Even beginner runners can train for a marathon in five months, but the process requires commitment, mental strength and sweat. Time must be set aside for stretching and training, ensuring that you stick to the routine that you chose. Before beginning a serious marathon training program, runners should be able to run a minimum of 3 miles without stopping to rest.
Treadmill, track or measured outdoor area
Measure the time of your runs, and make a great playlist to listen to while you train to keep motivation high.
Alternate rest days with 3-mile runs during the first week of month one. Finish the first month of training by alternating rest with one day of cross-training and 4-mile runs. Push for a 7-mile run on the last day of the month.
Incorporate cross-training during month two, continuing to alternate rest days with running. Your regular runs should be 5 miles, while your longer runs on the last day of the week should be 7 miles at first, and then increased to 8 miles during the last two weeks of the month.
Stick to the schedule of rest, regular 5-mile runs and cross-training, but end each week with a longer run during your third month. Finish the first week of the month with a 10-mile run, and then increase the distance by 1 mile per week, so you end the month with a 14-mile run.
Switch it up daily between cross-training and regular runs during month four, which are now 6 miles long. At the end of the first week, run 10 miles at your target marathon pace. Finish the second week of the month with an 18-mile run, then finish weeks three and four with a 10-miler.
Focus on maintaining your target pace, the length of time in which you'll run the marathon, during all runs in the fifth month. Continue to cross-train and rest as usual, and keep the distance of your regular runs at 6 miles for the first two weeks. Taper your training during the third and fourth weeks, when your regular runs should be no more than 4 miles.
Things You'll Need
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.