16 Week Marathon Training Plan

Are you planning on running a marathon?  Me too!  I’ve technically turned my 16 week training plan into an 18 week one, so I’ve already started two weeks ago.  However, technically the plan I’m following starts today.  How exciting!

Queens 10k NYC

Not only that, but in 15 weeks and 6 days time, I’ll have completed my first marathon.  How scary is that!

Get the plan right!

You all know my mantra – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Training success is all about the plan.  It’s step 1 on your journey, and there is a wealth of great information out there on how to get started.    I always recommend the Hal Higdon programs – they’re free, easy to follow and effective.  I used this for my half marathon training earlier this year.

Another great starting point is fellrnr.com and their amazing marathon training plan guide – it compares a LOT of online, free plans and gives recommendations on which is right for you.  It’s a wonderful resource for new and experienced runners!

Normally I spend a lot of time planning out my training and making a spreadsheet for races and training runs, colour coded and updated with training paces and comments as the weeks go on.  This time, I’ve opted for something a little different – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a good spreadsheet, but I’ve been so busy in work recently that I haven’t had much time to focus on devising the perfect plan.  I therefore opted for a ready-made plan using the NYRR Virtual Trainer program.

NYRR Virtual Trainer 

NYRR Virtual Trainer is a personalized 16 week marathon training plan with an online system to track your progress.  You start by adding your goals, your current race paces, your current mileage and ability – and the website will pop out a personalized plan for you.  There are a few tiers of training plans, so you can choose between a conservative plan for your first marathon, right up to a more challenging plan if you’re trying to BQ (Boston Qualify).  There’s an option for everyone!

16 week marathon training plan
My personalized plan – just looking at it brings me out in a cold sweat

You can see my mileage above, but the virtual plan online has much more data than what I’ve shown here – it gives expected paces, types of run (easy run, regular run, intervals etc), and it also recalculates targets based on the run data you input as the program progresses.

I’m interested to see how my projected finish time changes over the plan, this morning I was targeting 5 hours and 30 minutes, but I had a slow run tonight in the crazy humidity and it’s set my expected finish time back to almost 6 hours!  The most important thing is finishing, though, so I’m going to keep following the given paces on the plan as this should be the best way to avoid injury.

marathon training plan
A sneak peak of my personalized 16 week marathon training plan


110 days to go

I am very excited to for this plan!  There is a small fee for access to the virtual trainer, but so far I think it’s great value for money for the wealth of metrics and personalized targets that the plan provides.  I find it incredibly intimidating, especially as it’s more mileage than I currently do and I’ve had all these damn injuries to deal with.  However, I feel like I’m ready for this, and ready to give it my all.

I can’t wait to share my progress!  If you want to follow along, you’ll find me mostly on Instagram and Strava.

Here we go!  110 days till marathon!

Pam x 




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