Free Marathon Training Plans
Whether you are training for the Boston or the London Marathon, Caffeine Bullet marathon training plans have been devised to ensure that you peak on marathon day and run a personal best, no matter what your level or ability.
Choosing the right training plan for you
The weekly mileage run in each training plan varies greatly depending on your target time. Therefore it is important that you chose a training plan that matches your ability.
If you are unsure of what time to aim for, run a 5k or parkrun and use this time to approximately calculate your potential finish time using our race time predictor. If in doubt start with the easier plan, as it's far better to discover that you are progressing quickly and to then up your mileage, than taking on too much too soon and risking injury.
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Marathon Training Plans
Marathon Training Explained
Every training plan follows the same structure, so we have explained how each day differs, why we run them and how it helps with marathon training.
Monday Recovery Run
If you're going to drop a session, this is the one. The recovery run is intended to engage your muscles, increasing blood flow and loosening them up to aid your recovery, without being a long or intense enough run to tire you.
Tuesday Interval Session
It's far easier to cruise at 80mph if your top speed is 120mph than if it's only 90...
Tuesday interval or hill sessions are to improve your leg strength, running economy and top end pace. As the distances increase it also improves your stamina. Your pace for these sessions will vary between 3k-10k pace depending on the distance of each interval. The reps should ideally all be run at the same pace, your first rep feeling relatively easy and growing progressive harder until you are close to flat out on your last rep.
Wednesday Slow Builder
The Wednesday run should be at an easy, conversational pace. The temptation is to run faster, but it will tire you, without significant physiological benefits. The slow builder increases your mileage and stamina until mid-way through your training, when we transfer the miles to your Thursday run, getting your body used to the mileage before training it to run at marathon pace when tired.
Thursday Tempo Run / Threshold Session
A lot of people are nervous that you never run more than 22 miles in your training and that they will hit the wall - it's the Thursday tempo run that simulates the last miles of your marathon and ensures you won't bonk. Thursday is your sixth straight day of running and that tiredness is in your legs. The session increases in mileage each week, training your body to deal with a lactic acid build up and also to run at marathon pace when tired.
Friday Rest Day
What is says on the tin - your physiological improvements are made when you rest and repair, so it's important to properly rest. If you have the itch and really have to do something, go for a walk or do some stretching.
Saturday Cheeky Tester
Ok we admit, 'cheeky tester' is not an official training run name, but that's what your Saturdays are. A way to test how your training is progressing. Run a parkrun flat-out and track your times. They won't always improve as your body will grow increasingly tired, while your fitness improves, but it's the run we most look forward to. If you wake up and still feel tired or slightly stiff, just treat it as a recovery run.
Sunday Long Run
We're sure you all know this one. The long run increases your stamina and running economy when tired. We build the distance in 4-week cycles, reducing the mileage with a race every 4 weeks. The biggest mistake people make is running their long run too quickly - which not only tires you sufficiently to ensure that you cannot train well the following week, and increasing your risk of injury, but also counter-intuitively does not give you the physiological adaptations that running slightly slower does. Once you are used to the mileage some of the longer runs end at marathon pace, to simulate the last few miles of your marathon.