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Marathon Training Programs



  1. A 24-week training program 1 for marathon running (easily adjustable to 9-20 weeks)
  2. Detailed, structured running workouts
  3. Auto-regulation
  4. Planned recovery
  5. A peaking phase to get you race-ready!
  6. Detailed suggested pairings with RP diet and training plans
  7. Please note that the “view plans” button will take you to the Training Peaks website* (see FAQs for details)!


Why use TrainingPeaks, and is it free?

Yes! TrainingPeaks is free as a platform to use your RP Endurance Training Plan.  TrainingPeaks has a robust endurance training-focused web, mobile, and desktop service with advanced customer support services and loads of premium features available on subscription for collecting and analyzing useful data with GPS and heart rate.  If you’re not a data nerd, then enjoy the completely free delivery of your structured workouts in a mobile-friendly, web-friendly, desktop-friendly, and user-friendly way.

What happens when I get sent to the website?

This is where we are selling and hosting all endurance training programs.  You can review the various options to select a training plan that works for you.  Each one has detailed information with it.  There are 4 levels available, ranked from least experienced to most experienced athletes: Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.  Each are described thoroughly in the individual plan descriptions.

What if I need help using TrainingPeaks?

The TrainingPeaks customer success team is absolutely on top of their game.  They respond promptly and helpfully to all inquiries, and they have a very detailed FAQ and customer support page too, with many links to helpful articles about how to get the most out of your TrainingPeaks plan.

I am having trouble with TrainingPeaks software, website, or app! Where do I get help?

First, check out their FAQ page here:
Then, if that doesn’t solve it, send them an email here:

What happens once I make my purchase?

In the purchase process you’ll need to make a account. Don’t worry, they will take you through every step.  Once you purchase the plan and click the “Apply” button to apply the plan to your account and calendar, you’ll be able to see every workout.  100% of the training plan is handled through TrainingPeaks and their app and website.  No excel documents needed!

Do you offer refunds?

There are no refunds on our templates, training programs, or eBooks. All sales are final. No exceptions.

Once I’ve purchased the plan, where can I find more info?

In the first workout on the first day of the plan (it will say “click here!”), there are two documents.  One is a “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” and one is a “How-To” document.  Download and read both. 

Still need more info?  TrainingPeaks has an awesome help page:

Can I use these if I’m a triathlete or multi-sport athlete?

Yes! You sure can, and the ideal plan for that would be one of the lower-frequency (fewer days per week) plan from either the beginner or intermediate level.

Can I use these if I’m not training for any running race specifically?

Yes, absolutely! If you’re training for general fitness and want to include running, just pick the plan that has a frequency of training and weekly mileage that sound reasonable to you.

Can I use these if I’m training for another race distance?

For sure!  These can be used to train for other distance running events or obstacle course racing.  If you’re training for longer events like ultras we recommend purchasing one of the higher frequency plans that fits your ability level.  If you’re training for an event that is more than twice as long, we recommend considering purchasing a plan from one level more advanced than you might purchase, and just be sure to take an extra day off, if you ever feel worn down. 

Can I use these when losing fat, gaining muscle, or maintaining?

Good news, you can use these templates during any fat loss (cutting) or maintenance phase.  If you are in a fat loss phase, be sure to also be resistance training on a plan like our FPT, MPT, PL, or WL temlpates!  We recommend finishing any muscle gain phases before you start increasing endurance training focus, if you decide a muscle gain phase is for you.  As an athlete who considers endurance performance their primary fitness focus, muscle gain probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

How long do these programs last?

24 weeks. And, more good news: they’re reusable and include detailed instructions in the FAQ document for shortening the plan if you have an event sooner!  We don’t recommend attempting to shorten it to less than 12 weeks, unless you’ve already been training for running at the Week 14 mileage fairly regularly.  In that case, you could use just the final 5-10 weeks of the plan as your competition preparation and peaking phase(s).

How long will these workouts last?

Depending on the level, anywhere from half an hour to 3 hours.

I procrastinated! And now I’ve only got 12-20 weeks to train for my event. Can I still make use of these training programs?

Yes! You can modify the training program any way you like, but just following certain weeks at a time. Just be aware that injury risk, risk of overtraining or undertraining goes up the more you modify the program.

One way to shorten the overall duration of the program would be to cut out 1 working week from every training mesocycle. It is up to you which week to cut out, but be sure that you’re not biting off more than you can chew! Cutting out a deload week without also cutting out the entire mesocycle that it’s associated with is not recommended. This leads to the second option for shortening the duration of the program to fit your calendar.

The second way to shorten the program is to remove an entire training block. If you remove the first, or one of the middle mesocycles, you may be missing some physiological adaptions that would benefit you in the mesocycles that you plan to complete in your shortened plan. If you are careful about fatigue management and you are willing to back off intensity occasionally, this can be accomplished without issue. If you prefer to move the final mesocycle of the training plan, we recommend that you remove the 4 weeks immediately preceding race-week, but still include race week in your plan. The race week is designed specifically to encourage recovery and peaking for your big day! The tradeoff of removing the final training block is: that is when the most specific training to your race length occurs. But, it is the safest option to do it this way, because you won’t be missing any physiological building blocks.

Why do some of the days listed have non-round distances listed, like 2.98, or 6.47 instead of 3.00 or 6.50?

Some of the training sessions are programmed in meters, instead of miles, the discrepancy between metric and standard units creates small rounding errors in distance. The reason metric is still used for many of the workouts is because most outdoor tracks where workouts are usually performed are 400m around, not 440 yards or an exact quarter mile. If you work out on a treadmill, just run a quarter-mile (.25 miles) for every 400 meters prescribed. If 200m is prescribed, that’s .125 miles. If 100m is prescribed it’s roughly .0625 miles. If 300m is prescribed that is roughly .1875 miles. Please round to the nearest decimal point available on your treadmill distance measurement and all will work out just fine!

I like racing more frequently than every 24 weeks; can I do that with this plan?

Yes, absolutely. Just be aware of which weeks are “deload” weeks in your plan and if you’re trying to perform at your best along the way, schedule your races at the end of a deload week and replace whatever run was planned that day with the race itself. If you plan a race on a non-deload week, be prepared to feel a tad sluggish and not as well recovered as you might be able to be after a deload week or peak. Also, keep in mind that the workouts provided within the training plan progress week after week to prepare you to race at your very best at the end of the training program. Don’t expect big PR’s when your workouts haven’t prepared you specifically for race-readiness yet. That said, you can still PR, especially if you’re newer to running. Go for it!

How often is too often to race?

It all comes down to trade-offs. If you race more often, you’ll be less recovered from your training and quality of training may go down. But if you live and breathe for collecting medals and t-shirts, then by all means, race once or twice every 4-5 training block. Just know that training program will probably need to be reduced in volume and/or intensity to accommodate your higher fatigue levels. The plan you have purchased is a pre-season type plan, meaning that it gets you in shape for racing by building general fitness, and then race-specific fitness later in the plan. The implications of this are that it’s not meant to withstand more frequent racing than every 4-6 weeks or so, without alterations. If you are interested in in-season training plans with more frequent race opportunities, that is in the RP pipeline of development. For now, the best option would be seeking a 1:1 coach. Even in an “in-season” or “competition” phase of the year, it is almost never recommended that at an athlete race more than 2 times per month for optimal training and racing performance. For the longer events (half marathon and up), even 1 per month can be too much to recover from.

How do I set my goal time?

Previous PR’s are a great place to start! Shooting for a 5-10% improvement annually for new athletes is fantastic. Advanced athletes may be seeking only 1-3% improvements per year. Elites may only improve <1% on the best of years. Keep those percentages in mind when setting goals. If you don’t have a race time for the event length that you’re currently training for, here is a handy calculator that can provide some insight on what equivalent times might look like:

Bear in mind also, the ‘type’ of athlete you are. Do you tend to be more sprint/power/strength oriented? Or do you tend to enjoy and excel in the longer stuff with less speed? Depending on your answer and whether you’re now racing longer or shorter distance(s) than before, you may need to aim higher or lower in terms of cross referencing previous PR’s for goal-time-setting.

Can I mix and match training plans to prepare me to be an all-around endurance athlete with the range to race well in a 5k, all the way up to a half marathon or marathon?

Yes, you can purchase multiple programs, but it is not recommended that you run two training programs concomitantly. That is, the training programs are not “stackable.” If you’re dead set on mixing and matching, you could choose one workout per week from one of the programs to replace a workout on the same calendar day on a different training program and the results would be a more well-rounded athlete.

Another option for becoming as well-rounded of an endurance athlete as possible would be to purchase a training program that is in the middle of the two distance extremes that you’re interested in training for.

If I’m feeling strong in a workout, can I go faster than the pace or effort level prescribed?

If it is the first rep of the workout, no. If it is a run that is prescribed at 95% of threshold or lower, no. If it is a run prescribed at a 6 on the RPE scale or lower, no.

If you are midway through a set of intervals or a harder threshold bout and you’re confident that if you go faster for the duration of the present rep that you’ll still be able to hit at least the prescribed pace for all the other reps of the workout, then yes, you can go faster. If you are feeling run down at all before the workout however, that is not a day to push paces above what are prescribed.

If I’m feeling very worn down during a workout, but I can hit the pace if I really push, should I still hit the paces as prescribed, and complete the full number of intervals, reps, or the duration of the run?

It depends. If it is an interval workout (>100% threshold pace or a 7 out of 10 on the RPE scale), the purpose is to stress your maximum oxygen utilization capacity. This system is not easily improved without sufficient intensity. You would be better off getting the higher intensity stimulus and cutting the workout short by a rep or two, or each rep short by 200-400m so that you can complete the workout at the appropriate intensity without fading.

If it is a threshold workout (90-100% of threshold pace prescribed), you would be better off keeping the intensity within 90% of threshold pace and completing the full workout or shortening the distance if you must. If the prescription is for higher than 90% for the running bout you’re doing, and you realize there is no way you can hold the pace for the remainder of the set, you should slow down to a pace within the 90-95% threshold pace range that would allow you to continue through the full prescribed distance.

If the portion of a running workout you’re struggling through is a marathon-paced run (80-90% threshold pace), you should pick a pre-determined distance ahead to run the current pace to, and then run at least 800m at as slow of a pace as you like. Once you’ve recovered and had a moment to think, return to marathon pace again if you’re sure that it won’t jeopardize your ability to complete the total distance covered during the whole session. If you’re unsure that you’ll be able to run marathon pace for the whole remainder of prescribed marathon pace work, then run easy pace for the remainder of the prescribed distance.

If it is an easy run (80% threshold pace or under), you may absolutely go slower, and should go slower by whatever magnitude you like so that you can feel recovered for the subsequent training bouts!

I want to learn more about the process! Where can I learn more about the “why” behind my training or about nutrition specific to endurance athletes?

A great book for the basics of endurance running is Jack Daniels’ Running Formula, written by PhD, Jack Daniels.

There is a beefy endurance sport nutrition chapter in the RP Diet Book version 2.0, scheduled for release Summer of 2018. You can expect RP’s reach into the endurance realm to only continue to grow, so be on the lookout for more relevant products!

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