Building Races into your Marathon Training Plan


Building races into your marathon training plan is a fantastic way of motivating yourself through your plan and helping you achieve the longer runs in the lead up to race day. It allows you to be in a race environment and and helps learn what its like to run alongside others.

I find that it’s a great way to practice my pre-race breakfast routine, finding the start line, replicating the pre-races nerves and trialling of any kit or fuel.

Knowing what races to put in your plan as and when can be tough so here are my suggestions!


WEEK 1 – 4

I’m going to start with Weeks 1 – 4 of your plan. For those training in the Spring, this will be January. I would advise adding in a 10mile event in the first 4 weeks. This doesn’t need to be ‘raced’ as it can be used as a training run, but also good if you want to try a faster pace for a base and early confidence boost into training your training plan. A few local races for those training in the East Anglia region:

Sunday 20th January – Fred Hughes 10

I did this course in 2018, and although an undulating course, I really enjoyed it.


Saturday 26th January – Runthrough VeloPark 10 Miles

Gade Valley Harriers – 12 Mile Training Run


WEEKS 5 – 8

In February and March, it’s worth doing a half marathon or two, to either support a long run day or ‘race’ if you’re feeling good and training has gone well.

Watford Half – 3rd February

A race I’ve not personally done, but quite a few club members have. Again, another undulating course but a good one!


Bramley 10/20 – 17th February

This offers a 10 or 20 mile run so great for those who are advanced in their Marathon training or those wanting another 10 mile race.


Cambridge Half – 3rd March – (APPARENTLY ALREADY SOLD OUT!)


The Big Half – 10th March

I’m in for this one! A London based event running part of the Marathon route. A great one to do to experience the big race day feel!


Cyprus Half – 17th March

A huge group of the Redway Runners are going to Cyprus for a trip away and to run either 5k, 10k, 1/2 or full marathon. Can’t wait for this race.


WEEKS 9 – 12

I would then advise for a 20 mile event 3 or 4 weeks prior to race day.
Here are some suggestions for Manchester and London. London is a week later than normal so finding events for this one has been harder!



4 weeks before Race Day – 10th March 


Irwell Valley 20, Greater Manchester –

Hillingdon 20, London –

Brett Lyd 20 Mile, Kent –


3 weeks before Race Day – 17th March 


Milton Keynes Festival of Running 20 Miles –

Oundle 20, Northamptonshire –



5 weeks before Race Day – 24th March 


Oakley 20 –

Ashby 20, Leicestershire –

 Gade Valley 20 Training Run –


4 weeks before Race Day – 31st March 

Unfortunately the Bedford 20 was meant to be scheduled for this day, but for reasons out of their control, they can no longer hold the event. Gutted, but here are some other options for those running the London Marathon.

Eton Dorney Lake

A lapped course around Eton Dorney Lake. A flat route!

Bedford Autodrome

Another lapped course, but local to people in Milton Keynes.


I hope that this helps you shape your race calendar. Leave a comment with any other suggestions and which races you have booked! Happy Training. xx