Marathon Training

While most of us could walk 13.1 miles (half marathon) without too much difficulty, running that distance is another matter. Doubling up to 26.2 miles (marathon) is then on a very different level.  Walking that far in one go will be beyond the reaches of many; running that far is definitely something for the few. Everyone agrees that to run 26.2 miles requires some training, but how much? And what?

The Hanson brothers (Famous and effective coaches based in USA) offer free “Hanson training plans here”, for Beginner and Advanced. To set the scene, the Beginners plan starts at 12 miles in a week, rising to 50 miles in a week after 11 weeks. They also have a ‘Just Finish’ plan which starts at 12 miles in a week, rising to 40 miles a week after 9 weeks. 

Don Fink is a triathlon and ironman competitor and author. His training plans for over 40’s build to 8 or 9 hours of running a week.

Pete Pfitzingers new book ‘Advanced Marathoning’ has training plans based on 55 miles to more than 85 miles a week.

These are mentioned to set the scene of the committment required to train for a marathon. Aside from the training committment, marathons are also very different from half marathons (and shorter events) because of the other considerations such as nutrition, hydration, injury potential, mental approach and not least, effect of age. 

You will see that there are so many variables that can affect how we train for a marathon, it is not practical to set out sufficient plans to cover them all without wrting a book! So our recommendations for books that are both readable and useable are these:-

Hansons Marathon Method 2nd edition. Luke Humphrey with Keith and Kevin Hanson

Mastering the Marathon. Training secrets for the 40+ runner. Don Fink

Advanced Marathoning 3rd edition. Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas.

Graeme Loudain – October 2019

These notes are published as a general aid to all endurance runners. They are guidelines based on current best practice, intended to illustrate the points in the articles rather than provide a precise training schedule. They are written in a way to be of help to runners. Individuals will have their own requirements and the content of the notes will not suit all. Please use them in the spirit in which they are intended and modify them to suit your own needs. If you have suggestions for improvement, amendments or comment, please email