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Masters (40+) Marathon Training Plans

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Is A Masters Marathon Plan Right For You?

Our Masters Marathon training plans are designed for runners over 40 years old. Although plenty of younger athletes love them too.

The workouts are just as tough as with our normal training plans, but with more scheduled recovery days. And more strength and conditioning work, so you stay strong and flexible.

Masters marathon runners face different challenges to younger athletes. Families, busy careers and lack of sleep are just a few. That said, not all over 40 runners require a Masters-specific training plan. Some find it easy to carry on with a normal training load, while others need to change their approach to training.

When to Consider Choosing a Masters Plan:

  • Your training time availability is reduced with work and family commitments.
  • You feel sleep deprived from daily stresses.
  • Your body has different needs in terms of recovery, strength and flexibility training.
  • You suffer recurrent injuries.
  • You feel constantly fatigued or overwhelmed by your regular training.
  • You keep catching colds and other viruses.

Can I Still Race Successfully?

Yes! In fact, by following our Masters running plans, you may well race better than ever. The key to success is training consistently, without missing workouts due to injury, fatigue or time limitations. It’s not always about who attempts the most training.

All our training plans adhere to the principle of “Progressive Overload”. Meaning that the stress placed upon your body gradually increases over time. By training consistently with regular recovery periods, you’re more likely to absorb the gradually increasing training loads, without breaking down.

How is a Masters Plan Different?

Intensive marathon training will cause you muscle damage. As we mature it can (arguably) take longer for your muscles to adapt and remodel. This decline in rate of recovery will vary according to genetics and training history. Insufficient recovery time can lessen the effect of the workout and leave you more prone to injury. Masters Marathon plans have more rest days each week (1 or 2 days per week) and a 1:2 ratio of active recovery weeks to hard weeks (this is 1:3 in regular plans). That means you’ll do two weeks of challenging training, and then take an active recovery week (with around half the training stress).

As we get older, our muscle density begins to decline, and it becomes crucial to counter the effects of age-related muscle loss.

Our Marathon Masters plans have two scheduled strength and conditioning workouts per week, designed to promote:

  • Performance through improved strength and power.
  • Increased muscle mass.
  • Injury prevention by strengthening connective tissue, muscles, and tendons.
  • Flexibility to maintain power through a full range of movement.
  • Improved bone density.
  • Fat-free body mass (a leaner physique).

All Strength and Conditioning workouts can be carried out at home. There are also alternative exercises if you prefer a gym based workout. 

Training intensely is the key to success in any sport, regardless of age. Strong performances come from having a solid base and workouts that maximise your anaerobic fitness, speed, power and skill. Evidence suggests that higher intensity work with less volume is beneficial for the Masters athlete, even for Marathon Training. Shorter, more intense workouts will also free up valuable time for recovery and work/family commitments. Masters plans optimise your training time with the right ratio of volume and intensity relevant to each plan. 

As an older athlete with a full life, prioritising is an essential skill. Ideally schedule your week, planning times for family, training, work and sleep. You should also be prepared for the curve balls that cause chaos in your best laid plans. Consistency in training is arguably the most important trait amongst successful Masters athletes. Here are some ideas to help you stick to your regime:

  • Use your commute as an opportunity to train.
  • Add in strength and conditioning at home, with the kids if necessary!
  • If you can’t do a whole session, do part of it, something is always better than nothing.
  • Commit to a lunchtime workout.
  • Double up run workouts with Strength and Conditioning sessions and save showering twice.
  • Life will occasionally get in the way and if you need to miss the odd workout, let it go and move on. It happens.

Top Training Tips For A Marathon

Total beginners should start off by aiming to run two or three times per week, starting with 15 or 20-minute runs. If running non-stop feels too hard for you initially, include periods of walking until you’re eventually fit enough to jog without stopping.

Then you can aim to increase the duration of your workouts by no more than 10% per week. If you ignore this, you increase your risk of getting injured. Your runs should not feel too intense at this stage either – ideally you should be able to talk while you’re running, as a way of knowing that you’re not going too hard. If not, slow down or include some walking sections.

Once you have built up to running 30 minutes comfortably, you can then base your training around three key runs per week. The first key weekly run should be a long one, where you slowly build up from doing 30 minutes, eventually right through to 2 hours 30 minutes of low intensity running. This could take you many months to accomplish, as you get fitter and fitter. Progress your long-run distances slowly and steadily, so that your body can adapt to the increasing demands. Don’t shortcut this process.

The second key run should be a speed session, with a warm up, a warm down and some harder efforts sandwiched in between – such as 4 x 4 minutes hard with 2-minute recoveries. These sessions will train you to run at any given pace for less effort.

Your third key weekly run should be a marathon race pace session. Aim to build up from 30 to 90 minutes, at your target marathon race pace.  Any other runs you do in addition to your three key sessions should be steady jogs of 35 to 60 minutes.

If possible, do some of your running on soft surfaces like grass or trails, to reduce the impact on your body. Training on hillier terrain is good too, because it spreads the load to a wider range of muscle fibers, compared to running on flat ground. Always be mindful of avoiding injury – over half of all runners are injured every year. In our novice, intermediate and advanced marathon training plans we make every fourth week an “active recovery week” where the training is half as much as normal. This gives your body a chance to recover and get stronger, reducing your chances of getting injured.

In our marathon training plans we include two 45-minute strength and conditioning sessions each week. These workouts can help improve your strength and flexibility, leading to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least three runs per week, rather than instead of them.

Using A Marathon Training Plan

Online training plans are for athletes who don’t feel the need for a personal coach, but who still want the structure and planning of an expertly-written training program. Research has shown that you are twice as likely to reach your goals if you train with a structured plan. 

If you have a recent background of fitness or sport, it could take you 20 to 24 weeks to get fit enough to conquer a marathon. If you’ve been more sedentary over the last few years, it’s harder to predict. Either way, you need to build up your training gradually over a period of months. Fitness improvements build up slowly and gradually, like coffee dripping through a filter into a jug. The key is to avoid injury, by building up slowly and steadily. There are no shortcuts. 

About Phil Mosley
About Phil Mosley

As an athlete and parent, I know how challenging it can be to train effectively for endurance events. Being a certified coach with over 20 years’ experience, the biggest challenge is balancing my client’s training with their lifestyle...

And that’s why I started MyProCoach - to offer the world’s most comprehensive range of online training plans, all designed to help you enjoy the same success that my athletes and I have, while still making sure you have quality time for your family, friends and career (read 100+ detailed reviews here). You can also hear from me in a series of 6 short explainer videos below:

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Why use our training plans?

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Premium, flexible plans

Research-backed plans for any experience-level that fit around your lifestyle. From leading endurance coach Phil Mosley.

Intuitive tracking software

A flexible calendar, targeted training zones, trackable progress and so much more - on any device.

Email access to coach

On top of full help-centre & FAQ support (with videos), our coaches will quickly reply to any questions you have via email.

Our Masters Marathon Training Plans (6-39 Weeks)​

MORE THAN JUST A TRAINING PLAN

We use Training Peaks to deliver your plan – the world’s most popular endurance coaching platform. Free to use, Training Peaks is an online calendar that lets you record, track and analyze your training sessions. 

It has a host of great features allowing you to get as in-depth as you like, including the ability to export your workouts to your training devices (Garmin, TrainerRoad etc) and follow them in real time. 

Training Peaks enables us to set you in-depth training plans in a way that other formats cannot. Phil Mosley is a Certified Coach and one of the best-selling coaches on the platform.

We want to provide an affordable and effective training solution, including email coach support for any questions you may have. As you can understand, some limits apply, like personalisation or analysis of your training, but for anything else relevant to your plan, we would love to help. We also give you full access to our online help centre, with videos and articles to help you train effectively.

Certainly! Our training plans allow you to easily swap a few days around each week to suit your availability. We give a few recommendations on how to best do this in our help centre.

Yes! Our training plans guide you up to your target “A” race, but it’s also good to include some “B or C” races along the way. Our help centre goes through the exact steps you should take to enable you to get full benefit, without detracting from your key focus.

Under 40? Compare these with our Standard Marathon plans ▸

BEGINNER

Perfect for your first Marathon
3-5 hrs per week, across 4-5 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

INTERMEDIATE

For seasoned runners
4-7 hrs per week, across 5-6 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

ADVANCED

Slash your race-times
5-9 hrs per week, across 6-8 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

Join Over 10,000 Successful Athletes

FEEDBACK FROM MY MARATHON CLIENTS

I have just completed Sevilla Marathon in 3:31:07, even better than predicted. I wanted to say a HUGE thanks for putting together this plan that turned me from a slow turtle into a solid marathon runner! I am turning 48 in less than 2 months and this one is so far my marathon PB. You could not make me a better birthday gift!
Giordano Mastrocinque - Feb 2019
Finished my first Full Marathon yesterday with your Novice Training Plan. Finished strong, thanks!
Susan McDevitt - October 2018
New PB at Abingdon Marathon by 7 mins today. Target was 3:15, result was 3:07:45! Nice way to finish the season, thanks! ​
Dr James White - Oct 2014

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Preview Our Standard Training Plans Below

AND READ OUR TOP TRAINING TIPS FOR YOUR EVENT

Other Plans

In response to client feedback, we’re continually designing new specialist plans to get the best results from all our athletes. Follow the links below to read about them and see if they could be a good fit for you.

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Masters (40+) Marathon Running - Beginner Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

Preview or Buy Now!

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

Masters (40+) Marathon Running - Intermediate Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

Preview or Buy Now!

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

Masters (40+) Marathon Running - Advanced Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net