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3 Runs a Week Beginner Marathon Training plan

Jan 9, 2016 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Marathon Training Plan

After the popularity of my Half Marathon training plan, there have been some requests for a 3 day a week beginner Full Marathon training plan. I’ve had to make it pretty small to fit on the blog but click here for an easy read/print version. I’ve called this a beginner plan as it would be great for your first marathon, however it’s not designed for beginner runners. It’s great for those that are stepping up from the 10K or half marathon levels, or if you’ve run a marathon before and want to try to improve on your time!

3 Runs a week Beginner Marathon Training Plan 

Beginner marathon training plan

You might also like this round up of marathon training plans. 

Speed Workouts 

I’ve included speed workouts for Tuesdays, however you could swap in one of these treadmill workouts  or take a HIIT workout class, such as Barry’s Bootcamp1Rebel ReshapeProject Fit, or any other cardio and weights combo class you like.

Strides – Strides are medium paced sprints lasting for 20-30 seconds or 60-100m as part of your normal paced run. Focus on pumping your arms and legs more quickly than your usual pace.

400m – Run your 400m as fast as you can, with a 3-5min recovery between each.

800m – Run 800m at 5K pace, with the same amount of recovery time as running time. For example, if your 800m took 3.45 mins, then rest for 3.45mins between sets.

Mile repeats – Run your fastest pace mile, take a 5 min break, then repeat.

beginner marathon training plan

Tempo Workouts 

A tempo workout is a ‘comfortably hard’ paced workout, i.e. quicker than your average pace, but slower than a speed workout. These can be workouts where just a few of the miles are at a faster pace than normal, or where you increase your pace with each mile throughout your run, or run a faster, short run.

Long Runs

You’ll be doing these at a slowish comfortable pace. It should be a pace that you could chat at, and continue for an indefinite amount of time. Listening to audiobooks or podcasts are a great way of keeping your pace even during these runs. Don’t forget that fuelling is really important on your long runs – How to Fuel for a Long Run. 

Marathon Training Plans

Personally, a plan with only 3 runs a week works best for me, it allows me ample recovery time, as well as the chance to crosstrain. I’ve included a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run each week, with a nice two week taper.

Feel free to add in more gentle yoga or Pilates if you want, and don’t forget to stretch, foam roll etc after your workouts!

Full disclosure – I am not a running coach and have written this based on my own personal experience. I ran my current marathon PB – 3.49, using a plan very similar to this!

  All kit from the Boohoo Fit range – buy it here

Photos by Will Patrick


  1. Chiswickmum

    looking good – love the shoes – where can I get some?

    • charlotte

      Do you need any new trainers Mum? They’re Brooks limited edition!!

  2. kristenk

    Awesome! I plan on maybe possibly signing up for my first marathon this year (Philly!) and plan on having an easy spring building up a solid running/strength base and then starting to train this summer. I really like this plan and might have to try it out! Thanks!

    • charlotte

      Amazing, good luck!! Philly would be such a fun marathon to run!

  3. RusJel16

    Your plan is great – i also do 3-4 days run a week for my training, you mentioned it helped you recover better which is also the reason why i do 3-4 days now. Before I run for 6 days a week. But, realized it was not good for me. I now also do, core exercises/strength workout which I do not perform before..


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