A few weeks ago, I hosted a little workshop for my MRTT friends to help them set up their training plans for their fall marathons.  We started out with an empty worksheet and by the time my friends left my house, they had filled in the blanks for their next 20-26 weeks of training. 


Today, I’m sharing what we covered at that workshop with you! 

Once you pick your race, you can either pick a plan from the many online or design your own. If you find a plan that you like, you can follow it exactly or make adjustments as you see necessary.  If you choose to design your own plan, use this handy worksheet to write it out.  Download and print out your own worksheet by clicking on this blue PDF link: DebRunsRaceTrainingPlanWorksheet.


If you’re designing your own plan, follow these simple steps:

  • Write down the name of your race and race date
  • Determine how many weeks you want in your training cycle
  • Count backwards from the race date the number of weeks you’ve picked and write the dates for those weeks under the date column
  • Pencil in any other races you plan to run
  • Pick a day of the week for your long runs and write LONG in the second line under that day of the week (often Saturday or Sunday)
  • Work backwards from your race date to calculate your long run tapering weeks (usually three to four), and then gradually build up your long run mileage as I explained here
  • Determine which types of speed work you want to do – consider hill repeats early during training for strengthening and consider tempo runs or track repeats later in your training cycle for speed
  • Pick a day of the week for your speed day/days and write TRACK, TEMPO, etc. in the second line under that/those day/s of the week, but don’t schedule speed workouts and long runs back-to-back
  • Determine how many days per week you want to rest and write REST in the second line under that day of the week
  • Add your cross-training workouts onto your worksheet, and write CROSS-TRAIN in the second line under that day of the week
  • Determine how many miles per week you are currently running and how many miles you are comfortable running in the middle and later weeks of training, and add those miles under the total column
  • Use the 10% rule to make sure you don’t add more than 10% to your total mileage over the previous week’s total
  • Fill in any remaining days with conversation pace runs so that you weekly mileage adds up to the number of miles you’re wanting to hit


Every marathon is different, so every training plan will be different.  Do be afraid to make necessary changes throughout your training cycle as the need arises.  Listen to your body.  It knows best!


  • Questions:
  • Have you run a marathon?
  • What training plan did you use?
  • Did you incorporate any speed work into your plan?