18 Week Marathon Training Plan: Get Ready to Crush Your Next Race! 2024

So what can you expect from the 18 week marathon training plan? We’ll start with the basics, building up your endurance with a series of easy runs and gradually increasing the distance and intensity of your workouts. We give you nutritional tips to help your body perform optimally.

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The 18 Week Marathon Training Plan

If you’re an intermediate runner, our 18 week marathon training plan can help you prepare for race day. It starts relatively slowly and then picks up speed quickly. So that we make good use of the 18 weeks and reach our goal perfectly.

Here is the 1️⃣ part of our 18 week marathon training plan

18 week marathon training plan part1

And here is the 2️⃣ part of our 18 week marathon training plan

18 week marathon training plan part2

Last but not least the 3️⃣ part of our 18 week marathon training plan

18 week marathon training plan part3

I wish you a lot of fun with our 18 week marathon training plan and a great marathon run! But first you can find out more below!

Definition of the Different Running Terms

When it comes to training for an 18 week marathon, it’s important to understand the different running terms that you’ll encounter in your training plan.

Long Runs 🏃‍♂️🌟

  • Scheduled Weekends: Long runs on weekends when you have more time and energy.
  • Slower Pace: Long runs at a deliberately slower pace compared to your weekday runs.
  • Extended Distance: Cover a longer distance than your regular weekly runs to build endurance gradually.
  • Endurance Focus: Understand that the primary goal is to enhance endurance for the marathon challenge.
  • Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate time for rest and recovery after each long run.

Cross-Training 🏋️‍♂️🚴‍♀️

Diversify your fitness routine with cross-training. It’s a vital component of an 18 week marathon training plan.

Ideas for Cross-Training:

  1. 🚴‍♂️ Cycling
  2. 🏊‍♀️ Swimming
  3. 🏋️‍♀️ Strength Training
  4. 🧘‍♂️ Yoga
  5. 🚣‍♂️ Rowing
  6. 🏸 CrossFit
  7. 🚶‍♂️ Hiking

Hill Repeats 🌄🏃‍♂️

  • Choose a Suitable Hill: Find a hill with a challenging yet manageable incline.
  • Warm-Up Properly: Warm up with light jogging before starting the hill repeats.
  • Run Up at a Fast Pace: Charge up the hill at a brisk pace.
  • Active Recovery: Jog or walk back down the hill for recovery between repeats.
  • Repeat the Ascent: Aim for multiple repetitions.
  • Cool Down: Finish with a cooldown jog and proper stretching.
18 week marathon training plan man1

Interval Runs 🏃‍♂️⏱️

  • Define Intervals: Plan specific intervals for fast-paced running and designated recovery periods.
  • Suitable Distance: Choose a distance suitable for the fast-paced intervals.
  • Warm-Up Thoroughly: Begin with a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles for the intensity.
  • Fast-Paced Running: Sprint or run at a challenging pace during the designated intervals.
  • Active Recovery: Incorporate periods of jogging or walking for recovery between intervals.
  • Repeat the Process: Execute multiple intervals, maintaining consistency and intensity.
  • Cool Down: Include a cooldown period with light jogging and stretching after completing intervals.

Pace Type 🏃‍♂️💨

Pace TypeDescriptionPurpose
Easy PaceComfortable pace allowing conversation while running.Recovery and building endurance.
Comfortable PaceSlightly faster than easy pace; still allows conversation.Improves aerobic fitness, prepares for longer, faster runs.
Moderate PaceFaster than comfortable pace; sustainable for a longer distance.Enhances lactate threshold, prepares for faster runs.

Rest Day

Rest days are just as important as running days in an 18 week marathon training plan. Rest days allow your body to recover and repair itself, which is essential for preventing injuries and improving performance.

Type of Running Overview

18 week marathon training plan type of running

By understanding these different running terms, you’ll be better equipped to follow your 18 week marathon training plan and achieve your goals.

What Should I Eat During The 18 Week Marathon Training Plan?

18 week marathon training plan woman1

When it comes to marathon training, what you eat is just as important as your training schedule. In this section, we’ll provide you with some sample recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help you fuel your body during the 18 week marathon training plan.

Sample Breakfast Recipe

A healthy breakfast is essential for any athlete. It kick-starts your metabolism and provides you with the energy you need to get through your morning workout. Here’s a simple recipe for a nutritious breakfast that’s perfect for marathon training:

Oatmeal with Fruit and Nuts (I love it!)

🥣 1/2 cup rolled oats
🥤 1 cup water
🍓 1/2 cup mixed berries
🥜 1/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
🍯 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Combine oats and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in berries, nuts, and honey.
  4. Serve hot.

Sample Lunch Recipe

Lunch is an important meal for marathon runners, as it provides you with the nutrients you need to recover from your morning workout and prepare for your afternoon training session. Here’s a healthy and delicious recipe for a marathon-friendly lunch:

Quinoa and Vegetable Salad

🍚 1 cup cooked quinoa
🥕 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.)
🌿 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, or basil)
🍯 1 tablespoon olive oil
🍋 1 tablespoon lemon juice
🧂 Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine quinoa, vegetables, and herbs in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Sample Dinner Recipe

Dinner is your last chance to fuel up before a big training day, so it’s important to choose foods that are high in protein and easy to digest. Here’s a tasty and nutritious recipe for a marathon-friendly dinner:

Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potato and Broccoli

🍗 4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
🍠 1 medium sweet potato
🥦 1 cup broccoli florets
🥄 1 tablespoon olive oil
🧂 Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill chicken for 5-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, chop sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and steam or boil until tender.
  5. Steam or boil broccoli florets until tender.
  6. Toss sweet potato and broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve chicken with sweet potato and broccoli on the side.

I promise you if you adjust your diet (see example recipes) you will definitely achieve success faster. Vegetables and fruits give us the valuable energy we need.

With the right nutrition and training, you’ll be ready to tackle your 18 week marathon training plan with confidence.

Injury Prevention

18 week marathon training plan group

When training for an 18 week marathon, injury prevention is crucial. By taking steps to prevent injuries, we can ensure that we stay on track with our training plan and ultimately reach our goal of completing the marathon.

Stretching and Warm Up

🏃‍♂️ Before every run, it’s crucial to properly stretch and warm up those muscles. This prevents injuries like strains and sprains. A good warm-up should last at least 5-10 minutes, featuring dynamic stretches mimicking the run’s movements.

🤸‍♂️ Examples of dynamic stretches include leg swings, walking lunges, and high knees. These get the blood flowing to your muscles, gearing them up for the workout. Don’t forget some static stretching post-run for recovery and to fend off muscle soreness.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as the actual training itself. It’s during rest and recovery that our muscles repair and grow stronger. This means that we should be taking rest days throughout our training plan and not pushing ourselves too hard.

In addition to rest days, we can also incorporate active recovery into our plan. This can include activities such as yoga, swimming, or cycling. These activities can help to increase blood flow to our muscles and promote recovery.

Pace-Table: Look at your Finish Time

18 week marathon training plan man2

As we’re getting ready for our 18 week marathon training plan, we need to have a clear idea of what pace we should maintain to achieve our desired finish time.

I have created a pace table that shows the pace you need to maintain to complete a marathon in a specific time. The table below shows the pace in minutes per mile for finish times ranging from 2.5 hours to 6 hours, with intervals of 30 minutes.

18 week marathon training plan finish time by pace

The pace table can help us set realistic goals and track our progress throughout the 18 week marathon training plan.

It’s important to note that maintaining a consistent pace throughout the marathon is crucial to avoid burning out too early. We should aim to start slow and gradually increase our pace as we build up our endurance.

Our Option on the 18 Week Marathon Training Plan

When it comes to marathon training, the 18 week marathon training plan is a popular option for intermediate runners. When I think about it, 18 weeks sounds like a long time, but it’s important to remember that marathon training is a gradual process that requires time and patience.

One of the benefits of the 18 week marathon training plan is that it allows for a gradual increase in mileage, which can help prevent injuries and burnout.

Another benefit of the 18 week marathon training plan is that it allows for flexibility. While the plan provides a general outline of what to do each week, it can be adjusted to fit individual needs and schedules.

So that you can better assess whether the 18 week marathon plan is the right one, I have given you an overview of our plans and who they are suitable for.

Training PlanSuitable ForConsiderations
12 Week Marathon Training PlanExperienced RunnersAlready have a solid running base.
16 Week Marathon Training PlanIntermediate RunnersHave some running experience.
18 Week Marathon Training PlanIntermediate to AdvancedStandard duration for many marathon programs.
24 Week Marathon Training PlanBeginners to IntermediateIdeal for those new to marathon training.
52 Week Marathon Training ScheduleBeginners with Long-Term GoalsLong preparation for gradual improvement.


  • Experience Level: Choose a plan that aligns with your running experience.
  • Base Fitness: If you’re starting from scratch, opt for longer plans to build a strong foundation.
  • Long-Term Goals: For those with ample time and a gradual approach, longer plans offer steady progression.
  • Injury Prevention: Longer plans allow for a more gradual buildup, reducing the risk of overuse injuries.


What are the key components of an 18 week marathon training plan?

It typically includes a mix of running workouts, cross-training, and rest days.

What is an 18 week marathon training plan?

It´s a structured running program designed to prepare runners for a marathon race in 18 weeks.

How do I choose the right 18 week marathon training plan?

Consider your fitness level, running experience, and goals, and look for a plan that fits your need and schedule.

What’s your option on the 18 week marathon training plan? Let us know in the comments!

Sebastian Gradl 26.09.2023
Sebastian Gradl

Nice to meet you, I´m Sebastian Gradl!

I write the articles on runfitjourney.com.

I hope I can awaken your passion for running too and would be happy to take you on the runfitjourney!

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