Have you ever thought about running a marathon? It’s a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience that requires grit, determination, and a whole lot of training. 

But where do you even begin with your training? How do you build up your endurance and avoid injuries? And what about nutrition and gear? 

With our comprehensive 12-week marathon training plan, you’ll have everything you need to prepare yourself for the ultimate test of endurance.

Training Components

Before running a marathon, you need to understand the various component of a concise plan. Your marathon training plan should revolve around these areas:

1. Endurance Building

The foundation of any successful marathon training plan is endurance building. To build endurance, you should gradually increase your weekly mileage. 

A good starting point is to run 3-4 times a week, with each run lasting between 30-45 minutes. Over the 12 weeks, you should aim to gradually increase your mileage by 10-15% each week.

2. Speed Work

In addition to endurance building, speed work is essential to improve your running speed and overall fitness. Incorporate interval training, hill repeats, and tempo runs into your training plan to improve your overall speed.

3. Rest and Recovery 

Rest and recovery are equally important as training itself. Adequate rest and recovery will help your muscles recover, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your overall performance. 

Make sure to include rest days in your training plan and consider getting a massage or stretching to aid in your recovery.

4. Nutrition 

Proper nutrition is crucial for marathon training. A balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats will help you maintain energy levels and aid in recovery. Aim to eat a diet rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables.

12-Weeks Marathon Training Plan

WeekTraining FocusNumber of RunsDuration of RunsOther Activities
1Building base fitness3-430-45 minutes
2Increasing running time430-45 minutes
3Building endurance430-45 minutesCross-training (swimming or cycling)
4Incorporating hills and intervals430-45 minutesStrength training
5Increasing weekly mileage4-545-60 minutesHill repeats, interval training
6Increasing duration and intensity545-60 minutesTempo runs, long-distance runs
7Supplementing with cross-training545-60 minutesStrength training
8Continuing to build strength and endurance545-60 minutes
9Focusing on speed work4-545-60 minutesStrides, tempo runs
10Incorporating more cross-training4-545-60 minutesStrength training
11Tapering off for recovery3-430-45 minutesRest and recovery activities
12Final recoveries before race day3-430-45 minutesRest and recovery activities such as yoga or stretching to prevent injury

Marathon Nutrition Plan


Training for a marathon requires more than just running. A comprehensive approach to preparation includes a balanced marathon nutrition plan

As a runner, you need to fuel your body with the right nutrients to ensure optimal performance and endurance. 

In addition to a 12-week training plan, having a marathon nutrition plan can make all the difference in your race-day performance. In this section, we will guide you on creating a nutrition plan that will help you reach your goals and perform your best on race day.

1. Pre-race

2. During the race

3. Post-race

To minimize gastrointestinal problems, avoid consuming high-fiber or high-fat foods in the hours leading up to the race. Additionally, practice your race-day nutrition plan during training to determine what works best for you and minimize the risk of any unpleasant surprises on race day.

Preparing For Race Day? Grab our Marathon Checklist here!

Top Marathon Running Tips

12-weeks marathon training plan

Running a marathon isn’t just about putting one foot in front of the other. It’s a complex endurance sport that requires strategy, mental toughness, and a whole lot of heart. 

Here are some running tips to help you on race day:

1. Running Form

Proper running form can help you avoid injuries and improve your overall performance. Focus on maintaining good posture, landing on your midfoot, and keeping your arms relaxed and close to your body.

2. Injury Prevention

To reduce your risk of injury, make sure to warm up before each run, stretch after your run, and invest in proper running shoes. If you do experience an injury, make sure to take time off to recover before returning to training.

3. Mental Preparation

Running a marathon requires mental strength and preparation. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line, practice positive self-talk, and break the marathon down into smaller goals.

Best Running Gear for Marathon Runners

This 12-week marathon training plan isn’t complete if you don’t have the best running gear. Here’s a list of the best running gear you should get before running a race.

1. Shoes

Proper running shoes are essential to prevent injury and improve performance. Look for shoes with good cushioning and support that fit your feet properly. 

2. Clothes

Choose moisture-wicking clothes that fit comfortably and allow for a full range of motion. We recommend shopping our collections of comfy clothes for marathon racers.

3. Accessories

Consider investing in a GPS watch, running belt, or hydration vest to make your training runs more comfortable.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our comprehensive 12-week marathon training plan. 

By now, you should have a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to help you tackle your next marathon with confidence. From building your endurance to perfecting your running form, our plan has covered every aspect of marathon training. 

But the journey doesn’t end here. It’s important to continue to challenge yourself and set new goals, whether that’s running a faster time, conquering a new distance, or simply enjoying the process of running. 

Remember to listen to your body, rest when you need to, and stay fueled with the right nutrition. And above all, keep pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself. We believe in you, and we can’t wait to see you cross that finish line! 

Don’t forget to sign up for the SDCCU Marathon festival and put your training to the test. Let’s go, runners!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best training plan for a beginner marathon runner?

For a beginner marathon runner, a 12-week training plan is ideal. The plan should focus on building endurance through gradually increasing mileage and incorporating speed work and strength training. It’s also important to include rest days to prevent injury and allow for recovery.

2. How many miles should I run per week during marathon training?

The number of miles you should run per week during marathon training varies depending on your fitness level and training goals. 

However, as a general guideline, most runners aim to run between 30-40 miles per week during the peak of their training. It’s important to gradually build up your mileage and incorporate rest days to prevent injury.

3. What are the best shoes for marathon training and racing?

Choosing the right shoes for marathon training and racing is crucial to prevent injury and ensure optimal performance. 

Look for shoes that offer good cushioning and support, and are comfortable for long-distance running.

4. How can I prevent injuries during marathon training?

Injuries can be a common occurrence during marathon training, but there are steps you can take to prevent them. 

Incorporating strength training into your routine can help improve your overall fitness and reduce the risk of injury. It’s also important to listen to your body, gradually increase mileage, and incorporate rest days into your training plan.

5. What are the benefits of strength training for runners?

Strength training can have many benefits for runners, including improved overall fitness, increased speed and endurance, and reduced risk of injury. By incorporating exercises that target the major muscle groups, such as the legs, core, and upper body, runners can improve their form and performance on the road.

6. What should I eat before and after a marathon?

Proper nutrition is essential for marathon runners. Before the marathon, focus on consuming carbohydrates to provide energy for the race. 

Some good options include pasta, bread, and rice. After the marathon, it’s important to replenish your body with protein to aid in muscle recovery. 

Some good post-race options include a protein shake, eggs, or a turkey sandwich. Don’t forget to also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the race and recovery period.