20-Week Foolproof Beginners Marathon Training Programme

This 20-week plan, designed by Runner’s World Editor-at-Large Amby Burfoot, allows for a gradual build-up plus cutback weeks for recovery.


Amby Burfoot |

The first four weeks are low mileage on four runs per week; the final four are higher mileage on four runs per week..

RELATED: 7 TMI Things That Happened When I Trained for My First Marathon

The payoff: you’ll stay healthy during training, and arrive at the starting line ready to go. To begin this plan, you should’ve been running regularly at least four times a week for three months.

WEEK

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

SUN

TOTAL

1

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

20km

2

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

6.5km

21.5km

3

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

8km

23km

4

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

20km

5

6.5km

Rest

5km

Rest

6.5km

10km

4km

32km

6

6.5km

Rest

6.5km with 3km @ marathon goal pace (MP)

Rest

6.5km

13km

5km

37.5km

7

6.5km

Rest

6.5km with 3km @ MP

Rest

6.5km

16km

5km

39.5km

8

6.5km

Rest

6.5km with 3km @ MP

Rest

6.5km

10km

5km

34.5km

9

8km

Rest

8km with 5km @ MP

Rest

8km

16km

5km

45km

10

8km

Rest

8km with 5km @ MP

Rest

8km

20km

5km

49km

11

8km

Rest

8km with 5km @ MP

Rest

8km

23km

8km

55km

12

10km

Rest

11km with 5km @ MP

Rest

10km

17km

Rest

48km

13

11km

Rest

11km with 6km @ MP

Rest

11km

26km

Rest

59km

14

11km

Rest

11km with 6km @ MP

Rest

11km

28km

Rest

61km

15

12km

Rest

13km with 6km @ MP

Rest

13km

32km

Rest

70km

16

10km

Rest

10km with 6km @ MP

Rest

10km

22km

Rest

52km

17

12km

Rest

13km with 8km @ MP

Rest

13km

32km

Rest

70km

18

11km

Rest

11km with 8km @ MP

Rest

11km

22km

Rest

55km

19

8km

Rest

8km

Rest

8km

26km

Rest

50km

20

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

5km

Rest

RACE

15km

RELATED: 5 Essential Marathon Training Survival Tips

READ MORE ON: cape-town-marathon marathon training-programme