How To Train For A Marathon On A Treadmill

Natalie Cecconi
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How is a Treadmill Beneficial for Marathon Training?

One of the best uses of a treadmill in marathon training is in the recovery phase. The tread provides support without impact. Thus, the muscles are provided with a very gentle type of workout after training sessions.

This is helpful for damaged tissues to heal, prevent injuries, and adapt to the specific training pattern of a marathon runner. However, one must understand, depending on the fitness level, there is no replacement for the real thing. Doing too many miles on the treadmill will lead a runner into a plateau. That is when the training will not have any more progress.

If you do not own a treadmill, find a nearby gym and use it for a few weeks to get familiar with the new training pattern.

Also, you can pick up a book or two before starting a treadmill routine for marathon training. A good example would be Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger.

And of course, never begin a treadmill training unless you are ready and able to finish off the race on a real track.

Treadmill Training vs. Road Training

There are many different training methods associated with marathon training. The three commonly used methods are road training, treadmill training, and cross country training. Each of these have their pros and cons, and the one that works for you will depend on your goals, your current level of fitness, and your proximity to the race.

Road Training – Although not as effective or efficient as treadmill or cross country training, it's the most common type of training. Road training consists of physical conditioning at the pace you'd expect to run in the race and in the conditions you'll encounter at the start of the race.

Treadmill Training – Due to the convenience, using the treadmill is one of the most popular methods of training for marathons. Walking or running on the treadmill at a pace that's specific to the race allows you to practice race day without any impact on your body outside of the race.

Cross Country Training – Because of the greater focus on speed, cross country training is best suited for marathon training for experienced runners. Also, the intense training twice a day will increase your muscular strength, your anaerobic threshold, and your endurance.

Ultimately, treadmill training is a viable training strategy if you want to become a long distance runner, and it's a great way to train for your first marathon. Treadmill training provides much of the benefits you'd find in road training without the actual impact of running on hard surfaces.

What Goes into a Treadmill Training Plan?

Now that you’ve decided to tackle the marathon, there’s all the more reason why you need to train properly.

Firstly, if you’re serious about it, hire a coach. It’s the best investment you can make to achieve your goal.

Start by keeping a written training journal. The coach will provide you with a training plan. Record your achievements and any setbacks or injuries in it. A running log will also let you track your progress over time.

When you’re training, don’t try anything too severe. Follow your plan and take it easy.

Don’t try to challenge yourself by pushing yourself too hard. If you do, the risk of injury is high. Injuries do not just impede training but also make you more susceptible to illness.

Plan your training according to your schedule. You may have a regular nine to five job so start training in the early morning or late at night. If you have the luxury of a flexible schedule, you could also opt for training after work. Whatever is the most convenient for you.

Take a day off from your training if you’re feeling under the weather or exhausted.

Tips for Making it Through Your Training to that Marathon

Congratulations on making it past the marathon training finish line and on to race day. Now it’s time to run your best marathon yet!

The marathon presents a different set of challenges than half marathons and 5Ks as you have to work to maintain pace and keep your energy levels up over the entire distance. You need to pace yourself just right in order to finish strong.

It’s important to remember that building endurance and running to train for a marathon can have different physical and mental benefits than completing a race. Running will help you improve your heart health, maintain muscle mass, weight-control, and is a great way to relieve stress.

Make sure you choose a marathon training plan that’s right for you. The right plan will enable you to run comfortably with a good intensity level throughout the marathon and help you achieve your goal. Check out the 8-week marathon training program on Course Hero. It’s a good foundation for achieving your marathon goals and leaves you plenty of time to get in your training.

Get Ready with Our FREE Half Marathon Training Plan

Training for a marathon can be both rewarding and grueling. The sheer amount of miles and time spent training can seem pretty overwhelming, and sometimes we run out of motivation before we can hit the finish line.

Let’s face it: marathon training is a challenge, but with the right strategy, the right focus, and the right training plan, you can achieve your goal.

Before you start pounding the pavement, check out our FREE 21-Day Half Marathon Training Plan to get started on your training this year!

You can access this free training plan in a couple of ways:

Click the link to download the plan and it will be instantly emailed to you or open it in Google Drive and click the blue download button on the bottom right.

Conquer the Marathon With Our FREE 21-Day Half Marathon Training PlanThis free half marathon training program is designed to help you build a strong running foundation and properly train for a half marathon.

This free training plan is a short read that breaks down the essentials of running a half marathon and includes:

  • The Physiology of the Half Marathon
  • How Much Training is Enough?
  • How to Train Effectively for the Half Marathon
  • How to Fuel Your Body for Your Half Marathon
  • Upper & Lower Body Strength Workouts
  • Speed Workouts
  • The importance of Rest and Recovery
  • & More!