Here is a four-week marathon training guide


The month leading up to the marathon is when you really go through all the emotions, with everything more heightened than usual. The excitement of the race can be replaced with fear in an instant. But it’s important to remember there are 40,000 other people going through the same emotions as you and that you aren’t alone. If the anxiety does start getting to you, reach out and talk to others in the same boat.”


• Aim for two key workouts and one long run

• Supplement with any cross training, easy and recovery running that you usually do to give you one last big training week

• Do not increase the volume of your training now – if you’ve only run twice a week for the last six weeks, don’t add a third one in at this stage

• Be sure to fit in a threshold or interval run into this week, or a medium length long-run if you’ve been doing them as part of your plan up to this point

This week you should run 100% of your maximum mileage in training so far

An example workout for this week

This is your last long-run and a chance to get a really good block of it done at marathon pace, on tired legs. This will allow you to mimic the fatigue you’ll be feeling on race day in training, without overdoing it. If your marathon time is looking near the three hour-mark, this week I’d suggest a long run of 150 minutes with the first 75 minutes set at an easy pace, and the second 75 minutes at marathon pace, to keep things challenging but doable.

Weekly tip

Spend some time after your runs doing some light stretching and foam rolling. There’s still time now to make this part of your routine as we get to race day, and just five-ten minutes a few times a week is all you need.

Week 2

[Opening quote]: You can’t train hard all the way to race day. Marathon fitness is gained over many weeks of training, not in the last few. It can be really tempting to just try and squeeze in one extra workout or a marathon-length run at this stage, but if you do that you won’t be well rested for race day. I always prefer athletes to get to the start line of a marathon well rested but slightly undercooked with their training, rather than having done too much and be fatigued.”


• Like Week 1, aim for two key workouts and one long run

• But this time, reduce the volume of your run from three to two hours

• Keep 75 to 90 minutes of your long run at marathon pace

• Reduce other key workouts in volume to start with the tapering process

• Still aim to supplement your key runs with easy/recovery runs or some cross training, but this week take an extra rest day

This week you should run 80% of your maximum mileage in training so far

An example workout for this week

This week a good work out could look like a ten-minute warm up followed by 3 x 15 minutes running at   your estimated half marathon pace with a 90-second jog recovery in between effort. Then do 10minutes of easy jogging to   cool down. If you’re a less experienced runner, you might be better off going for 3 x 10 minutes or 6 x 5 minutes at your half marathon pace.  Doing some training sessions at your half marathon race pace is going to improve your speed endurance, which is essential for running a marathon.

Weekly tip

Don’t neglect your nutrition this week. It’s so important at this stage to eat well and stay hydrated to keep your immune system going strong, your muscles functioning properly and your energy levels up.

Week 3

[Opening quote]: “This week it’s time to get stuck into the taper process and cut your training right down to allow your body to rest. And that means also not forgetting to prioritise sleep, which should be looked at as a training session in itself. The trick is to think of sleep as something that’s very good for you, not this thing you have to do at the end of the day. When you sleep your body is recovering at an accelerated rate, so it makes sense to cash in on it in the run up to the big race.”


• Cut down to just one and a half key workouts this week

• A half workout could be described as some intervals, but just be sure to keep them a lot shorter than they were a few weeks ago

• Do one long run, but drastically reduce the volume to just 70 minutes

• Replace another of your easy-exercise days with a rest day

This week you should run 60% of your maximum mileage in training so far

An example workout for this week

This week aim to do a 70-minute long run, with the middle 50 minutes at marathon pace. This may seem like a drastic decrease in length, but this is the absolute maximum you should be running at this stage. Don’t worry, you’re still getting the chance to do some marathon pace work to make sure you know how things are going to feel on race day, but what’s important is that you’re not using up all your precious energy too soon.

Weekly tip

Use the extra time off this week to carry out some marathon admin. Research your travel route and plans for getting to the London Marathon Expo so everything runs smoothly on the day. Just be sure to leave yourself plenty of time so you’re not stressed before the race has begun!

Week 4

[Opening quote]: “Runners often feel sluggish in the build up to the marathon, especially in that last week. If you have a ‘bad’ run (heavy legs, a bit slower than usual and generally feeling lethargic) a few days before the marathon, consider this to be a good sign that your body is working through everything you’ve done up to this point. It’s on race day that you want to feel good, and as long as you don’t do too much in these last few days, you will.”


• You should do a maximum of three runs this week – definitely no more!

• Your Tuesday/Wednesday run could contain a bit of threshold work to get rid of some nervous energy

• It’s ok to go for a run the day before the marathon but keep it to just a few miles – this is all you’ll need to help you relax and stay focused

It’s marathon week!

An example workout for this week

This week, try a workout that incorporates a 10-minute warm up, followed by 4 x 3 minutes’ running at a relaxed effort (think half marathon pace) with a 1 minute recovery jog section in between each interval, and then a ten-minute cool-down. This offers a chance to burn off a bit of nervous energy and give your legs a work out before the big day.

Weekly tip

One danger for this week is that you over rest, which can leave you lethargic for race day! So, don’t simply do nothing. Try to get a bit of extra sleep but otherwise, carry out your week as normally as possible.

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