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How To Plan Your Year If You Want To Run A Fall Marathon

As we close out the year it’s time to get serious about our goals for the new year. Setting big goals is exciting, but sometimes trying to figure out how to reach the goal we’ve set can feel overwhelming.

If your big goal for the New Year is to run a marathon next fall, here’s exactly how to sketch out your training plan for the entire year.

January – March

During these months, you’re going to build a strong foundation by focusing on strength training and easy mileage. Aim to do three full-body running-specific strength training workouts per week and 3-4 days of easy-paced running. Your weekly mileage should range from 15-25 miles per week.

April – June

Sign up for a half marathon or 10-mile race. Plan to spend approximately 12 weeks training for your race. If you want to PR in your fall marathon, it’s a good idea to try to also PR in your spring half marathon. If you are training to run your first marathon, this race and training period will serve to give you a solid base to build from for when you begin marathon training. Your weekly mileage should range from 20-30 miles per week.

Two to Three Weeks In July

Immediately after your half marathon take two to three weeks off from following a training plan before jumping into marathon training. During these weeks go back to focusing a little more on strength training and keep your runs easy-paced.

Mid-July – November

During these months, you’ll begin a marathon-specific training program. Your race-specific training should last for 16-20 weeks depending on the date of your race.


This is the month you’ll celebrate your accomplishments from the year and give yourself a break. Your body needs to recover from all the running you did over the course of the year. Take it easy and give yourself a complete break from running for as many weeks as you want.

Race Pace Jess

Race Pace Jess

Jess Underhill fell in love with running during a rough patch in life, a time period most people just refer to as middle school. Twenty-six years later that first runner's high she experienced continues to shape nearly every aspect of her life, including her career. She has a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, is graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a UESCA Certified Run Coach. Most recently Jess launched Race Pace Run Club, a free virtual run club that welcomes runners of all levels from coast to coast and also meets in-person in NYC. She is an ambassador for Sparkly Soul Headbands