20 Week Marathon Training Schedule Intermediate

Seeking a 20 week marathon training schedule intermediate plan?

There are a lot to choose from online. That said, is 20 weeks too long to prepare for a marathon? Is 16 weeks better?

 20 week marathon training schedule intermediate

Some of the top coaches and elite marathoners I have lived and trained with opt for 16 weeks.

I think a 20 week marathon training plan can work if you take the first 4 weeks and run easy base mileage.

Nothing crazy. Don’t focus on pace, specific splits. I would advise on doing 4-6x100m strides 3 days per week before considering a marathon build up.

I have created 16 week marathon training schedules here at RunDreamAchieve specifically build for beginner to intermediate level marathoners.

An intermediate 20 week marathon training schedule has to consist of building up the athletes endurance.

Athletes, most but not all of the time, have a specific goal time in mind. What is your personal pace goal for the marathon?

Is it to just complete the distance?

Are you training for your first marathon?

Do you want to break the 4 hour marathon?…

…or 3 hour marathon?

Is 20 Weeks Too Long?

Can you do in 16 weeks what you have in mind for 20?

I can tell you from having run a 2:19 marathon that 20 weeks is a long training block.

You can certainly still be successful with 20 weeks. It simply means you have to work your plan and plan your work a bit more cautiously.

I say that because marathon tapering is an art form. You don’t want to be in super shape and peaking 5 weeks out from a marathon.

5 months of training is asking a lot out of any athlete. I was coached by two of the world’s top coaches, one of which was the 1985 Boston Marathon champion.

Lisa Rainsberger and Jack Hazen are the two coaches I am writing of. Jack Hazen, who has been at Malone University for 52 years (at the time of this post), was my collegiate coach.

Jack was the assistant track and field coach for the USA 2012 Olympic Track and Field team. Lisa, of course, knows the marathon better than most and has the credentials to prove it.

These two world-class coaches taught me the proper way to train for a marathon. It takes patience, a sense of focusing on quality mileage rather than the quantity of miles you are putting in.

They both advocated for 16 week marathon training

I’ve run 14 marathons, one of which was a 2:19:35. I never have trained for 20 weeks in preparation for a marathon.

4 months is the optimal time frame to run an excellent marathon time. A 20 week marathon training schedule intermediate plan can still lead you to what you want.

A 16 week marathon training schedule can get you there quicker. Remember, a great marathon time is about quality, not quantity.

Quantity as in months of training put in and the amount of mileage you run. Marathon success comes from looking at the masses and doing the opposite.

What Yields Marathon Success?

What is the optimal time to prepare? 16 vs 20 weeks. Will an extra 4 weeks of training make you any better than someone preparing for 16 weeks.

If you put in the quality work, follow the training methodologies taught here at RunDreamAchieve they can and will work.

I dropped 21 minutes off my marathon time going from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. I also lowered my half-marathon bests from 1:10:29 to 1:07:06 following what I teach here.

These training philosophies were taught to me by some of the world’s top distance running coaches. I am certainly not saying an intermediate 20 week marathon training schedule cannot get the job done.

5 months is plenty of time to prepare for a marathon. The experts I have worked with have always focused on 4 months.

This saves your legs, gives ample time to build up your strength and stamina and ensures you peak and taper at the right time.

The Sub 3 & 4 Hour Marathon Pro Courses

Are you interested in taking your marathon to the next level?

Are you a sub 4 hour marathoner and desire to break 3 hours?

Are you a sub 5 hour marathoner seeking to break the 4 hour marathon barrier? I’m currently working on creating a course for you as well. These courses will cover, in detail, what it takes to break the 3 and 4 hour marathon barriers.

These are highly competitive times. What I’ll be covering is all of the strategies and methods I used to break not only the 3 hour barrier but also the sub-2:20 marathon time.

If you are working to finally dip under the 4 hour marathon barrier fill out your information below and receive a 30 percent discount on the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Pro course.

Both courses will be completed in early January of 2019. They will cover specific training strategies, nutrition, injury prevention, and much, much more.


A 20 week marathon training schedule intermediate plan may be effect dependent upon how you plan your training.

These courses mentioned above will conclude with the exact training schedule and strategies I used to run 2:19:35.

Athletes and their capabilities and mile splits may differ but the training tactics are universal.

If you are serious about taking your marathoning to the next level sign up today.

Feel free to visit our about page if you want to know more about my racing and training philosophy.

Visit our archives page which includes over 500 posts (and growing) to help you succeed at the marathon distance.

Leave a comment below and let me know what has been your biggest pain point in the marathon distance.

I look forward to helping you crush your current personal best.  Lastly, here are some peak performance running tips to help you. 

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