD = rest day


  1. Consult your GP, stating your intentions.
  2. If you have any doubts, consult the relevant specialist for suitable advice.
  3. Start off slowly & cautiously. You may be intending to walk or jog your way around the marathon, so be prepared to walk or jog in your training.
  4. Intervals are optional. Replace them with a repeat of the Tuesday session, or take another rest day or easy fartlek session.


Drinking - on long runs drink water before you run, not too much so as to make you uncomfortable, and sip water during the run. Donít get thirsty. During the marathon you will have available isotonic drinks. They are useful for replacing salts and sugar. If you intend to use them train with them.

Eat a well balanced, sensible diet. You may find that as the training increases you eat more. Increase the carbohydrate content with rice, pasta, bread and potatoes.

Wear the right shoes for you. Go to a runners shop and seek advice. Take along your old trainers for inspection. It is a good idea to have two pairs and alternate them (but not left or right or vice versa. (ha ha!) By the time of the marathon you will have a pair that are comfortable and not worn out.

Wear kit that is comfortable. Donít wear it from new - wear it and/ or wash it before you run in it. If your nipples rub use plasters or Vaseline.

If you pick up an injury then stop. RICE! Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Donít start back too early with your training.

Maybe join a running club where you will find a range of abilities and pace.

Runners World magazine is a great source of information and further tips. There are also lists of races and specialists.

On race day donít do anything different to your Sunday routine. Training is all about preparing the body and mind to achieve what it understands.

Best tip of all - Donít forget to set your alarm clock on the day of the race.

David Butler

London Fitness

The Non-runner's Marathon TrainerThe Non-runner's Marathon Trainer

Athlete. Runner. Marathoner. Are these words you wouldn't exactly use to describe yourself? Do you consider yourself too old or too out of shape to run a marathon? But somewhere deep inside have you always admired the people who could reach down and come up with the mental and physical strength to complete such a daunting and rewarding accomplishment? It doesn't have to be somebody else crossing the finish line. You can be a marathoner. The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer is based on the highly successful marathon class offered by the University of Northern Iowa, which was featured in a Runner's World article titled "Marathoning 101."