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Here’s When You Need to Start Training for Spring Marathons and Half Marathons

Make sure you’re preparing for your chosen distance with this handy timeline.

spring races
Aisha McAdams

It’s that time of year where a few things are happening. If you’ve been running for some time, you likely just completed (or will complete) some races in the fall—and if you’re like us, then this lull in your training is driving you bonkers. Or if you are one of the millions of people tinkering with what your resolutions will be for the new year and need a goal, you’re probably trying to find the perfect half marathon or marathon to add to your race calendar.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or new to the roads, one thing is true: It takes time to properly train for a marathon or half marathon. Runner’s World recommends 16 weeks to train for a marathon and at least 10 weeks for a half marathon. (And having a training base before your start on your race journey is very helpful.) To help you get to your finish line healthy and injury-free, we offer 16-week marathon training plans and 14-week and 10-week half marathon training plans for all runners.

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All of our plans were designed to help out every style of runner, from beginners to advanced. Several were created to help runners hit specific time goals, such as breaking 4 hours in the marathon or 2 hours in the half marathon.

We suggest training plans in two ways to fit your needs:

As PDFs that you can print out to keep track of your training. Read more about the plans here, and find some of our most popular plans below. And if you’re a Runner’s World+ Member, you get your training plans for free (along with many other member perks).

      Popular Marathon Training Plans

          Popular Half Marathon Training Plans

            If you’re looking for even more direction, you can try a customized plan with the Runcoach app, which uses a dynamic algorithm and certified coaches to help you become a better, stronger runner, no matter your starting point.

            Already signed up for a spring race, but not sure when you should start? No problem! We’ve created these handy tables that show when you should start training based on the scheduled date of your spring 2020 race:


            spring marathon training plans


            spring marathon training plans
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