Marathon Training Tips & Techniques

Looking to train up for a marathon? Here's some tips and techniques.

The Five-Month Marathon Training Plan For Beginners
This training plan has been created by
elite endurance athlete Adrian Mok, to help the first-time marathoner train progressively towards achieving a race timing of 6 hours or less.

This training plan has been designed for the person who is already a) able to run 5 km in 30 to 35 minutes, and b) training about two to three times a week.

Duration: 5 months
Goal: To complete 42.195 km in 5
½ - 6 hours
Pace: 7:45 - 8:30 min/km

Phase One: Basic Conditioning
Weeks 1 - 8: 2 sessions per week. Any two days, according to your schedule

 
 
Day
Month
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Jul
1
 
 
Easy Run 1
 
 
Easy Run 2
 
2
 
 
 
 
 
3
 
 
 
 
 
4
 
 
 
 
 
Aug
5
 
 
 
 
Easy Run 3
 
6
 
 
 
 
 
7
 
 
Easy Run 4
 
 
Easy Run 5
 
8
 
 
 
 
 


Legend


 
 
Duration
 
Intensity
 
Easy Run 1
30 min at easy pace.
Heart rate (HR) at Zone 1-2.
 
Easy Run 2
45 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-2.
 
Easy Run 3
60 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-2 with walking breaks.
 
Easy Run 4
40 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-2.
 
Easy Run 5
15 min warm-up + 60 min at easy pace.
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warming up, maintain HR at Zone 3 for first 20 min.

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax

 

Phase Two: Progressive Mileage Build Up
Weeks 9 - 14
: 2 sessions per week. Any two days, according to your schedule.

 
 
Day
 
Month
 
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
 
Sep
9
 
Tempo Run 1
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1A
10
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1B
11
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1C
12
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 1D
 
Oct
13
 
Tempo Run 2
 
 
 
 
Long Run 2A
14
 
 
 
 
 
Long Run 2B

Legend

 
 
Duration
 
Intensity
 
Tempo Run 1
15 min warm-up + 60 min run
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 40 min.
 
Long Run 1A
15 min warm up + 1 hr 10 min run
HR at Zone 1-3. After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 80 min.
 
Long Run 1B
15 min warm up + 1 hr 20 min run
 
Long Run 1C
15 min warm up + 1 hr 30 min run
 
Long Run 1D
15 min warm up + 1 hr 40 min run
 
Tempo Run 2
15 min warm-up + 1 hr 10 min run
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 50 min.
 
Long Run 2A
15 min warm up + 1 hr 50 min run
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 120 min.
 
Long Run 2B
15 min warm up + 2 hr 10 min run

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax

 

Phase Three: Fitness Build-Up
Weeks 15-19: 3 sessions per week. Any three days, according to your schedule.

 
 
 
Day
 
Month
 
Week
 
Mon
 
Tue
 
Wed
 
Thu
Fri
 
Sat
Sun
 
Oct
 
15
Interval Run 1
 
Tempo Run 3
 
 
Long Run 3A
 
 
16
 
 
 
Long Run 3B
 
 
Nov
 
17
Interval Run 2
 
Tempo Run 4
 
 
Long Run 4A
 
 
18
 
 
 
Long Run 4B
 
 
19
 
 
 
Long Run 4C
 

Legend

 
 
Duration
 
Activity
 
Intensity
 
Interval Run 1
1 hr
6 x 800m.
Intervals to be done at slightly faster than marathon race pace.
HR at Zone 4
 
Tempo Run 3
15 min warm-up + 1 hr 10 min run
 -
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 50 min.
 
Long Run 3A
15 min warm-up + 2 hr 30 min run
 -
After warm up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 150 min.
 
Long Run 3B
15 min warm-up + 2 hr 50 min run
 -
 
Interval Run 2
1 hr
6 x 1000m.
Intervals to be done at slightly faster than marathon race pace.
HR at Zone 4
 
Tempo Run 4
15 min warm-up + 60 min run
 -
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 40 min.
 
Long Run 4A
15 min warm-up + 3 hr run
 -
After warm up, keep at target marathon pace. 
 
Long Run 4B
15 min warm-up + 3 hr 10 min run
 -
 
Long Run 4C
15 min warm-up + 3 hr 20 min run
 -

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax
Final Phase: Taper
Week 20: 2 sessions per week. Any two days, according to your schedule.
 
 
Day
 
Month
 
Week
 
Mon
 
Tue
 
Wed
 
Thu
 
Fri
 
Sat
 
Sun
 
Nov - Dec
 
20
Interval Run 3
 
Tempo Run 5
 
 
 
 
Race Day!
 
Legend

 
 
Duration
 
Activity
 
Intensity
 
Interval Run 3
1 hr
4 x 400m.
Intervals to be done at slightly faster than marathon race pace.
HR at Zone 4
 
Tempo Run 5
15 min warm-up + 40 min run
 -
HR at Zone 1-3.
After warm-up, aim to remain in HR Zone 3 for 20 min.
Race DayComplete 42.195 km in 5 ½ - 6 hours Race pace of 7:45 - 8:30 min/km

Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) in beats per minute (bpm) = 220 - age

 
1 (Very Light)
 
2 (Light)
 
3 (Moderate)
 
4 (Hard)
 
5 (Very Hard)
50-60% of HRmax
60-70% of HRmax
70-80% of HRmax
80-90% of HRmax
90-100% of HRmax

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