The 30 Day Marathon Training Schedule, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of the 30 day marathon training schedule!  If you missed part 1, READ IT FIRST!

Now that you've taken the Fit Test Questions and the Mile Speed Test and figured out if you're a Marathon Runner or Marathon Survivor, we can begin developing a training plan.  We only have 30 days, and our focus on the marathon basics will be paramount.

Our next step is to take a look at the items you'll need to start training, check out our article on basic items for marathon training.

30 day run

Now we're ready to start our training plan.  As mentioned in the first part of this article, it's important that you talk to your doctor about starting a new exercise plan, particularly if you've had health problems like heart or cardiovascular disease.  The next 30 days won't be easy and you need to make sure you can do it!

We'll go through all 30 days on a week-by-week basis for the Marathon Runner and Marathon Survivor specific plans.

Gear Up

If you don't have a good, new or near-new pair of running shoes, it's a great idea to get some before you start training.  You're going to need some time to break them in and get them comfortable on your feet.  New shoes will also provide extra cushion, lowering the stress placed on your feet, ankles, and legs.

You're not going to want to make drastic changes in your running shoes at this point.  If you've been running in max cushioned shoes, don't try to change to minimalist shoes because a friend told you so.  Big shoe changes require a long adaptation time (sometimes many months), and too rapid of a change will make you more prone to injury.

30 Day Schedule - Week One

The start of a training plan is always the most difficult time.  It takes about 2 weeks to get accustomed to a new habit, and getting out and training will be a tough chore.  A good way to get into a new habit is to give yourself a small reward for going out and training. For example, say something like "If I run my 2 miles today, I can eat my favorite chocolate bar without guilt."  In psychology it's called positive feedback, and it's much better than punishing yourself all day for not getting out and running!

Marathon Survivor for Week One (14 miles)

  • Day 1: 2 miles, walk the first 1/2 mile, run the next 1/2 mile, and then walk the last mile.  The objective is to do 2 miles without feeling awful, so take it slow.
  • Day 2: 2 miles, walk the first 1/2 mile, run the next 3/4 miles, and then walk the last 3/4 miles.  Again, take it slow and easy.
  • Day 3: 1 mile, try to run most of it at a comfortable pace.
  • Day 4: 1 mile easy walk, this is your "rest" day
  • Day 5: 3 miles, walk the first mile, run the second mile, and walk the last mile.  Slow and easy is the mantra in the first week.
  • Day 6: 3 miles, the same as day five.
  • Day 7: 2 mile easy walk, another rest day.


Marathon Runner For Week One (21 miles)

  • Day 1: 3 miles, walk the first half mile, run the next 1 1/2 miles, and then walk the last mile.  Take it slow, but if you feel good after 2 miles, run some of the last mile.
  • Day 2: 3 miles, walk the first 1/2 mile, run the next 2 miles, and then walk the last 1/2 mile.  Again, take it slow.
  • Day 3: 2 miles, try to run most of it at a comfortable pace.
  • Day 4: 2 mile easy walk, this is your "rest" day
  • Day 5: 4 miles, walk the first half mile, run most of the remaining 3 1/2 miles with short (1-2 minute) walking breaks if you need them. 
  • Day 6: 5 miles, run easy for 10 minutes followed by walking for 2 minutes.  Repeat this until you've reached 5 miles.
  • Day 7: 2 mile easy walk, another rest day.

As a Marathon Survivor, at the end of week 1, you've covered 14 miles, as a Marathon Runner, 21 miles.  A good start!  Hopefully your body is holding up well at this point.  You may be feeling some soreness in your large muscles (quads, hamstrings, and calves).  That soreness is normal.  If you're having any sharp pain in your joints (ankle, knee, or hip) that is persistent, you need to be very careful about continuing this training plan.  Also, shin splints are common if you haven't run much in the last few months, they're generally caused by bone weakness in the tibia and resolve themselves in about 3 months (the time for the bone to rebuild)  If the shin splints are minor, you can continue, but severe shin splints will be very painful if you continue to train. See a doctor if you're experiencing any kind of sharp pains that won't go away.

Three more weeks to go with your training plan! Go to Part 3 of The 30 Day Marathon Training Schedule