Houston Marathon Training Plans

customized for you and the race.

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

Houston Marathon
Training Plans

Custom Training Plans are designed around you and the Houston 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 Houston Marathon 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 Houston Marathon has been held on the third weekend of January since 1972, when just over 100 participants took the starting line for the inaugural marathon. Since then, the race's popularity has skyrocketed. Today, the Houston Marathon is the city's largest single-day sporting event. A 5K race, half marathon, and full marathon are run over the course of the weekend, drawing more than 25,000 runners and close to half a million spectators to the Lone Star State. If you're registered for one of these races, preparation is key. The Houston Marathon is an exceptionally fast, USATF-certified course and has hosted both the Olympic Marathon Trials and the USATF National Championships. The flat course and Houston's cool January weather also make this race a popular choice for those aiming for a Boston Marathon qualifying time. But despite its storied pedigree, all of the Houston Marathon courses are perfect for runners of all levels. Custom Training Plans offers Houston Marathon training plans, Houston Half Marathon training plans, and We Are Houston 5K training plans that can be customized to suit athletes at any level.

Houston Marathon Training Plan

The festivities begin on Saturday with the We Are Houston 5K. This race was added in 2014, and follows an out-and-back loop in downtown Houston. The 5K route starts on the south side of Minute Maid Park on Discovery Green, taking an out-and-back route through the streets of downtown Houston’s business district. The 5K is a great way to warm up the legs before a longer race on Sunday or dip your toe into racing, and our customizable We Are Houston 5K training plans can help all types of runners prepare to reach the finish line successfully.

On Sunday morning, thousands of racers come together for the start of the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon. The course for the half marathon starts with the full marathon in the downtown area a few blocks north of Minute Maid Park – the home of the Houston Astros. After departing, the route threads through scenic neighborhoods including Houston Heights, Neartown, Hermann Park and Rice University, Uptown, and Memorial Park. Both the 13.1 and the 26.2 finish at the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown. The courses are USATF-certified for those focused on rankings and qualifications.

From the starting line on Congress, runners head west toward Franklin Street and then to Washington Avenue, which takes them through Houston’s Washington corridor. At approximately the 2.5-mile marker, the course turns south across Buffalo Bayou. The route crosses the bridge that’s home to the Waugh Drive Bat Colony arrives in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The course meanders toward the campus of Rice University, where the half marathon and marathon courses diverge. After passing the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the half marathon course heads north to the Allen Parkway, where runners turn east for the home stretch back into downtown for the Houston Half Marathon finish.

Once the half marathon and marathon courses split, the next nine miles of the marathon weave through the Greenway, Uptown, and West Oaks neighborhoods. This section, like all of the weekend’s racecourses, is relatively flat. Though this seems advantageous, it can actually make the relatively small rises on the full Houston Marathon course seem like major obstacles. The marathoners will face the race’s sharpest climb and descent just shy of mile 13, near the Art Institute of Houston. CTP’s Houston Marathon training plans prepare you for this feature with running workouts that include intervals and hill repeats to increase your power. Our training programs aren’t just customized for your fitness level – they’re tailored to the race you’re training for, too.

The last third of the marathon sends runners through some of Houston’s largest green spaces and follows a picturesque, winding path. The route spends almost two miles in Memorial Park, where runners pass the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center and the Memorial Park Golf Course. After the course exits the park, you’ll cross to the south side of Buffalo Bayou via the Shepherd Drive Bridge. With three miles to go, the route skirts Eleanor Tinsley Park before reentering downtown Houston, where the finish line awaits at Discovery Green.

Whether you’ve been pounding the pavement for decades or you’re brand-new to running, preparing for your race with a professionally designed training plan can help you get ready to finish strong. In addition to our standard training plans, Custom Training Plans offers couch-to-half marathon and -marathon plans that provide new or returning runners with additional conditioning workouts to support safe race training. Each of our Houston Marathon training programs, Houston Half Marathon training programs, and We Are Houston 5K training programs are made for you and your race, helping you to train smarter, not harder.

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 Houston Marathon plan is built based on advanced analytics with expert coaching oversight.
  3. Receive your custom Houston Marathon training plan, lifting + mobility guide, a letter from our coaches, and more within 24 hours.
  4. Finish the Houston 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.