12 Week Training Plan Marathon Tips for Success

Are yo seeking a new and legitimate 12-week marathon training plan to help taking your training and racing to the next level? If so, then welcome to RunDreamAchieve.

I am glad you have made it here. It includes threshold intervals, aerobic endurance base miles and marathon-specific workouts to fine-tune their pacing and meet race day challenges head on.

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Why a 12 Week Training Plan Marathon?

3 months is a solid time to prepare well for a marathon. It provides you with sufficient time to maximize your chance of running the 26.2 mile distance. I usually recommend runners focus on a minimum of 16 and preferably 20 to 24 weeks to get it right. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on the body. So, a longer rather than shorter build up is always best.

Our 12 week training plan marathon should provide the optimal mix of tough runs, easy recovery runs and tempo runs. Also, speed intervals designed to build endurance and speed. In addition, rest days to ensure you are recovering from the harder, anaerobic workouts that you are doing.

A quality marathon training plan also includes a 3-week taper period before race day!

This beginner half marathon training schedule is tailored for runners with an existing running base who are comfortable tackling 4-5 miles comfortably. Over three months, weekly mileage will gradually increase along with long run distance. Furthermore, V02 max drills and cross training exercises will help your body recover after hard training sessions.

Recovery Runs

Your 12 week training plan marathon begins with a shorter, less intense workouts and progresses toward higher volume and intensity the fitter you get. It is important to practice wearing your racing shoes during your faster, varied-paced long runs. I think a common mistake runners make is running long, slow and easy every single weekend. So, we run slow one weekend followed the next with a faster, varied-paced long run.

Your 12 week training plan marathon incorporates not only weekly long runs but also hill workouts. In addition, tempo runs which will help to improve running efficiency for a fast marathon time. The end goal is to improve the body’s lactate tolerance. So, we have to stress the energy systems of the body properly.

You may also want to sprinkle in 5 to 10-mile races or time trials at your target half-marathon pace. The reason is to gauge how you perform under pressure and test progress. It is an integral component of successful training.

There will also be longer tempo efforts and interval runs during your 12 week training plan marathon to help you get faster. Again, the goal is to sustain goal race pace longer than your competition. So, we have to work on your leg speed to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these we can recruit the efficient you are going to run.


The 12 week training plan marathon offers athletes an effective and safe method for building endurance and stamina without overtraining. It incorporates fartlek runs, hill workouts and tempo runs. Cross training exercises (i.e. pool running, cycling or elliptical) can be used to prevent injuries during training.

RunDreamAchieve also utilizes the vdot02 training platform to helps runners determine baseline pace based on past performances and current fitness levels.

A 12 week training plan marathon begins easy runs, light speed sessions and strides. Our aim is to gradually build your mileage over the 12 weeks before tapering off in the last three. I believe in a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. A common mistake many runners make is dropping their volume and intensity too soon. Remember, 10 days is plenty of time to recover from the many weeks of hard training you have been doing.

This 12 week training plan marathon is an excellent way for runners to get into superior aerobic and anaerobic shape. You will definitely get plenty of long aerobic runs, intense workouts and hills. In addition, tempo runs and track sessions designed to build speed and strength.

It is ideal for runners training for their first marathon race, who need to build endurance or elite-level athletes. It features a gradual increase in marathon-specific running mileage over 12 weeks. We then move into the taper phase the last 10 days of your build up.

Your last workout will be a 3 mile run at goal marathon race pace 4 days out from your goal marathon. The last 3 days will be either off or comprised of very easy running. Also, with 4 to 5, 100 meter strides sprinkled in.

Rest Days

As part of any 12 week training plan marathon, it is vitally important to take rest days seriously in order to prevent overtraining and injury that could derail your marathon goals. On these rest days, try getting as much restful sleep as possible and eating nutritious meals. In addition, consider stretching or yoga exercises as ways of helping prevent injuries and enhance running performance.

Are you new to marathon training? If so, it is advisable to begin your 12 week training plan marathon with a a few weeks of easy aerobic mileage before starting your specific, 12-week build up. It will give your body time to adapt and recuperate from any physical strain incurred while increasing weekly mileage. Also, allows any potential injuries to heal during this crucial stage.

It is essential that you balance long runs with easy ones every week. In addition, tempo runs, interval runs, and hill workouts. Your long runs should increase in length and intensity each week. Also, try mimicking race day terrain as closely as possible during this buildup phase.

After your build-up period, it is time to gradually reduce the intensity of your runs. We will do this gradually over the 12 week period. Your marathon training schedule should become very relaxed during the last 10 days of your build up. Again, we want to ensure adaptation occurs. So, make sure you are jogging during your easy days. The real benefits of your hard training come within the rest cycle.

A balanced 12 week training plan marathon involves sustainable pacing strategies and heart rate zone training techniques. In addition, regular runs with consistent pacing strategies and heart rate zones. Furthermore, cross-training and a day of strength training each week should be included. Remember, minimize unhealthy eating patterns (i.e. candy, soda and empty calories) and too much alcohol consumption.


Diet is one of the most critical components of marathon training. It impacts every aspect from energy levels and mental toughness to your ability to run long distance. Thus, finding a balance of calories, proteins, carbs and fats is essential to your marathon training success.

A legitimate 12 week training plan marathon allows you to build endurance while remaining injury-free as you prepare for your race. Yes, you can still set a new personal best over a 3-month period. That being said, you need to focus on quality rather than quantity. You can still run too much mileage and never attain a new personal best. The reason is you simply aren’t running anaerobically, often enough.

You will focus on fartlek runs and hill workouts with varying running intensities to develop speed and improve endurance. Also, heart rate zone training techniques and regular interval training intervals. Lastly, longer runs at a comfortable, sustainable pace in order to build physical stamina needed for marathon races.

Closing Thoughts

To avoid overtraining, it is crucial that your marathon training cycle includes an effective nutrition plan and enough rest days. Again, focus on your nutrition. It is also what you do on and off the track and roads that matters most. For example, your diet should include fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. Also, drink plenty of water throughout your training cycle and hydrate regularly.

This 12-week marathon training plan is ideal for runners of all ability levels. It gradually builds endurance and strength before tapering the last 10 days leading up to race days. I hope that this post has been helpful. Be sure to keep in touch with me at the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. Leave a comment below any of my videos and I will definitely respond back to you.

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