- Smarter Plans
- Fewer Injuries
- Better Results
Developed by certified coaches with time-tested results.
We know you’re unique. Your marathon training plan should match.
Race profile, time of year, and altitude all factor into our marathon plans.
Custom marathon plans shouldn’t cost more than the race itself.
Let’s be honest: using average marathon plans can give you average results. Custom Training Plans is dedicated to providing marathoners of all abilities with personalized plans made just for you. If you’re a complete beginner, our 24-week marathon training plan includes four extra weeks of workouts, helping you make the move from couch to marathon in just six months. For more experienced runners, our CTP 20-week marathon training plans can help you start your training at an intensity that’s just right for your current fitness level.
The effort you put into your marathon prep matters, and it’s worth it to invest in a customized plan that considers both your needs and your upcoming race. For example, if you live in a relatively flat area, following a random plan found online might leave you less than prepared for a hilly race like the San Francisco Marathon. Custom Training Plans takes the course’s punchy elevation changes and long, steady climbs into account to create effective 24-week marathon training plans and 20-week marathon training plans that feature plenty of hill work to help you prepare for the hills of SF. Read on to learn more about how our personalized marathon training plans can prepare you to conquer every step of your race.
How long does it take to train for a marathon?
If you’re new to 26.2, you might be wondering how to prepare for a marathon. The wide range of program durations can cause confusion, and it can be hard to figure out the best choice for your needs. It’s important to choose a plan that builds your strength and endurance gradually. Unfortunately, following extended 32-week marathon training schedules can cause your performance to peak before you even reach the starting line. While there are options that purportedly get you ready with 6-, 8-, or 10-week marathon training plans, speeding through marathon prep can end your race before it even begins.
At Custom Training Plans, we work with exceptional athletic trainers to design programs that hit the sweet spot of marathon training. Our experts confirm that a 24-week marathon training plan is ideal for complete beginners, as is a 20-week marathon training plan customized for athletes who already have an established baseline of fitness. Four additional weeks of conditioning workouts make the 24-week couch-to-marathon training plan just right for runners who are new to the sport, whether you’re getting ready to tour the monuments at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., or hit two states in a single race at the Flying Pig Marathon.
What should I look for in a marathon training plan?
Because marathoners tend to be the distance runners most susceptible to injury, selecting a program of the right length can help to keep you healthy and ready to train. Following a professionally designed CTP marathon training program may reduce the risk of common injuries like tendonitis, knee and ankle problems, and other overtraining maladies. Every CTP marathon program is calibrated to allow you to safely and gradually build the strength, endurance, and mental stamina necessary to make it through all 26.2 miles feeling strong.
Custom 24-week marathon training plans and 20-week marathon training plans give you so much more than the generic plans you might find online. One-size-fits-all training schedules just aren’t made to fit all athletes, and using a plan that’s not calibrated to your specifications can be a disaster. Runners that need time to build up the fitness required to start a marathon training schedule may find themselves discouraged by the length of initial workouts, and experienced runners may not get workouts of the intensity necessary to reach for their goals.
When you prepare for your marathon with Custom Training Plans, you get so much more than just a mileage chart. Running workouts that include sprint drills, hill repeats, long runs, and intervals lay the foundation of muscular strength and stamina you will need to rely on throughout your race. While mileage is certainly a major component of marathon training, Custom Training Plans also gives you variety in your running workouts. Personalized guidance on switching up your speed, distance, and effort can help to keep you from hitting a dreaded fitness plateau. However, racing well also means preparing your body in ways that may not seem directly related to running.
In addition to adding variety to your training plan, cross-training activities like swimming, cycling, weightlifting, and hiking give you the chance to experience different types of movement that support full-body stability and increase your overall strength. And since your body needs to rest and recover to keep building fitness and help you avoid burnout, our plans include rest days that give you (and your legs) a chance to kick back and relax.
How long does it take to run a marathon?
An average marathon time is between 4 and 5 hours. For recreational runners, anything less than 4 hours is considered a very good marathon time. Dedicated athletes may set even loftier goals, dropping their target finishing time within the 3-hour range. But when it comes down to brass tacks, your average marathon time will be determined by your level of commitment and the quality of your training plan. When you make the decision to take part in a customized program to prepare for your marathon, you’re increasing the chance that you’ll meet — or even beat! — your target time. In fact, you can customize your own marathon goals, like picking up your pace per mile or dropping your overall finishing time.
Your finishing time will also depend on factors that are based on the marathon’s location. The course’s difficulty will play a major part in your performance, as will the weather. Hot and humid climates can have a negative effect on your pace, so if you’re planning to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in New Orleans, you’ll want to take the heat and humidity into consideration when it comes to your training. CTP offers customization options that can help you cross the finish line near your target finish time, no matter the weather or how big the challenges your course presents.
Similarly, our plans allow you to target your preparation for a flat, fast marathon course like the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Our distance-specific 20-week marathon training plans can be adjusted to the right intensity to help you build the strength you need to progress toward your marathon goals, whether that’s an improved finishing time, a top-10 placement in your age category, a faster, more consistent pace, or anything else you can dream of.
History of the marathon
The marathon, a prestigious distance of 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers), is deeply rooted in history and mythology, making it one of the most iconic events in the athletic world. Its origins trace back to ancient Greece and the legendary run of Pheidippides, a messenger who supposedly ran from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a military victory. This storied tale laid the foundation for the marathon race introduced in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. From these historic beginnings, the marathon has evolved into a global phenomenon, with major races held in cities around the world, attracting elite athletes and recreational runners alike. With the rise in popularity of this ultimate endurance test, there’s been a burgeoning demand for structured and effective marathon training plans. Today’s runners, whether they’re aiming for a Boston qualifier or simply looking to complete their first marathon, understand the value of a comprehensive training regimen. Tailored marathon training plans have become essential tools, guiding athletes through meticulous preparation, ensuring they achieve peak performance, avoid injuries, and meet their race-day goals. As marathons continue to captivate millions, the quest for the ideal training blueprint remains at the forefront of every runner’s journey.
Thoughtful, comprehensive marathon training for everyone
At Custom Training Plans, we believe that 24-week couch-to-marathon training plans and 20-week marathon training plans should consider your current level of fitness, previous marathon experience, and the route of the marathon itself. Personalized plans allow you to follow a well-rounded preparation method as you move toward race day, and our professionally developed, customized plans offer so much more than free marathon training schedules. From our 24-week marathon training plan for novice runners to our 20-week marathon training plans for advanced racers, our plans build fitness, help you avoid injuries, and give long-distance enthusiasts the tools to increase speed, power, and endurance.
Make your next marathon one to remember with Custom Training Plans
There are thousands of people who experience the thrill of crossing the finish line after a marathon, and we think it’s time for you to join them. We can help you start your marathon journey from scratch with a race-specific 24-week couch-to-marathon training plan or provide guided support throughout a 20-week marathon training plan. If your goal marathon isn’t available yet or you’re just looking for a high-quality, professionally developed marathon training plan, we’ve got you covered there too.
Marathon training is similar to making progress toward other goals: you only get the results if you put in the work. Whether your goal is to go from couch to marathon in 24 weeks or you’re a seasoned racer seeking a new personal best, don’t prepare with a generic plan. Devoting your time to an all-inclusive, personalized marathon program gives you advantages exclusive to Custom Training Plans. When you’re ready to get moving, buy your personalized CTP marathon training plan here.
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How it works
- Complete our proprietary runner questionnaire so we can get to know you better.
- Your custom Marathon Training Plan is built based advanced analytics with personalized coaching oversight.
- Receive your custom Marathon Training Plan, lifting + mobility guide, a letter from our coaches, and more within 24 hours.
- Finish the Marathon Training Plan with confidence.
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.
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.
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.