“Motivation remains key to the marathon: the motivation to begin; the motivation to continue; the motivation never to quit.”
Among my most enjoyable activities is helping runners train for the marathon. I estimate that I have assisted more than a half million runners reach the finish line of 26 mile 385 yard races. Even that estimate may be low given the number of people who have purchased copies of my best-selling book, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, who have signed up for my interactive training programs or who, like you, have surfed this site.
40 percent of the 45,000 who register for the Chicago Marathon each year are doing their first marathon, often their first road race! The first question these so-called Newbies ask is: “How do I train?” Whether from word-of-mouth or some other source, they learn that my 18-week schedule for beginning runners, Novice 1, is pretty much foolproof. It is a gently progressive program involving four days of running a week. The long run in the first week of training is a relatively easy 6-miler. Each weekend, the long run gets longer, peaking at 20 miles three weeks before the marathon. A tapering period allows runners to gather energy for the race. Cross-training and ample amounts of rest prevent overtraining. And it works!
Many experienced runners doing their second, third and fourth marathons stick with the Novice 1 program, because it fits well into their busy lives. Or they choose Novice 2, which provides a slight bump upward in difficulty. Recently at an Expo where I was signing copies of my book, one woman told me that she had used my Novice 1 program for 13 consecutive marathons!
For those hoping to improve, to set Personal Records, or to qualify for The Boston Marathon, I also offer two Intermediate and two Advanced programs, each one a logical step upward in difficulty and intensity. And for those who have more than 18 weeks to train, I also offer two 30-week programs: Novice Supreme, aimed at runners new to the sport, and Personal Best, aimed at runners seeking peak performance. Consider also Marathon 3, featuring only three days of running a week and slightly more cross-training.
You can become my virtual training partner by using the free schedules here on this site, or you can sign up for the interactive version of all my programs, available through TrainingPeaks. Each day I will send you e-mail instructions telling you what to run each day, offering also tips on your training. You will learn much, much more about how to train for a marathon by signing up for one of my interactive programs. I strongly urge that you consider to do so. Never before has it been easier to run a marathon. Never before has it been more fun! Good luck with your training.
This is Hal's most popular program: the Novice 1 Marathon Training Program. If you are training for your first marathon, this is the training...
Novice 2 is designed to fit comfortably between the Novice 1 and Intermediate 1 marathon plans. It is designed for runners who may already...
Hal's Intermediate 1 Marathon Training Program is one step up from Novice 2. It is designed for runners who may have used the novice...
What's the difference between the Intermediate 1 and the Intermediate 2 Marathon Training Programs? A little bit of mileage, that's all. Runners who choose...
This training program for Advanced 1 marathoners offers a progressive buildup--similar to that for the novice and intermediate runners, except you start at 10...
The Advanced 2 Marathon Training Program is the toughest one Hal offers. Be aware of that before you punch the purchase button. It may...
Are you a new runner with a limited background in running, yet you still would like to run a marathon? This Novice Supreme combines...
This 30-week Personal Best Marathon Training Program is designed for experienced runners, those who have run two or three or more marathons and who...
The Senior program is a special schedule designed for experienced runners, who want to keep their weekly mileage relatively low.
The Marathon 3 program fits conveniently between Novice 2 and Intermediate 1, but its main feature (and appeal) is that it offers only three...
Available again in January 2019, this Boston Bound Training Program is designed specifically for those runners talented or dedicated enough to have qualified for...
Hal offers several plans designed for runners intending to do two or more marathons with minimum rest between, including interactive programs on TrainingPeaks for...
What do you do when your marathon gets cancelled? This Alternate Marathon guide is designed to help you navigate your training routine for marathons...
For those accepting the Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon, here is your training program. Following the popularity of the Goofy Challenge,...