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How to Create a 12 Week Marathon Training Plan

July 31, 2023 935 views

Preparing for a marathon can be a big commitment, and you’ll have to dedicate all your energy to the process.  Even if you’ve done a few half-marathons, a full marathon is a different thing altogether. According to experts, a 12 week marathon training plan can help you achieve your goals.


The training required will somewhat be intense, and the commitment necessary is substantial. But the rewards are also great. In this article, we’ll give you a detailed guide on how to create a 12 week marathon training plan that will help you cross the finish line injury-free.


Tips to Create a 12 Week Marathon Training Plan


1. Set Your Sights on a Fitness Plan


The first thing you will have to do to create a 12 week marathon training plan is to set your sights on a fitness plan. Without a fitness goal, you will have nothing to aim for and no way to measure your progress. Once you have decided on a goal, you can begin to create your 12 week marathon training plan.



You will need to make sure that your 12 week marathon training plan is uniquely tailored as well as realistic. If you are new to running, you will not be able to train for a marathon in a few weeks. It is important to give yourself enough time to train gradually and avoid injury.


Your endurance will increase, and you will be able to run faster and further. The key is to not get discouraged and to keep at it even when you don't feel like it.


2. Include Strength Training Days in Your Routine


Most people think that cross-training means only doing cardio on days you don't run. But if you want to get faster and stronger, you need to include strength-training days in your 12 week marathon training plan, too.



Strength training not only helps you build muscle and become a more efficient runner, but it also helps prevent injuries. When you're building a 12 week marathon training plan and training regularly, you're putting a lot of stress on your body, so it's important to do everything you can to reduce your risk of injury.


If you're not sure how to incorporate strength training into your 12 week marathon training plan, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started.


3. Include Cross-Training in Your Plan


If you're like most runners, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you need to do to make your 12 week marathon training plan. But there's one other important element that you may not have considered and that is, cross-training.



Cross-training is any type of activity that complements your running and helps you become a better and more well-rounded runner. It can be anything from swimming to strength training to yoga. And while it may not seem like an essential part of your 12 week marathon training plan, it can actually be a game-changer for your overall performance.


Cross-training is extremely difficult for most runners, so here are a few ideas to make it more tolerable:


  • Find a cross-training activity for a 12 week marathon training plan that you actually enjoy.


  • Make a cross-training playlist to listen to while you work out.


  • Find a friend or group to do your cross-training with. This will make the time go by faster and it's also a great way to stay motivated during your 12 week marathon training plan.


4. Manage Your Run Intensity


Your run intensity is simply how hard you're running and while creating your 12 week marathon training plan, you’ll have to consider your run intensity. It's important to manage because if you're running too hard, you risk overtraining and injury.



On the other hand, if you're not running hard enough, you won't see the results you want on your race day. So, the question is, how do you find the right balance in that 12 week marathon training plan? The answer may vary depending on your individual fitness level and goals, but there are some general guidelines you can follow.


For example, most experts recommend that you keep your easy runs fairly easy and your hard runs, well, hard. You'll also need to monitor your fatigue levels, plan for recovery days, and cross-train to improve your overall fitness during the 12 week marathon training plan.


5. Consider Regular Training Runs


If you are considering a 12 week marathon training plan, you’ll get 3 regular training runs for each week. This plan will include at least six miles per run. It will give you enough time to not only build up your endurance but also to get used to running long distances.



And if you're new to marathon training, you should consider signing up for a few shorter races before the big day. This will help you get a feel for what marathon race day will be like. And if you can, you should try to vary your routes to keep things interesting.


6. Incorporate Low Slow Runs


Along with regular training runs, it's important to have low slow runs as part of your 12 week marathon training plan. This type of run helps you build endurance and stamina, which are key for completing a marathon. Low slow runs are typically done at a pace of around 7 miles per minute.


This may seem like a slow approach to the 12 week marathon training plan, but it's important to keep this pace so that you don't overexert yourself. Some people like to do their low slow runs on the treadmill, but the best approach is to do them outside. If you're running outside, make sure to pick a route that is flat, so you can avoid injuries.



Whether you are running outside or on the treadmill, make sure to maintain a consistent pace without having to stop to rest. You may not give them as much importance but at the end of the day, they will be much helpful to you. So, make sure to include them in your 12 week marathon training plan.


7. Manage Your Active Recovery and Rest Days


You've already done the hard work of figuring out how many training days per week you need, and you've planned out your long runs. But another important part of creating a 12 week marathon training plan is to make sure you're including active recovery and rest days.



Active recovery days are important in your 12 week marathon training plan because they give your body time to recover from the harder training days while still allowing you to stay active and maintain your fitness level. Rest days are also important because they give your body a chance to completely recover from strenuous training and prepare you for the upcoming week of training.


If you manage your active recovery and rest days properly, you'll be able to stick to your 12 week marathon training plan and avoid injury.


8. Include Hill and Tempo Runs


A universal 12 week marathon training plan involves hills and tempo runs in the schedule. These types of runs improve your speed and make you stronger. Professional runners term hills as the best place to train for the marathon because it will increase your leg strength and improve biomechanics.


While hills make you stronger, tempo runs help you maintain your pace and prepare you for the final phase of the 12 week marathon training plan.



Including hill and tempo runs in your training plan will help you to run your best on race day. You'll be able to push yourself harder and longer, and you'll be less likely to get injured. Most runners dread hills and tempo runs but if you want to create a successful 12 week marathon training plan, you’ll have to include them.


9. Pay Special Heed to Your Diet


Training for a marathon is no small feat and the diet for runners is completely different from those of fitness freaks or bodybuilders. So, when you are creating a 12 week marathon training plan, it’s important to pay special attention to your diet.



What you eat plays a big role in how you perform on race day and there are a few things you’ll need to do to make sure you’re getting the right diet supplements. For example, you'll need to make sure you're getting enough calories to support your 12 week marathon training plan.


Also, focus on nutrient-dense foods that will help you recover from your workouts. Another important thing you’ll have to make sure of is staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Taking proper fluids will help you avoid cramps and prevent injuries when you are training hard.


10. Use a Detailed Template to Make Your Plan


You have planned your 12 week marathon training plan from scratch and selected your perfect workouts, but there’s one thing you might be missing out on: jotting it all down. Pick a pen and paper and make a detailed plan you have thought of.



After you have written down every detail, it’s time to refer to an online template that is suited to your 12 week marathon training plan. There are many different types of ready-made templates available over the internet, but we recommend only using them for reference.


The best approach to do this is to customize these plans to your needs. Write down the details about the diet you’ll take and the workouts you enjoy the most. All these details will make your 12 week marathon training plan an efficient one.


For your assistance, we have also listed some of the templates so you can edit them right from here:


Templates to Use to Create 12 Week Marathon Training Plan


  1.  Weekly Fitness Schedule


This weekly fitness schedule will let you write down all the exercises you want to include in your simple 12 week marathon training plan. You can also include a rest day or two and can also list the details about reps, sets, and rest between the sets.


It is the most basic 12 week marathon training plan template you can use and plus, it’s super easy to edit online or on the WPS desktop application.



2. Fitness Plan for Male


Don’t take the name literally. The template can be used whether you are male or female looking to build a 12 week marathon training plan for your journey. You can use the details in this template to plan your fitness and calculate your diet intake, calories, and weight changes throughout the month or week.


You can download this 12 week marathon training plan template from the WPS website and keep it with you all the time.



3. Simple Exercise Plan


This template for a 12 week marathon training plan can be used by both trainers and aspirants to plan and list their workouts in an orderly fashion. It will not include weekly or monthly workout plans but you can easily add details of a specific workout plan, including the interval, rest time, and benefits.


This template can be used as a sample 12 week marathon training plan to benefit from it in the right way.



4. Modern Exercise Plan


The modern exercise plan template may sound like a workout template, but it can be tweaked a little to customize it as an example 12 week marathon training plan. You can list days, specific exercises, and pictures to illustrate what your marathon training plan will look like.



Find More About 12 Week Marathon Training Plan


In the above paragraphs, we have mentioned every possible thing there is to create an effective 12 week marathon training plan for yourself. However, make sure to use an appropriate template that will outline all possible details about your marathon training plan.


If you want to learn more about training plan templates and tutorials like these, you can follow WPS Academy. There, you can find both video tutorials and quick guides on how to use different templates to your benefit. You can also download multiple templates from WPS Template Store to help you with everyday tasks and manage your daily plans.


If you want the ease of offline editing, you can download the WPS Office software application for free. WPS provides a free text editor, spreadsheet editor, and presentation manager to help ease your daily office and at-home tasks.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.