The Goal & Plan

GOAL: I wanted to complete my first ever marathon.

FITNESS: I had run 5 half marathons in a few months. My longest run at that point was 16 miles, so my fitness was good, but I felt I needed a new challenge.

PLAN: A 20 week plan, aimed at slowly increasing my long run each week to reach 23 miles, 3 weeks before the marathon. 1 speed session a week and 2 other runs, including a few races.

Training Plan 2 Stats
Runner Simon Linklater
Weeks 20
Ave Distance 52.74km (32.7 miles)
Runs Per Week 3.9

Long Run x1

1 Long run a week. Easy Pace. Gradually adding distance to each training run.

Speed Session x1

Crucial for any runner to progress. I did on average 1 efforts session a week, sometimes adding a 2nd.

Base Mileage 50 - 60k

Ranged from between 40 – 60km. Made up mainly of my long run and 2 easy social runs a week.

Cross Training

Just stretching after runs and daily back stretches as that often gives me some trouble.

The Journey

As with any Marathon Training plan, the “Long Run” is going to be the key. I started with a good level of fitness built up from my 1st training plan.

I did find it very difficult to hit my targets though and struggled with any run over 30K. I wasn’t fueling properly and once I took on more calories it helped me in the latter stages of runs.

Whilst the Marathon was always my primary goal, I still entered races. I was careful they didn’t impact my training. In the course of the 20 weeks I ran a 10K PB on 3 separate occasions.

I did have a couple of poor weeks. I found myself struggling in the middle of the plan and took a break during week 9. I got restless though and made the mistake of attending pilates and circuits back to back (both for the first time). What a nobhead!!! I soon got back on track though.

Lessons Learned

  • In hindsight I feel the plan was too long given my starting level of fitness was good

  • Refuelling on long runs is key. Gels or energy bars are vital if you run for longer than 2 hours.

  • Take the occasional recovery week. Perhaps every 4th week drop the mileage to avoid burnout which happened to me.

  • Running the occasional race helped mix things up and getting PBs made all the work worthwhile

  • Make sure you do your research when booking a hotel for your marathon, a good nights sleep is key. #DontBookAShitHole

  • If introducing new forms of exercise like pilates or circuits do it gradually

  • Continue to do weekly speed sessions. These will ensure you don’t lose your speed whilst training for a marathon


Worthing 10K
Barry Richards 10K
Bewl 15
Kew Gardens 10K
Bournemouth Marathon

Week by Week

Week Long
Efforts Easy Runs
1 26k (16.1) Track 1 57.6k (35.8)
2 27k (16.7) Hills/Worthing 10K 1 59.8k (37.2)
3 21.1k (13.1) Track 2 46.6k (28.9)
4 27k (16.8) Progression Run 2 60k (37.3)
5 28k (17.4) Track/Efforts 2 55.7k (34.6)
6 29k (18) Track/Efforts/10K Race 2 61.6k (38.27)
7 24k (14.9) Track 1 53.7k (33.4)
8 23.4k (14.5) Progression Run 2 56.4k (35)
9 2 10.9k (6.8)
10 30k (18.6) Track 2 54.9k (34.1)
11 29k (18) Efforts 2 60.3k (37.5)
12 30k (18.6) 3 64.2k (39.9)
13 5 46.2k (28.7)
14 31.5k (19.6) Track 2 57.6k (35.79)
15 33k (20.5) Efforts/Parkrun/Battle 10K 0 53.7k (33.4)
16 34.5k (21.4) Parkrun 2 60.4k (37.5)
17 32k (19.9) Efforts/Kew 10K 0 48.7k (30.3)
18 25k (15.5) Track/Parkrun 1 55.8k (34.7)
19 16k (9.9) Track 2 32.4k (20.1)
20 42.2k (26.2) 2 58.2k (36.2)