13 week simple marathon training plan

photoAhead of the marathon season in 2015, I created a 13 week marathon plan for a friend who’s run a marathon before, and wants to keep running to a sensible level and not have it take over her life.

My plan consists of 3 runs a week, and a build up of just 13 weeks (instead of the usual 16-26 week training plan). You can customise the plan, based on the date of your marathon and an estimated or recent 10k time. (Your age can be entered too if you’re interested in HR running).

I always find that 3 runs a week is just enough to help me train for a marathon, and I’ve also found that a long build to a marathon can lead me to get injured or fed up with training.

So when I trained for Belfast Marathon in 2014, I trained for it in around 13 weeks (with a good base level of fitness and running before that).

If you’ve run a marathon (or 2) before and you have a good base level of fitness and the ability to run at least 6-10 miles, my plan below might be for you.

So here’s my 13 week simple marathon plan in Excel
(Note: To personalise it, you can save the file to your desktop, then update cells which are yellow with red writing.)


Please note: To use this plan, I’d definitely recommend that you’ve run a marathon before (so you know what you’re in for).  If you’re a beginner or if it’s your first marathon, take a look on Runnersworld Smart coach, or First Training Plan for a plan which might suit you better.

If you’ve run marathons before however, you might want to try my plan.  I’ve created a 13 week plan which is KM based and one which is MILES based.  There’s a tab for each (Km or Miles), and a third tab which is a Run Guide.

marathonHRplan1As many of you know, I like to run to my Heart Rate and would always recommend it, so I’ve included a page on my training plan which gives you what your target Heart Rate zones should be.  For more information, I’d recommend you buy and read ‘Slow Burn, by Stu Mittleman’. 

There’s also a pace guide at the top of the plan too for you ‘time freaks’… I mean you people who like to run to time. 😉

Remember that rest and recovery is important, take rest days after your hard and long runs, and fuelling and hydrating for your runs is important too. As is trying out your gear and finding out what works for you.  Social runs can help too, especially on the LONG runs.  🙂

The Run Guide page also suggests some runs you can do which are called ‘Efficient Runs‘…. interval training or hill or tempo runs once a week. Or, if intervals are too much for you, just run easy for the duration shown.


Use your training to find out what works for you (fuel, hydration, gear, pace, HR, race strategy, everything!)

See more posts here about tips to run marathons and long runs.  And see here for my top 6 books for Runners.

Now,  here’s a list of UK marathons in 2015.  Which one will you do?  🙂

See my best marathon here, and see some inspiration from Cris Walsh, here:

‘If you want to run the best marathon of your life, you need to push hard. Of course it’s horrible, who said it was easy!? Push through that feeling for 5 minutes and the body will adjust.’
Cris Walsh, Bellahouston Harrier, and 2:37 marathoner


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2 Responses to 13 week simple marathon training plan

  1. Pingback: Need some motivation to run? | Lorn Pearson Trains…

  2. Pingback: Running Marathons… | Lorn Pearson Trains…

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