Training Plan For London Marathon
All-In-One Training Guide For The 2020 London Marathon
So, you’ve landed a place in the London Marathon 2020? Well, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned runner, we have the ultimate London marathon training plan for you.
We have gathered all the information you need in order to get from your couch to the finish line with a smile on your face (if you have the energy for it).
We will take you through all the necessary steps needed to generate a successful training plan for London marathon 2020.
Being committed to completing a race with 26.2 miles – or, 42 kilometres as per the historical distance – is a great feat in its own right. It will be a long and tiring journey, but you can do it, we believe in you.
A marathon is 99% aerobic exercise, meaning it requires oxygenated blood to be flowing to the muscles continuously. With this in mind, training your body to cope with a marathon will benefit you in ways you never knew. You’ll avoid the same fate faced by the ancient Greek messenger, on which the history of marathon is based.
Have A Marathon Training Strategy
It goes without saying that each individual is different, and has a body with different demands. So, step one to your marathon training strategy would always be to evaluate yourself.
Here is where we test your needs of a beginner, intermediate or advanced marathon training strategy. If you have not been a runner for very long, or you have not run more than a 5K or 10K, then you should be understanding your body’s call for a long and drawn out plan of action.
If your body is used to high-endurance and stamina training, think about where your mind sits for marathon running. This may tell you if you are at an intermediate level or need the London marathon advanced training plan.
Quick access to all 12 weeks Marathon Training Plans:
- Training Plan For Beginners
- Intermediate Training Plan
- Advanced Training Plan
- Download Your All-In-One Training Plan here.
Can you run a marathon without training?
The answer to this question will always be ‘no’. Running a marathon is not a daily occurrence. So, it wouldn’t be reasonable to think someone could run a marathon without training for it, first. Even if they had run one before.
If you run without training, you will likely to ‘hit the wall‘ or injure yourself and hate the prospects of running in the future.
How long does it take to go from couch to marathon?
The answer to this question will depend on your age, level of fitness and past experiences with marathons.
This is because younger people find it easier to grow their bodies positively and deal with marathon endurance training. As well as this, if you’ve run a marathon in the past, you’ll be more mentally prepared for what’s coming.
Some marathon training plans can be very hard-core with a time-frame of a month. Others will be more drawn out to 16-week, 6-month or even year-long plans. It’s up to you to decide which London marathon 2020 training plan seems more suited to you.
Here, we have your 12-week training plan to get you into the marathon-mood. We have three plans that you can choose from depending on your level: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
These training plans will help you understand when to run, how to run, when to rest and when to taper.
Your Training Plan For London Marathon 2020!
Now, by this point you know all there is to know about marathon strategies, planning and getting through the race. Here is where you are introduced to your Best Marathon Training Plan.
If you’re still unsure as to whether you fit into the beginners, intermediate or advanced training plan, then have a little look at the plans to see which would suit you best. As long as you set yourself achievable goals, apply discipline, remain consistent and keep yourself healthy, you will be running your way across London in no time.
London Marathon Training Plan For Beginners
Download Your All-In-One Training Guide for the 2020 London Marathon here.
As you can see in this plan, your weeks consist of 4-day training plans. This gives you 3 rest days – or, active recovery days – per week. As well as this, your running will always begin with an easy short-distance run to work your body into the training week without applying too much pressure to joints and muscles.
Your second day of training is interval-based, allowing you to try different tempo’s and push your body in particular areas.
Day three will return to an easy-style of running and day four will push your stamina and distance.
London Marathon Intermediate Training Plan
Download Your All-In-One Training Guide for the 2020 London Marathon here.
This plan, like the beginners training plan, offers 4 training days per week, with 3 active recovery days. This means taking up other forms of light exercises such as walking or yoga.
Your first day each week will incorporate the easy-5 or easy-8, while day two will always feature your interval training. This is the day where you will want to push yourself the hardest, to give you the best idea on where your body is when recording your data.
Approaching week eight of your 12-week training plan, you will begin to taper your running, to prepare for race day. Don’t forget to take it slow, listen to your body and stock up on the nutritional carbohydrates!
London Marathon Advanced Training Plan
Download Your All-In-One Training Guide for the 2020 London Marathon here.
For the advanced training plan, you’ll notice a fully stocked week of training. It will have days dedicated to active recovery, tempo running, hill training and interval training spread across your 7-day week.
In week one, you’ll build a foundation of quality mileage and stamina at an easy pace to suit you. In week two you’ll be focusing on speed and in week three you’ll have a distance of 25-kilometers to tackle.
As you continue in your 12-week training plan you’ll see week nine marks the beginning of your marathon training tapering. In this time, you’ll have more days dedicated to easy runs, tempo runs and active recovery.
Of course, if you get off track, just dust yourself off and pick up on your taring where you left. As long as you remain disciplined and dedicated to your goals, you will smash through the advanced training plan.
Start training now!
Part of training is devising a plan of action. The moment you decide to run a marathon is the time that you start training. This could be training through organisation, discipline, mindfulness or physical activity.
So, you’re already in the game, it’s just finding the right marathon training plan that will get you from now to the finish line.
If you’ve got your space, then now is the time to get your running shoes on, grab the plan suits you and start your training for Your Epic Challenge London Marathon 2020!.
Invest in a good pair of road running shoes.
You’ll need to be prepared for the conditions that you’ll be running in. Many marathons take place on roads that have been blocked for use. So, even if your local running paths are in forests, you’ll need a good pair of road-running shoes.
If you try to run on the road with trail running shoes, you’ll not see the same support or benefits. It is imperative to have road running shoes that fit you and your needs so you don’t have any injuries.
Shoes are not the only piece of attire we recommend. We want you to have speedy recovery times, which means keeping a healthy blood flow all over your body. We suggest investing in a pair of compression socks that you can wear after your run to cool-down in.
Find yourself a coach!
Everybody needs that person to be by their side cheering them on, providing guidance and offering to support progress. This could be anyone from a work-out coach, your partner, an online community or even the kids.
Set A Goal!.
To know how to get to the end of a marathon, you first need to understand what the end of a marathon means to you. Does this mean running, it all? Running it all under 3-hours? Or, does it mean running for health or charity?
It is important to set goals throughout your training journey, too. This could be to introduce speed, length, better breathing, diet improvements or reducing stress.
Having goals to work towards can give yourself purpose and that extra kick needed when feeling down. What’s even better is reaching these goals. You will increase your mental health through the release of serotonin and dopamine if you smash your goals!
Can I train for a marathon in 12 weeks?
Yes, you can. No matter where you are in your strides to running a marathon, you will be crossing the finish line with the help of a sustainable training plan.
An effective training plan will allow you to gradually work up to health, stamina, training and nutritional goals. Be it introducing distance, speed, or diets, then let your marathon training plan allow you to grow.
It is a slow process, with most 12-week training plans working runners through their paces, building strength and running capabilities. Then, nearing the race, the marathon training will taper off to allow your body to heal and prepare.
Make sure your goals are achievable.
It may go without saying that there’s no point trying to run a marathon in a week. Just like we can’t handstand within a day or watch all of Game of Thrones in one evening. That would be ridiculous.
So, that’s why you need to keep your goals achievable. You want to see your progress and you don’t want to see yourself falling short of your own goals.
If you’re unsure of what could be considered unattainable – or, even, too easy – consult your coach. Getting an outside perspective from family, online communities or coaches can be very helpful during your training.
Pick a training plan that suits you.
We know that not everybody is able to stick to a set daily routine, or even weekly. Work and life commitments can get in the way and often come first.
This is why you need to find a marathon training plan that suits you. Sometimes it can be a matter of getting a run in when and where you can. This is why it is important to be prepared for all scenarios.
You need to make sure that the plan you choose will work around your schedule.
As long as you feel you are increasing the quality of your distance and speed, you’re already making great strides.
Discipline is one of the biggest and hardest parts of training for a marathon. There are so many areas of each person’s lifestyle that need to be adapted towards health and fitness.
No matter whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced, you need to be strict with your mind, body and diet.
Just know, as long as you have your pair of road running shoes, there’s nothing stopping you apart from you.
Which areas of marathon training need the most discipline?
Discipline is all down to you, your body and your experiences. Those who have run marathons in the past will likely have higher levels of body discipline than those who haven’t. But, there are more areas that should be taken into consideration for your training plan for (London) marathon:
- Body and stamina
- Mind and soul
- Pain tolerance
- Structure of running
- Organisation at home
- Knowing when and how to rest
When you take control of these factors in your life, you will be in a better position to keep putting one foot in front of the other. As well as this, it will show the importance of having a sustainable marathon training strategy.
How do I work around the weather?
This is one that many can struggle with. The weather can control your running trends; ice, snow and thunder can stop people right in their tracks.
In these cases, we can consider using other training methods such as cross-training, bodyweight exercises or using a running machine.
Everyone has winter woes, even professional runners. So, before you head-out and lose sensation of your nose, consider a running machine to reach your daily goal. There are plenty of marathon runners who condone the use of running machines such as two-time Olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger. Pete makes mention of the fact that runners can hill train when there are no nearby hills as well as being able to control the speed of your running more consistently.
What if I slip up with meal planning?
Diet and nutrition is one of the largest parts to your marathon training plan. Simply because it is what provides your energy, mental health state and weight fluctuations.
The only person to lose out, in this instance, would be you. Remaining disciplined of your diet will be the factor allowing you to put one foot in front of the other.
Of course, you need your rest days and you need days where you can have a cheat meal. But, make sure that you’re not slipping outside the guidelines you have already set yourself.
Keep Going for Consistency!
Much alike remaining disciplined, you need to keep a consistent trend with your running. If you suddenly stop training for a week and then decide to pick up your training plan where you left it, you will find it significantly harder to run.
Studies have found that it can take an average of 66 days for a behaviour to become automatic. This means that 7 to 8 weeks into your marathon training plan, your running and diet could become natural habits. As long as you are consistent with your training, of course.
Keep in mind that nobody will be entirely consistent with their progression. This is never linear. You may experience a week 5 where your running is not as good as it was in week 3. And, this is normal.
Everybody’s body adapts to change in different ways. And, with things taking time to become habitual, it’s safe to assume your runs will differ, too.
To minimise these changes, it’s important to remain positive, stick to nutritional guidelines and keep a routine where possible.
Prepare to be uncomfortable!
We know, it doesn’t sound fun. And, you’re right. The pain is the worst part to marathon training, but it can be minimised with consistent stretching, foam rolling and mindfulness.
The 7 most common running injuries include:
It’s important to remember that you should be consistent in resting just as much as you are consistent in running. Listen to your body’s needs and be mindful towards what you’re feeling.
Each of these injuries can be reduced with the proper preparation, but they all need their own types of rest.
If you do experience any of these symptoms during your training journey, please contact your local GP for more information.
Quality VS Quantity!
There’s a difference between the two. When it comes to your training plan for marathon, bear in mind that some of the days in your plan will look at the quality of your running. Other days will look at the quantity.
When we say ‘quantity’ what we really mean is the time, distance, speed and progression to the goal.
It’s important to recognise that the plan that we have set out for you. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced, will incorporate both training strategies.
Your training plan will have running dedicated to road-running as well as tempo running, hill training, easy running and more. This is because we want your runs to be varied, exciting and sustainable.
We mentioned consistency is key, but in the realm of quality VS quantity you want to be controlled-inconsistent. This means that your running style will vary day-to-day in a controlled manner. The aim is to strengthen different areas of your mind and body at different times.
Can cycling help marathon training?
We see this question a lot in the running world. And, the answer is yes. Cycling still uses similar muscle-groups for cardio-burning exercise and helps to bring a varied diet to your training. As long as you remain active, and do some road-running, your marathon training plan is personal.
The benefits to cycling while marathon training is that it gets you outdoors, especially if you’re on the running machine. It also allows you to increase fitness and stamina while reducing the possibility of damage to the leg muscles. Lastly, you get to see more of the world; covering more ground with the same effort and stamina.
With your Marathon Training Plan timetable, you can even use your rest days to do some light cycling to nearby parks to remain active at a steady pace.
Know your balance.
You may have heard of ‘junk miles’ when running. This is when you have focused too much on the quantity instead of the quality. It is better to do fewer miles with controlled breathing, consistent pacing and a goal route.
The quality running will vastly improve your ability to stretch for further milestones. Milestones such as running at a higher speed or learning to run at a sustainable pace from the beginning. This is a fault many runners come across: running faster but then hitting their ‘wall’ earlier on.
It’s important to understand where you stand at the beginning, while training and how far you are from your goals. This could be in terms of your strength, stamina, healing and mind-set.
Many people use of fitness gadgets or apps and it is up to you how you like to record accomplishments. So, if you’re one for dusting off the old typewriter to get your times down, then get on it.
Writing down your times, distances, heart rate and nutrition each day gives you a follow-up for your goals. You are able to see how in-line you are with your marathon goals and adjust where needed.
Types of Training
There are different types of training you will come across in your Marathon Training Plan. These include:
The different types of training all work together to increase your stamina, endurance, strength and mental capabilities. They allow you to complete your marathon without having to run a full marathon every day.
Tempo running is considered a marathon runners best friend. This is because you run approximately half a minute-per-mile slower than your usual pace, up to 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your fitness level. At this pace your body can clear that fatigue and pain-inducing lactate at the same rate it is producing it. Meaning you will have many more pain-free miles.
Diet and Nutrition
For some, this can be common knowledge. But, you must remember to ditch those sweets and reach for that apple. You need to feed your body with healthy foods while ignoring the call for the chocolate fudge brownie ice cream.
There’s many ways in which people make mistakes when tailoring a nutrition plan. These include the wrong percentages of food types, inconsistent amounts of energy, the wrong energy and portion sizes.
We recommend easy-plates including broccoli, chicken and wholemeal rice to provide the right mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins.
What to eat when training?
Finding the right foods for you and your stomach can be tricky and long. You need to start experimenting with healthy foods at the start of your marathon training plan. Over this time, your body will get used to the foods you are eating and you will be more consistent.
There’s different times that need to be accounted for when thinking about your nutrition before a marathon. These are: before the run, during the run and after the run.
Each of these will have different carbohydrate, sugar and protein amounts that suit your body when needed.
Before a long run, you’ll need foods high in carbohydrates such as wholemeal rice, pasta, potatoes or bread. This is because your body will store carbohydrates in muscles as long-lasting energy for up to two hours while running.
If you had high fats/sugars you’d quickly crash and be unable to complete your run.
During the run, you may opt for energy gels, just water or even jelly beans for that high-energy kick to get you past the dreaded wall.
After your long-distance run, you’ll want to stock up on carbohydrates and protein-rich foods like chicken salads or fruit smoothies. You’ll also need to replenish all of your lost electrolytes through energy drinks and water.
What to drink and when?
As mentioned, your water intake will need to be higher than average. It would be wise to aim for 2.5 to 3 litres of water per day. This does not include the water content in tea, coffee or fruit juices. The sugar and caffeine levels of these drinks actually cancel-out their water content!
Therefore, you need to be drinking water straight from the bottle.
As well as this, we mentioned energy drinks for electrolytes. When you’re running, your body is sweating out valuable electrolytes and natural salts. It is important that you replenish these stocks to aid with the healing process.
These drinks should be taken during your marathon and afterwards. This way your body never reaches a deficit. In a deficit, your body won’t perform at its peak and you may feel fatigued and have muscular pain.
If you decide to use energy gels while running, you should find some on the market to practice with, first.
These provide quick boosts of energy when your levels are running low. As your body retains 2-hours’ worth of carbohydrates, it is advised to start taking them around the 1-hour mark. This way you remain topped-up with energy.
It is always important to read the guidelines of energy gels as some should be taken more frequently than others. As well as this, some provide longer energy-releases, while others give that last push to get across the finish line.
There are many different types of energy gels out there; glucose-high, fructose-high or caffeinated energy gels to suit your needs. There’s even energy gels made with natural ingredients to aid with gut-absorption for sensitive stomachs.
Eating clean, healthily and sustainably.
Your diet is, ultimately, what your driving force will be when running. It will dictate your ability to continue running as well as your sleep patterns.
So, it is very important to keep disciplined and consistent with your meal planning. We advise keeping to a set diet that you know will work. Even if you don’t like it, you know it is a temporary measure for your marathon training and you’ll be able to slowly introduce the chocolate fudge brownie ice cream into your diet afterwards.
When we say eating clean, we mean eating fresh and organic foods such as avocado’s, spinach and other greens. Although it may not sound fun, they can be a delicious boost to daily training when seasoned.
Hmmm, just think about that lovely teriyaki salmon on a bed of iced spinach…
Rest Your Mind and Body.
Your training plan will let you know when your rest days are, easy runs and when you need to challenge your distances.
Rest days can be imperative to the body as the calm allows for time to heal. But, no, that doesn’t mean sit and binge on Netflix. A ‘rest’ day is a day of lighter exercise. You need to keep active through more mindful and restorative ways.
Engage in active recovery!
Examples of active recovery exercises include:
- Bodyweight training (planks, headstands, boat pose, etc.)
- Going to the park with family
Active recovery exercise provides us with a low-intensity option to keeping our fitness up while letting common problem areas rest.
How much marathon training can you miss?
There’s so many reasons to miss out a training day or two. Sometimes even a week. Whether you’re ill, you have a work conference or anything. Just know that taking a couple of days away from your marathon training plan is ok.
As long as you return to your training, you’ll find you won’t have missed as much fitness as you believe. It takes two weeks of no fitness for your muscles to start experiencing atrophy and decline. Meaning, as long and you get back on track as soon as you can, your training shouldn’t be too affected.
Why and how to taper marathon training?
So you may have heard of ‘tapering’ when training for any long-distance run. This is simply calming your intensive exercise at a gradual rate before the big day.
With the training plans we are offering from beginners to advanced training, they are based on a 12-week training set. Your plan will start to taper your mileage and running difficulty from weeks 8 or 9 (depending on your plan). This allows your body to have ore regeneration time before race day.
However, there’s more than one way to taper. You need to consider filling your energy tanks by changing the way you eat to involve more carbohydrates. Don’t worry, although you may feel like you gaining a couple of pounds, they will benefit you ‘in the long run’.
Get your sleep in!
You may be glad to hear this one. You really need to be sleeping for a minimum of 8-hours per night, so no more days of waking up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck because you’ve only had 5 hours sleep.
Experts say each person should have at least 8-hours sleep to let the body heal at the correct pace. As well as this, you need to be following a strict regime of time. You need to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day even on the weekend.
The benefits of marathon training
So, you have your marathon strategy, the ultimate guide to London Marathon Training and you’ve begun the training. Now, to better understand the benefits that running a marathon has to your mind and body.
How marathon training changes your body?
Ok, so there may be some unwanted effects of marathon running such as nipple bleeding, toenails falling off and the inability to ever walk up a staircase again. But, not wanting to deter you, you’ll see many more positive changes to your body.
- You will become more lean as you burn through approximately 2’600 calories
- Your stamina will have increased
- You’ll have lost approximately 5KG of water weight
- You’ll be stronger to tackle the next task
- You will look healthier as your body is getting healthy nutrition
- Your resting calorie burn will increase
How marathon training changes your mind?
The body is not the only thing that changes when you decide to run a marathon. Right from the beginning it takes a strong mind-set to introduce, new routines, diets and distances.
Here’s some other way’s your mind and soul will be benefitted through marathon training:
- You’ll feel like Einstein because of serotonin and endorphins
- You will be smarter as regular exercise increases blood flow to the brain
- You’ll have better discipline
- You’ll sleep better
- Your stress levels will reduce
- you may even meet new friend along the journey
Marathon training is never wasted.
Of course, this training plan for your London marathon 2020 will mould you into a better person. You will be more knowledgeable about your body’s needs, capabilities and downfalls.
The reason marathon training is never wasted is because you will always have this extra knowledge to fall back on. The ability to discipline yourself. The difference between quality and quantity. Being consistent. Having more nutritional facts. And, being able to live a stronger and healthier life.
When is London Marahon 2020?
On Sunday 4th of October 2020.
There you have it, your ultimate training plan for London marathon 2020 . So, the best solution would be to just take it… and run with it!
Good luck to everybody and we’ll see you in London on Sunday 4th of October 2020!
“No Human Is Limited”. – Eliud Kipchoge.