First Marathon Training Plan

Fitness Health Marathon Marathon Training Running


Race day, as I sat in the pouring rain in the starting line, I thought to myself, I am already 90% of the way done with this marathon. 90% you may ask? I still had 26.2 miles to go…. and through the pouring rain! If my calculations are correct, that’s 100% of a marathon! As I trained for my marathon and as I look back on previous races that I have run, I have found that a race is not made on race day. It’s about the endless emotions, sweat, tears, and dancing that happen throughout the 600 miles of training in the 18 weeks leading up to the marathon…. it’s in the years of running that have brought me to this point – all of which started with one glorious mile building to two, then three, then four which made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to.


Since I completed my second half marathon, I have wanted to run a full. I have been too chicken to sign up for one but whenever someone asked, I told them it was on my bucket list. Last year, I decided I was going to do it. I knew I just needed to sign up and do it. There was no better time in my life than now. I was in shape and ready. I just needed to drop the excuses and sign up!

Well I waited, I procrastinated, and I didn’t sign up… luckily, my sister-in-laws (both of which have run marathons and have inspired me to keep reaching for that goal along the way) registered me for my Birthday! There is no better kick in the butt than that!

So I did my research and made a plan. For my first marathon, I knew I wanted to focus on the miles. I needed to know that I could run that many miles in a row without dying. After reading blogs and a lot of research, I combined a few plans to make a personalized plan for me.

As I started running, I gained confidence that I could finish the marathon and quickly began developing a time goal for my marathon. I would not suggest this for everyone. I think the accomplishment lies in finishing your first marathon, and that should be celebrated. There does not need to be a goal for a time. But I was determined and this goal helped me to push beyond what I already knew that I could do. I focused on my speed work and my plan changed as I progressed through my 18 week training plan.

Now that it is all said and done, I can tell you that training for a marathon is hard.There were days that I thought I couldn’t. There were times of frustration, pain, and tears. It is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. It is time consuming and pushes you to your limits.  But it is inspiring, empowering, and completely worth it.


1/2 Marathon race Day!

Here are a few basics about my training plan:

  • Length: 18 weeks
  • Miles per week: Build (weeks 1-4) – 25-35 miles Peak 40-46 miles, 3 week taper – 39, 34, Race week.
  • Build Week components: 1 hill workout (strength), 1 Long Slow Distance (LSD), 3 easy runs to build up miles
  • Week 4-8: 1 hill workout, 1 speed workout, 1 LSD, 2 easy runs
  • Peak Weeks 9-15: 2 speed workouts (Interval, Tempo), 1 LSD, 2 easy runs
  • One 1/2 marathon
  • 3 Taper: Slowly reduce miles, maintain an easier speed workout, 1 LSD

Training Plan First Marathon


  • MP – Marathon Pace – run the amount of miles indicated at my goal marathon pace
  • Tempo – Usually in this plan I would run 2 miles about 30-45 seconds faster per mile than my marathon pace, then I would do a mile easy and repeat
  • Intervals – Run uncomfortably fast for 30 seconds to one minute, 30 second break (walk or jog), and repeat  10-12 times
  • MR – Mile Repeats – Warm up then run 1 mile at 10K pace and 1/2 mile recover

Note on Scheduling: Marathon training is time consuming. I learned quickly that I needed to make training a priority but my peak weeks and the most miles coincidentally coincided with the busiest time of the year at work for me. At the beginning of every week I would take the miles I had scheduled for that week and schedule them in on days that would work. For example, if I had a busy Tuesday but Monday I could get off a little earlier, I would run my longer distance on Monday instead of Tuesday. It’s easy to get caught up on miles, days and best training practices, but you have to be flexible with reality.

Injury: I injured my foot about 2 weeks into training. I tried to run through the pain but only got worse. I was so worried that I was done and thought I fractured or broke a bone in my foot. There were points that I could barely walk and getting better seemed in-feasible to me. Luckily after a week of rest, I was able to slowly get back into my training plan. If you do experience injury, REST! before you do more permanent damage.

Next Time: I would not change my training plan for my first marathon. I believe my plan challenged me and showed me that I was capable of more than I ever believed. However, I made mistakes and there are things that I will do differently next time. I will go into further detail in another post 🙂

Until then, I am recovering and researching! If you are a runner and have advice for me, I would love to hear it!Running Motivation
Stay Balanced! <3 Kendra