San Diego Marathon Training Plans

customized for you and the race.

get started | $19.99
  • Smarter Training Plans Smarter Plans
  • Safe Training Plans Fewer Injuries
  • Successful Training Plans Better Results

San Diego Marathon
Training Plans

Custom Training Plans are designed around you and the San Diego 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 San Diego 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.


Established in 1998, the San Diego Marathon is relatively young in terms of American marathons. The San Diego Marathon is the original race of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, and it is run annually at the end of May. The half marathon and 5K were added to the marathon festivities in the late 2000s, and together, the events draw more than 23,000 runners to the Bay Area each year.

San Diego Marathon Training Plan

The San Diego Marathon is run on a course that’s considered to be more challenging than the average marathon course, but with proper preparation, even a beginner can make it to the finish line. Custom Training Plans has designed training programs that are tailored to each course. Our San Diego Marathon training plans, San Diego Half Marathon training plans, and San Diego 5K training plans provide workouts designed for athletes at every level. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned race rat, each of CTP’s training programs is designed to help increase cardiovascular fitness safely and effectively.

The San Diego Marathon is run each year under near-perfect Southern California May weather. The weekend kicks off with the San Diego 5K on Saturday. If you’re new to the racing scene or lacing up your running shoes after a break, this is a great race to (re)start with. The slightly hilly course shares the start line of the marathon and half marathon next to Balboa Park, home to many of San Diego’s most famous attractions, including the natural history museum as well as the internationally renowned San Diego Zoo. The route yo-yos up and down Sixth Avenue before heading into the park itself. The 5K course turns south before looping north toward the finish line. The final half-kilometer of the 5K course involves the race’s biggest climb, so you need a San Diego 5K training plan with hill repeats, intervals, and cross-training workouts specifically designed to build strength and power on hills.

The next day, the San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon are run. From the starting line next to Balboa Park, the half marathon follows a smooth, meandering route through the neighborhoods north of the park, including University Heights, Normal Heights, and North Park. During this section, runners will face some rolling hills that are said to make time fly. Before runners reach mile 9, the full marathoners split off from those running the half. The half marathon route weaves south through Balboa Park past the Bennington Oak Grove on the way to the finish line on State Street in downtown San Diego.

The half marathon and full marathon routes are significantly different, which means that it’s important for you to train for the specific race you’re running. CTP offers San Diego Half Marathon training plans and San Diego Marathon training plans that help you prepare for course-specific features and use them to your advantage. We even offer extended couch-to-marathon or couch-to-half marathon programs that include additional conditioning workouts, helping new runners to avoid overtraining injuries. Our San Diego Half Marathon training plans are customized to the course to help you build the explosive power that you’ll need to conquer short, small rises throughout your race.

On the other hand, our San Diego Marathon training plans take a different approach. Once the courses diverge, the marathon course plunges more than 150 feet in less than a mile. The route then leads runners out toward Mission Bay and the flat, scenic coast. However, what goes down must come up, and when marathoners leave Mission Bay, the road begins to rise. Many marathon course designers are fond of presenting racers with a final challenge, and the San Diego Marathon is a prime example. Though the elevation map’s focus is the giant hill leading to the highway that appears to begin at mile 22, smaller climbs start around mile 19. Those who have focused only on the climb to the highway will arrive at mile 22 with especially tired legs. At CTP, our San Diego Marathon training plans take these rolling hills into account so you’ve got the endurance and cardiovascular strength you need to conquer the final climb.

After the final climb, it’s all downhill. The marathon course drops back down into downtown San Diego, where thousands of spectators provide enthusiastic encouragement to the runners as they cross the finish line. Overall, the mellow weather, challenging course, and friendly crowds make the San Diego Marathon a popular choice for runners from all over the U.S. As with any race, finishing injury-free requires proper training and dedication. Custom Training Plans can help you prepare with customized San Diego Marathon training programs, San Diego Half Marathon training programs, and San Diego 5K training programs that provide course-specific advice and completely customizable workouts. Whatever your current fitness level or distance, trust Custom Training Plans to help you train.

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