There are just under 16 weeks to go until the London Marathon, and if you haven’t started training yet, DON’T PANIC!! I know a lot of people started weeks and months ago, but personally, a 12-16 week training programme works best for me.
The London marathon falls at the end of April this year, with the Paris marathon the first weekend and the Boston marathon in the middle of the month (does someone want to give me their place please, thanks!)
I thought I would share some of my favourite marathon training plans for those of you looking for help with your 26.2 training. I’ll also be sharing a 3 day a week plan of my own tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that if you think that’s the sort of plan that would work for you.
I used the Novice Supreme for my first marathon I was nowhere near a runner when I signed up for the Virgin London Marathon a few years ago, so this was a great, simple plan for me. I think his Novice plans are brilliant for first-time marathoners, without too much jargon or too many runs. You can also up the ante with his Intermediate or Advanced plans.
For those that are fans of efficiency, this plan might work for you. Each workout, including your cross training, is very structured. You’ll run 3 days a week and cross train 3 days a week. In my opinion it’s probably not the best for your first marathon unless you’re a seasoned half-marathoner.
My Sub 4 hour 3 Day a week marathon training plan is most like this one.
Create a plan that’s tailored to you using the Runner’s World SmartCoach, you can select the number of weeks you have to train, your training effort, your weekly mileage etc and boom – a plan made for you! I haven’t actually used one of these plans but know plenty of people that have and who loved them.
You can have fun with this online tool, messing around with how many days you want to run, your pace level and when your marathon date is to create a plan that works for you. I actually prefer this plan to the SmartCoach because of it’s simplicity and flexibility.
Written by ex GB athlete, Martin Yelling has written a beginner, intermediate and advanced training plan specifically for London marathon runners. They are done based on time rather than distance, so great for those without a lot of run tech.
Almost the opposite of the ‘Run less, Run faster’ philosophy, this programme gets you to run more often (up to 6 days a week) with lots of easy, shorter distance runs. The long mileage caps out at 16 miles, so good for those with less weekend free time for 20 mile slogs. Read this great review of how the Hansen Method worked really well for Cathy!
Getting your training plan written specifically for you can be a great option if you can afford it. My friends Cat and Laura both write bespoke training schedules for people, as does the lovely Jess. There are plenty of other coaches available out there, both in person and online, take a look around if you’re in the market for it!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of marathon training options but they are the ones that I’ve heard the most about or have personal experience of. Check back over the weekend for a 3 day a week beginner marathon training plan. If you’ve run a marathon, which training plan did you use?