Intermediate Full Marathon Training Plan
Intermediate Full Marathon Training Plan
“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” – Jesse Owens
Embarking on the intermediate marathon running plan is a pivotal moment for runners who have conquered the basics and are now poised for a more nuanced and strategic approach to their training. This training program is designed to bridge the gap between the fundamentals and the advanced, introducing intermediate runners to the next level of endurance and performance. Rooted in proven training principles, the plan combines distance progression, tempo runs, and cross-training to enhance overall fitness and race-readiness.
Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or simply looking to elevate your marathon experience, this intermediate program provides the structure and variety needed to foster steady improvement. Get ready to embark on a transformative journey where each run becomes a purposeful step towards achieving your marathon goals. Welcome to the realm of intermediate marathon training – a pivotal chapter in your running journey.
Individuals will want to choose the Intermediate Marathon training plan if they have been running 4 to 5 times per week for 45 to 90-minutes each time for at least one year. It is recommended that you have completed at least one half marathon or marathon in the past year. If you are running less, that is okay! Consider starting with the Beginner Marathon plan or a Half Marathon training plan and building your fitness up to this marathon program.
What to Expect:
The Intermediate Marathon training plan is a slight increase in mileage from the beginner training plan. While this plan still includes four runs per week, there is a larger focus on the length of long runs and race pace/tempo workouts.
This marathon plan is 20-weeks in length. You start with a 6-mile goal race pace run in week 1 and progress to two 20-mile long runs in preparation for the marathon. The gradual increase in distance will have you running farther and feeling more comfortable while covering the distance. Tempo runs and race pace workouts are designed to improve your comfort levels by running at a faster pace for an increased amount of time. As the plan progresses, the total running time and intensity of each session will increase. If your marathon covers hilly terrain, you may want to occasionally switch tempo runs out for hill repeats.
The Intermediate Marathon program includes one cross-training workout per week. This cross-training workout allows you to incorporate other activities you enjoy with this training plan. Cross-training activities may include cycling, yoga, elliptical, swimming, or weight-lifting. With the goal of improving your half marathon time, cross-training workouts can make a remarkable difference in building strength and efficiency.
How to Get Started?
Purchase our Intermediate Marathon running plan on Final Surge for a one-time fee of $39.99 per plan here. Digitally track your progress from start to finish of the training program.
Looking for more training guidance?
If you need more motivation or advice, we offer two additional training services that might interest you!
Sunrise+ Virtual Running Club
Intermediate Marathon Running Plan Preview:
The following is a snapshot of what to expect in your purchased Intermediate Marathon Training Plan.
|WEEK||DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4||DAY 5||DAY 6||DAY 7|
|1||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||6 Mile Pace||Rest|
|2||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||7 Mile Run||Rest|
|3||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||35 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||8 Mile Pace||Rest|
|4||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||5 Mile Run||Rest|
|5||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||40 Minute Run||35 Minute Run||35 Minute Run||10 Mile Run||Rest|
|6||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||35 Minute Run||35 Minute Run||10 Mile Run||Rest|
|7||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||45 Minute Run||35 Minute Run||35 Minute Run||10 Mile Pace||Rest|
|8||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||35 Minute Run||35 Minute Run||8 Mile Run||Rest|
|9||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||40 Minute Run||Rest||Half Marathon Race||Rest|
|10||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||15 Mile Run||Rest|
|11||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||60 Minute Run||40 Minute Run||40 Minute Run||10 Mile Pace||Rest|
|12||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||40 Minute Run||40 Minute Run||16 Mile Run||Rest|
|13||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||70 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||10 Mile Pace||Rest|
|14||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||45 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||18 Mile Run||Rest|
|15||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||80 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||10 Mile Pace||Rest|
|16||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||45 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||20 Mile Run||Rest|
|17||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||90 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||10 Mile Run||Rest|
|18||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||Tempo Run||45 Minute Run||45 Minute Run||20 Mile Run||Rest|
|19||30-45 Minute Cross-Train||45 Minute Cross-Training||40 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||10 Mile Run||Rest|
|20||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||30 Minute Run||Rest||Rest||Marathon Race||Rest|
The above training plan preview is designed for educational purposes and is not prescribed for any particular individual. The preview presented does not include complete details of what should be done on each training day. Consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs or if there are any individual health concerns to be aware of.
Intermediate Full Marathon Training Plan Terminology
The terms in the Intermediate Full Marathon training plan are defined inside the purchased plan, but let me define them for you here as well.
Warm-Up: Run/Walk for 5 to 10 minutes at an easy effort before every workout (run days and cross-training days). A proper warm-up will help to gradually increase heart rate, improve circulation, loosen up muscles, and prepare you for a workout.
Cool-Down: Run/Walk for 5 to 10 minutes at an easy effort after every workout (run days and cross-training days). A proper cool-down will help gradually bring your heart rate and breathing back down to normal levels after the days workout.
Perceived Effort: A way to rate your effort level based on your feelings about the level of intensity on a scale of 1 to 10. A 1 is considered ‘At Rest’ and a 10 is considered “An All Out Effort.” Use this scale in combination with Pace and Heart Rate to stay in the correct intensity level shown in the training schedule for a given day.
Heart Rate: If you have access to a heart rate monitor then use this device to stay in the correct range and intensity level shown in the training schedule for a given day.
Cross-Training: Include activities other than running and walking in your training plan. If you are completely new to exercise, then you may want to wait until weeks 4 or 5 to add in cross-training workouts. If you are already active 3 to 4 days per week, then start the cross-training as scheduled in the plan. Examples of activities for cross-training may include cycling, elliptical, rowing, strength training, swimming, or yoga. Cross-training will help to reduce the impact on your body and reduce the risk of injury from running. Cross-training can also speed up recovery time between running workouts. If you are ever feeling too fatigued or sore from running, then you may want to consider taking an occasional cross-training day as an extra day of rest.
Strength Training: A form of cross-training, strength training can be a great way to increase lean muscle and boost metabolism while at rest. Strength training can be completed using body weight, free weights, resistance bands, weight machines, or classes such as Pilates, Yoga, or CrossFit. Include exercises for the upper body, core, back, and lower body. Warm up with a run/walk for 5 to 10 minutes. If you are new to strength training, then start with 1 set of each exercise for 12-15 repetitions. The goal is to work your muscles to fatigue or until you can no longer maintain proper form during the exercise. Continue with 1 set of each exercise for weeks 1 through 3, then progress gradually over a few weeks to 2-4 sets of each exercise for 8-15 repetitions.
Flexibility: Stretch lightly after every warm-up and cool-down period. Stretching will help improve flexibility, increase circulation, speed up recovery, and reduce the risk of injury.
Training Paces: We summarize the common training paces below. However, this article on training paces gives an easy-to-understand overview of all the different training paces that can be added to a runner’s routine to improve speed, endurance, and recovery.
Easy Run: Easy pace/effort is considered at or slightly above what you can maintain a conversation, 65-75% of maximum heart rate, and 6-7 on the Perceived Effort scale.
Long Run Effort: The key to developing endurance is the long run, progressively increasing in distance each weekend. The long run should be done at a pace/effort so that you can easily maintain a conversation throughout the run. Work on running with an even pace/effort from start to finish of the long run. Be sure to recover properly after a long run as well so that you can get right back to training in the next day or week.
Tempo Run: A tempo run is a sustained effort run that increases your body’s ability to run faster for longer periods of time. Whether you are training for a 5k, marathon, ultramarathon, or anything in between, this is a useful training session. Beyond improving your ability to run fast and long, tempo runs have many other benefits. Tempo runs should always include a warm-up period of easy running before moving on to the harder-paced portion of the workout.
Racing: Consider adding test races throughout your training plan, especially if your goals are time-oriented. This race will allow you to familiarize yourself more with running in a structured event. If you can’t find a race during this week, feel free to modify the schedule around what races are available.
Adaptability: Don’t be afraid to move the workouts from day to day and week to week. This training plan is merely a guide to help you complete your desired race distance. Be consistent with your training, and the overall details won’t matter. Listen to your body and progress as your fitness allows you to progress.