18 Week Marathon Training Plan for Working Moms (Yes, you can train for a marathon!!!)

After finishing my 5th full marathon this past May, just one week before my son turned one, I had a lot of people ask me how I found time to train for a marathon while working full time and having an infant. I’m here to tell all of you working moms out there that it IS possible to stay fit and train for a marathon with a new baby (whether it’s your very first or your tenth). Before you begin this plan, you need to be able to comfortably run 3 miles. Then you can consider yourself ready to begin! This 18 week plan will help you build the endurance to finish a marathon while still working and “momming.”

If you have experience race training, I’m warning you this plan will look very different, and there are a couple of reasons why. First, as a mom, you don’t have time to have the kind of high mileage weeks you may have had before motherhood. There isn’t enough time in the day or coffee in the universe to be an awesome mom, earn a paycheck, and to fit a 6 mile run in every weeknight. Unless you’re running 5 minute miles of course, and that’s not me! The second reason is because on any given weeknight, let’s be honest, the max time you have to fit in a workout is 30-40 minutes. There may be times your husband or partner will watch the little ones so you can get your run in before they go to bed, but you don’t want that every night. You want to spend time with them and help put them to bed and be there for all of the awesome moments.


So, this training plan is based on the idea that you have 30 minutes, 3 weeknights a week that you can force yourself to run after your little ones go to bed or after work with a jogging stroller. These should be your tempo runs where you try to reach your goal marathon pace or even a bit faster. You should be sweating and out of breath on these runs. As promised, there won’t be any runs over 3 miles on a weeknight because it’s not realistic for the working mom lifestyle.

Saturday mornings will be reserved for your long runs, and you need to wake up EARLY! It was always my goal to get my long run finished before my son woke up (though sometimes it took a little bit longer). In the beginning when the long runs are shorter, that may mean a 6AM morning… not too bad. Later, when you get to the really long runs, think closer to 4AM or 5AM. These runs will be a little slower than your goal marathon pace and easier than your tempo runs. These morning might be hard, but remember, when you cross that finish line, it will all be worth it!

Sunday morning are for short, easy recovery runs you can fit in whenever is convenient.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are your rest days, and do just that… REST! Don’t try to fit in extra miles on these days because you will end up injured.

When it comes to marathon cross training with this plan, I lifted weights on Sundays and Wednesdays throughout this plan. Sundays I went to the gym and did a longer lifting session, and Wednesdays were with weights I have at home. I recommend two days a week of cross training if you have the time.

Feel free to adapt this plan and change the “off days” or long run day so it fits with your schedule. If you decide to start this plan, please let me know, and I’ll give you any support I can! And check out my Race Training Tips for working moms before you get started!

Good Luck and Happy Running!!!


Marathon Training Plan:

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Total
1 mi 2 mi Rest 1 mi 1 mi Rest 3 mi 8 miles
1 mi 2 mi Rest 1 mi 1 mi Rest 4 mi 9 miles
1 mi 2 mi Rest 1 mi 1 mi Rest 6 mi 11 miles
1.5 mi 1 mi Rest 1 mi 2 mi Rest 8 mi 13.5 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 1 mi 3 mi Rest 5.5 mi 15 miles
2 mi 2 mi Rest 3 mi 2 mi Rest 8 mi 17 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 2 mi 2 mi Rest 10 mi 19 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 2 mi 2 mi Rest 11 mi 20 miles
2 mi 2 mi Rest 3 mi 2 mi Rest 12 mi 21 miles
1 mi 2 mi Rest 2 mi 3 mi Rest 7 mi 15 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 1 mi 3 mi Rest 13.1!! mi 22.1 miles
2 mi 2 mi Rest 3 mi 2 mi Rest 14 mi 23 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 2 mi 2 mi Rest 15 mi 24 miles
1 mi 2 mi Rest 3 mi 3 mi Rest 9 mi 18 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 2 mi 2 mi Rest 17 mi (max) 26 miles
1 mi 3 mi Rest 3 mi 2 mi Rest 14 mi 23 miles
2 mi 3 mi Rest 3 mi 2 mi Rest 9 mi 19 miles
3 mi 2 mi Rest 3 mi 5 mi Rest Rest 13 miles
Race Day!!!!

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