Couch to Marathon Training Plan and Tips

You’ve finally taken the leap and hit register, when reality sets in…this amazing goal needs a plan. Welcome to the Couch to Marathon training plan, we’re here to help guide you through the next six months and make sure you can throw your hands up victoriously at the finish.

Can you train for a marathon in 6 months?

Yes. It’s not always my favorite thing for runners to do, but it’s 100% POSSIBLE if you follow a plan and choose to be smart about training and setting appropriate goals.

Remember the goal of a first marathon is just to finish injury free! Checkout the below tips to be a smart runner.

Couch to Marathon Training Plan

I won’t waste time, if you’re here for a plan then you can get it ASAP at the link below.

But I hope you’ll read on for some training tips to ensure this isn’t a dreadful experience.

Training Plan Notes

A few important things to explain what you’ll find on the plan so you can get the most from it.

Easy runs mean that you can carry on a conversation. If you are huffing and puffing you’re going too hard.

You have to learn how to run easy to increase your mileage and that usually means starting out with run/walk intervals. Overtime you’ll improve your fitness and be able to lessen the walk time and increase the run time.

Hill sprints are to be done at the end of a run and are designed to help you build leg strength for power and speed with less chance of injury.

Intensity remains fairly low on the whole for this Couch to Marathon plan. The idea is to first build a strong foundation and then to introduce speed workouts, while still keeping them at 20% or less of your total mileage.

Our goal is not a blazing fast race, it’s ensuring that you can complete the training and show up at the start line ready to go!

Couch to Marathon Training Guide

At a minimum I’d like to see you have 6 months of training, ideally I’d be way more excited if you were willing to give it a full year…but since you’re here that’s unlikely and I get it!

Why do we want more time than you might expect for training?

  • Your muscles, joints and tendons have to adapt to the new increased stress
  • Jumping mileage too quickly leads to injuries, which means no training and no race
  • Over this time you’ll learn how to be consistent, how to fuel properly and recover
  • Marathon training is not just running.

Ohhhhh, that last one got your attention didn’t it.

Who is the Couch to Marathon Guide For?

I’ve designed this so that it can be used by the brand new runner, the person calling themselves out of shape and scaled up for someone who has some fitness but isn’t really running.

  • Scaling up the plan means you might move through run/walk times faster (i.e. using 8/1 instead of 4/1) or it might mean that you can do just a little bit more on the long runs
  • Don’t try to cram in additional miles or make up runs, that’s a great way to get injured
  • Remember that run/walk marathon training is a tool used even by experienced runners

Tips for Couch to Marathon Training

Let’s look at a few of the key pieces which will get you through training injury free and much stronger than you might anticipate.

BOOK MARK THIS PAGE – come back during training to keep learning and making your runs better.

1. Dynamic Warm Up

Never. Ever. Start Running…without a warm up.

No, not sometimes. Never.

  • loosens up tight muscles
  • lubricates joints
  • gets the body prepped to run
  • sends signals to the brain that you’re ready to run
  • Dynamic Warm Up Movements

That’s right. If you’ll give me 7-10 minutes pre-run then you will find that you can actually run farther before you start to feel winded.

Runners who train with us have consistently reported by time and time again that it blows their minds how much better their runs go after adding in a dynamic warm up.

2. Core Strength

This is not about getting you sprinter abs, this is about getting you glutes, hips and abs that will keep you injury free.

95% of running injuries come from lack of strength or imbalances in theses areas and you have the ability to PREVENT that by putting in just a little bit of time.

  • 30 Day Core Runner Program – don’t know where to start this gives you 10 minutes a day and leads to running faster and less injuries
  • Add glute bridge marches and single leg bend and reach to your dynamic warm up
  • Stop holding planks for 2 minutes and start doing planks that require stabilization like straight arm plank raising and lowering your arms

3. Post Run Recovery

Rest is training.

Pro runners know it, but we mere mortals seem to think no days off is the best approach. It’s not.

That leads to over training, burnout and injury.

  • Post run refuel think about nutrients that will speed repair like protein, high quality carbs — sorry not the donut (it’s ok once in awhile, but not leading to your big goal)
  • After long runs take an epsom salt bath to ease sore muscles
  • Wear compression gear after long runs to help your legs feel better
  • Plan to take an easy walk the day after hard runs to loosen things up
  • SLEEP – seriously it’s proven by science again and again to be the best thing for recovery and hence performance
  • FUEL – do not try to lose weight while marathon training. It could happen has a byproduct, but if you are drastically cutting calories and increasing mileage all you will do is increase cortisol which means belly fat and throw your hormones out of whack (aka the female triad).

Really all of that is still just touching on the basics, but if you can commit to the warm up, core work and taking recovery seriously then you will get this done!

Best of luck to you and if you decide you need more help, checkout our Virtual Run Club!

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Couch to Marathon Training Plan and Tips is written by amanda for

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