Training Plan for 1st Marathon

Hi, I've entered my 1st marathon (Richmond Park) for May next year and looking for around for a training plan to follow and would love some help as I think I'm beginning to confuse myself! I've been running for 4 years doing 5km and 10km races and just completed my 1st half mararthon in October with a time of 1 hr and 59 secs. I followed a Matt Roberts training plan for this which really worked for me as I enjoyed the training and finished with the time I aimed for. I can't find his marathon training plan.

Looking at marathon training plans I've found a few which look good but was wondering if there was anyone with experience of these might be able to help me as they differ a little.

I've looked at the RW Garmin ready marathon schedule for sub 4.30 but not sure if this will be a little too difficult? I've running between 15 - 20 miles a week at the moment. I've also looked at Hal Higdon novice 2 training plan which looks similar but with only 1 run over 20 miles. Would this be enough? I'm not setting a time goal for my marathon but I understand you need to be thinking about your race pace when training so was thinking around 4hrs 30.

Alternatively does anyone have a good marathon training plan for a first time marathoner at my ability? I've sure there are lots of threads asking for this but the more I look the more confused I get.  Any help would be very much appreciated.


  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    I followed RW ultimate marathon plan for 4.30... it worked for me! 


  • Hi Jenf

    Is that the same training plan as the garmin ready one - I can't access the ultimate mararthon plans as they are for RW subscribers only.  I was thinking the RW one looked like the one I would more likely follow.

    Thanks for replying image

  • I forgot to mention the only thing I didn't like about the RW schedule was that it didn't seem to have taper training weeks? Each week the long run increases or stays the same.  Does that sound ok? I thought every 3 weeks you were supposed to have slightly less mileage?

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    just looked at Garmin one, it looks v similar to the one I followed, and actually when you break it down its not as difficult as it first looks.

    Can't really advise re tapers mid training as I am similar to you with little experience. I just did what it said every week... and I can only say I really enjoyed my race, and got the end result of sub 4.30

  • That's very encouraging - thanks jenf and well done on your sub 4.30

  • Hi janinemarie,

    Well done on entering your first marathon. There are a lot of different training plans out there which can make it daunting to know where to look!

    It depends on how much time you have available to devote to training. You mentioned that you are not aiming for a specific time, however based on your half marathon time you should be looking at a marathon time of 4.11. The FIRST training programs are great, they are based on 3 runs per week- and each one is very focused on a particular training benefit.

    Best of luck!
  • Hi Rob

    Thanks for responding.  I was really looking at 4 runs per week as I find this suits me best and I feel like 3 runs a week wouldn't be enough for me. I think I'm going to follow the RW plan and see how it goes

    Thanks for your encouraging words re time but as it's in Richmond Park and not a road marathon as such, I'm thinking 4.30 minimum! 

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    Janinemarie, you're obviously not starting your marathon prep yet, so wot are you planning over the winter months?

  • Good-luck with the Marathon. I am doing my first next year, (Edinburgh) Not worrying about it till March ('13.) Just keep healthy, and focused.

  • You can't find Matt Roberts' marathon training plan?

    I've been using his plans for most of this year, from 10k to half-marathon now.

    They are all together (5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon) in his book Get Running. If you can't buy it perhaps ask if you can reserve it in your local library. 

  • Jenf - I'm doing a few runs in the week and a longish run at the weekend normally about 15-20 miles per week but not being too strict with it! I was hoping to start my training in January properly but getting excited now and want to start planning.

    AlistairJM - Ohh maybe I'll have to look at buying his book - I found his half marathon training plan spot on - thanks

  • Janinemarie: start building your mileage sooner rather than later, so you can easily do what the plan says (whichever plan you choose) when you start it. Also, start it two weeks early, i.e. if it's a 16-week plan, start it 18 weeks before the marathon. This gives you injury/illness time without needing to panic that you're missing out on key training runs. If you don't need the injury time, you can always repeat a couple of the weeks just before the taper, and be better trained!

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