Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training Plans

customized for you and the race.

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  • Safe Training Plans Fewer Injuries
  • Successful Training Plans Better Results

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training Plans

Custom Training Plans are designed around you and the Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon course. We take into account variables that no other training plans can match because we know how important it is to achieve your specific Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathonr goals.

  • Expert Training Plans

    expert plans

    Developed by certified coaches with time-tested results.

  • Runner Specific Training Plans

    Runner Specific

    We know you’re unique. Your training plan should match.

  • Race Specific Training Plans

    race Specific

    Race profile, time of year, and altitude all factor into our plans.

  • Affordable Training Plans


    Custom plans shouldn’t cost more than the race itself.


The first running of Grandma's Marathon occurred in 1977, with just 150 hardy souls toeing the line. Today, Grandma's Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K attract more than 15,000 runners from all 50 states and dozens of countries to the shores of Lake Superior on the third weekend in June. Despite the race's location in northern Minnesota, conditions in late June are ideal for running, with an average high temperature of 68 degrees on race day. If you're headed to the North Shore, let Custom Training Plans help you prepare. Our Grandma's Marathon training plans, Grandma's Half Marathon training plans, and Grandma's 5K training plans provide workouts that are custom-tailored to help you avoid overtraining and burnout.

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training Plan

Grandma’s 5K is run the day before the marathon and half marathon, making it an equally appealing option for new racers and those competing the next day. The 5K course is run almost entirely within the Canal Park area and passes the Great Lakes Aquarium, Sister Cities Park, and the War Memorials before finishing on the waterfront next to the S.S. William A. Irvin, docked in Superior Bay. If you’re racing for the first time or returning to the sport after an absence, following our Grandma’s 5K training program can help you build the endurance you need for this distance.

The starting gun for Grandma’s Marathon and Half Marathon goes off bright and early the next day. Both courses are point-to-point and follow a straight, largely flat route along the shore of Lake Superior. The half marathon course starts at the 13.1-mile marker of the full marathon and shares the same course all the way to the finish at Canal Park. The marathon course starts in Two Harbors and follows Old Highway 61 for almost 25 miles. Both courses are made up entirely of paved surfaces and feature a mixture of flat stretches and very light hills, making Grandma’s a popular place to shoot for a Boston Marathon qualifying time or a new PR. CTP’s 20-week Grandma’s Marathon training plans help you reach for your goals with customized workouts that are designed to increase your endurance and speed. For beginners, we also offer a 24-week couch-to-marathon Grandma’s Marathon training program. This option provides an additional four weeks of workouts designed to get your body ready to handle the demands of marathon training.

Beginnings: Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977, deriving its unique name not from the idea of elderly women running, but rather from its original sponsor, Grandma’s Saloon & Grill, a local restaurant in Duluth. The inaugural race saw a modest turnout of around 150 runners, but the enthusiasm and promise were palpable.

Growing Popularity: With each passing year, the race grew in reputation and numbers. By the 1980s, it had established itself as one of the premier marathons in the United States. The race’s course, which starts just outside of Two Harbors and finishes in Duluth’s Canal Park, offers runners a scenic view of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscapes, adding to its allure.

Race Highlights: Over the years, Grandma’s Marathon has seen some exceptional performances. From dominant displays by elite runners to heartfelt finishes by everyday heroes, the marathon has been a stage for many memorable moments. The race has also attracted international athletes, further elevating its status on the global marathon stage.

Community and Culture: More than just a race, Grandma’s Marathon is a celebration. The entire Duluth community gets behind the event, with local bands playing along the course and residents turning out in droves to support the runners. The marathon weekend also includes the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K, offering something for runners of all levels.

Challenges and Resilience: Like many long-standing events, Grandma’s Marathon has faced its share of challenges, from inclement weather to the global disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the resilience of the organizers, volunteers, and the broader Duluth community has ensured the marathon’s continuity, often with adaptations to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants.

Present Day: Today, Grandma’s Marathon stands as one of the most beloved marathons in the country, with thousands of runners participating every year. It retains its community-driven spirit while providing a professionally organized race experience.

Grandma’s Marathon is more than just a footrace; it’s a testament to the spirit of Duluth, the passion of the running community, and the beauty of the North Shore. Its history is a tapestry of athletic achievements, community engagement, and the unwavering spirit of endurance running.

When you choose a CTP training plan, you get so much more than a generic mileage schedule. At Custom Training Plans, we take a comprehensive approach to training. In addition to mobility exercises and cross-training, our programs incorporate intervals, sprints, and hill work to keep your running workouts fresh as you build power. No matter what distance you’re preparing for, every one of our training plans is customized to provide you with workouts of just the right intensity. Get your race prep off on the right foot and pick up a customized Grandma’s Marathon training plan, Grandma’s Half Marathon training plan, or Grandma’s 5K training plan from Custom Training Plans.

Here’s what you’ll receive in your plan package:

  • Daily Plans


  • Pace Chart

    Pace chart

  • Lift Workouts

    Lift workouts

  • Coaching Letter

    Letter from your coach

  • Mobility Workouts

    Mobility workouts

  • RPE Chart

    RPE chart

  • Running Podcast


  • Motivational Emails

    Weekly motivation email

How Training Plans Work

How it works

  1. Complete our proprietary runner questionnaire so we can get to know you better.
  2. Your custom Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon plan is built based on advanced analytics with expert coaching oversight.
  3. Receive your custom Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon training plan, lifting + mobility guide, a letter from our coaches, and more within 24 hours.
  4. Finish the Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon with confidence.

Our method

  1. Certified Coaches

    With the expertise of USATF certified coaches and physical therapists, we built an advanced model to weigh the effects of runner-specific variables on training outcomes.

  2. Custom Race Profile

    We analyzed unique characteristics of hundreds of races across the country to build a “race profile” into our model that accounts for elevation gain, altitude, time of year, and more.

  3. Training Plan Model

    Our model generates a unique training plan for you and your race, and all plans are reviewed by a coach and hand-tweaked before they make their way to you.