14 Week Marathon Training Plan

Are you seeking you seeking a new strategy to use in your 14 week marathon training plan? Is 14 weeks sufficient to train for a marathon? I am fine with athletes training 14 weeks but 16 to 20 weeks is optimal. Remember, anything worth doing should be aimed to do right the first time. Also, the longer you can prepare for a marathon the better. I hold a personal best of 2:19:35 for the marathon and used 16 to 20 week build ups routinely. Of course, people have different schedules too.

There are many people working full-time jobs, taking care of family and balancing other responsibilities. So, a 14 week marathon training plan is still sufficient for most. I do have 8, 12 and 16 week 1 mile to 50k training plans here at RunDreamAchieve.

In addition, running courses that I have created for runners seeking to run under 2:30, sub 3 hours, sub 4 and sub 5 hour marathons. I would recommend running two weeks of easy base mileage and then perhaps starting a 12-week marathon training build up. Of course, this is only if you want to focus on a 14 week marathon training plan.

Is 14 Weeks Enough Time to Train for a Marathon?

Yes, you can still run a quality marathon in 14 weeks. Remember, it isn’t so much about the volume you are putting in as much as it is the quality of the work you are doing. There are far too many runners still running too slow too many days of the week. I dropped my marathon time from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 running around about 40 percent of my weekly mileage at or far below my goal race pace. Yes, it does take some time to get used to getting out of your comfort zone more often.

I am a big believer in faster, varied paced long runs. In fact, the long run was the most difficult workout I did leading into breaking the sub 2:20 marathon barrier. It wasn’t track workouts (although still very hard), tempo runs or hill repetitions.

Below are some examples of the types of long runs I was doing. What I want for you is to think about how you do your long runs and make some adjustments. Are you running long and slow every single weekend? If so, now is the time to start making some changes to get a new personal best.

  • 2 mile warm-up, 3 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 7 miles@6:15 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 3 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 mile jog cool-down (22 miles)
  • 1 mile warm-up, 17 miles@5:30 mile pace, 5 miles easy@7:00 mile pace (23 miles)
  • 2 mile warm-up, 4 miles@5:50 mile pace, 1 mile easy, 2miles@5:15 mile pace, 4 miles@6:10 mile pace, 1 mile in 4:55, 7 miles easy (21 miles)

Is 15 Weeks Enough to Train for a Marathon?

The optimal time to train for a marathon is anywhere from 8 to 20 weeks. Of course, I prefer 16 to 20 weeks. Again, this is not the 5K or 10K I’m writing about but the marathon. So, you have to be patient with your build up. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for your body to adapt to any stressor you are placing on it. Yes, the body always adapts but you also cannot rush the process either.

Athletes trying to prepare adequately in 4 to 8 weeks have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. So, I always recommend going 12 to 16 weeks, if at all possible with your schedule. Yes, 15 weeks will most certainly get the job done. I also recommend doing longer tempo runs if you want to make that next big breakthrough in the marathon distance.

How far has your longest tempo run been in the past? 5 miles? 7 miles? I would recommend thinking about moving those toward 8 to 14 miles in length moving into your next build up. Again, this is a new approach a lot of runners are not used to. I, too had to get used to it. That being said, it worked beautifully for me as it has for other athletes I coach online.


A 14 weeks marathon training plan has to also focus on the other fundamentals that go into running a marathon effectively. For example, hydrating well during your long runs and workouts. I would recommend dropping your water bottles out every 3 miles along your long run route. You can drive the course and drop them out, drive back to the start point and practice drinking during those long runs.

A major mistake I made earlier in my career was simply not drinking enough in the race. So, you cannot sip in a marathon and expect to get a new personal best. Have you ever watched the worlds’ top marathoners on television?

They are grabbing their water bottles and drinking during their races. Of course, not all runners have the luxury of having their own water bottles sitting on tables. That being said, you can still grab a couple dixie cups and drink the entire contents of them at each aid station.

Make sure to visit nutritiongeeks.com. It is our sister site where I offer nutritional products that will help you get further in your future races and recover faster.

Train Faster Than Goal Marathon Race Pace

How often are you training at or below your goal marathon race pace? 10 percent of your weekly volume? 15 percent? Did you know the world’s top runners are running about 40 percent of their weekly mileage at paces significantly faster than goal marathon race pace?

So, these runners make it look easy for a reason. It isn’t necessarily because they are Kenyan or talented. Remember, there are plenty of talented runners that don’t work hard that get beat by other less talented runners that do.

Talent is not enough. You have to be doing more than your competition. How often are you training mentally? Do you mentally rehearse and see yourself performing at the level you are dreaming about? Mental training is just as important as physical training.

The reality is most athletes focus on one aspect of their training, physical preparation. So, don’t neglect this. A 14 week marathon training plan or any other duration program needs to also focus on mental preparation. I want you to start spending 10 to 15 minutes each day rehearsing getting across the finish line with your goal time on the clock. Also, see yourself performing well in the race passing people and feeling relaxed.

Closing Thoughts

I hope this post has been helpful to you. Remember, there are many resources here at RunDreamAchieve.com. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create videos there each week to help runners such as yourself to get to the next level. What I want most for you is to help you to use leverage. Leverage simply means doing more with less. We all have been taught how to work hard.

The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination

Billy Mills, Olympic Gold Medalist, 10,000m

Does hard work always guarantee you results? No. So, we have to think outside the box. Also, paying attention to what we are doing the other hours of our day after the track and road workouts are done with. The best marathoners are always thinking about how to recovery faster. Again, it isn’t just about the mileage you are doing or the physical preparation. It is about mental training, getting plenty of rest, running slow enough on easy days to recover and eating right.

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