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How to Train for Marathon

by Jeff Galloway


This program is designed for those who have been doing some running or walking for a few weeks. If you think that you need more conditioning before starting the program, use the “conditioning program”.


Note: This is the minimum that I’ve found necessary to finish with strength. If you are already running/walking more than this amount and are able to recover between workouts, you may continue to do what you are doing—but be careful.


1. I don’t recommend that first-time marathon participants try for a time goal. Do the first one to finish, running/walking at a comfortable training pace.


2. To begin this program, you should have done a long run/walk within the past 2
weeks of at least 3 miles. If your long one is not this long, gradually increase the weekend run/walk to this distance before starting this program.


3. (Runners) What is my current level of performance? Read the chapter in this book on “Choosing The Right Goal...”. After you have run 3-4 “magic miles” (MM), multiply by 1.3. This tells you what you are currently capable of running in a marathon right now (at a very hard effort), when the temperature is 60° F or below and when you have done the long runs listed in the schedule. Even in the marathon itself, I don’t recommend running this fast—run at the training pace that was comfortable for you on your last long runs.


4. (Runners) What pace should I run on the long ones? Take your MM time and multiply
by 1.3. Then add 2 minutes. The result is your suggested long run pace per mile on long runs at 60° F or cooler. It is always better to run slower than this pace.


5. Walkers and runners should pace the long one so there’s no huffing and puffing—even at the end.


6. When the temperature rises above 60° F: runners should slow down by 30 seconds
a mile for every 5 degrees above 60° F on long runs and the race itself. Walkers, slow down enough to avoid huffing and puffing.


7. Run-walk-run ratio should correspond to the pace used (Runners).
8 min/mi—run 4 min/walk 35 seconds
9 min/mi— 4 min run-1 min walk
10 min/mi—-3:1
11 min/mi—2:30-1
12 min/mi—-2:1
13 min/mi—-1:1
14 min/mi—30 sec run/30 sec walk
15 min/mi—30 sec/45 sec
16 min/mi—30 sec/60 sec


8. Walkers—se the walk-shuffle ratio that works for you to avoid huffing and puffing


9. It is fine to do cross training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday if you wish. There will be little benefit to your running/walking in doing this, but you’ll increase your fatburning potential. Don't do exercises like stair machines that use the calf muscle on cross training days.


10. Be sure to take a vacation from strenuous exercise on the day before your weekend runs/walks.


11. Have fun!