Marathon Training Masterclass

The Complete Guide To Achieve Your Marathon Goals - Specific Training Plans, Expert Training Advice, Preparation, Gear, Nutrition and Pace Strategy, Guaranteed!

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Training for your first marathon?

I'll show you the most effective methods to get results and achieve your marathon goals!

Looking to improve your marathon time?

Our training strategies and speedwork plans help you sharpen your edge!

We will take you through your entire marathon training and preparation journey, from your first step to the finish line.

Are You Ready To Run 26.2 miles?

You've got a marathon in your sights? Great! Running a marathon is just an awesome goal.

Each year, more and more runners take on the challenge of conquering 26.2 miles.

Marathon training can be enjoyable, but is a serious commitment in terms of time and energy.

But there are pitfalls ahead!

Unfortunately, every year hundreds of marathon runners don't finish their marathon.


They increase their mileage too quickly and get injured during training.

They get common problems like IT band issues, Runner's knee, shin splints, or another injury and they don't know how to react to them.

Their training plan lacks structure, causing them to overcompensate and overtrain.

They burn out.

They don't know how to taper.

They don't have a nutrition strategy in place, and that banana at the half-way point goes down the wrong way . . .

You Can Get To The Finish Line!

The Marathon Training Masterclass will guide you through your entire marathon training journey, all the way to the finish line!

Some of the key principles of our training philosophy:

How to Train Smart.

Every single run or workout you perform should have a specific goal and intention.

This way you optimise the time spent in training.

Random Training = Random Results.

How to use your dedicated training plan. After explaining the principles of marathon training, we give you a marathon training plan to follow all the way to marathon day.

How to use cross training as a secret weapon to minimise injuries and build running power!

The importance of marathon pace; how so many marathon runners get it wrong, and what your pace strategy should be come race day.

How to develop a solid nutrition and hydration strategy to fuel you during your marathon, and in training.

And loads more! (check out the curriculum below).


I was a running rookie . . .

Back in 2012, I was a pretty average jogger who signed up for a marathon.

Up to that point, my only running experience was occasional 30 minute jogs after work.

But the idea of running a marathon enticed me, and without knowing what I was getting into, I signed up.

During the next few months, I embarked upon a haphazard training schedule of my own design.

I would go for crazy-long runs as fast as I could, without a route or real plan in place.

Come race day, I lined up at the start line in a three-year-old pair of running shoes and board shorts.

I had no pace strategy (other than go as fast as I could sustain), no nutrition strategy (I was planning to sustain myself on water and mars bars), and had done no research on the course.

That day, I ended up bonking (hitting the wall) after about 3 hours, and despite a strong start, I practically limped over the finish line.

Still, I was now a marathon runner.

Despite my pain and suffering, I was hooked.

I began to look at what I'd done wrong, and researched how I could improve - I read blogs, books, took courses.

Gradually I signed up for more marathons, and continued to get faster.

I began to develop my racing strategies - be it regarding pace, nutrition, training plans, hydration, or gear - and did extensive research on every topic involved in running.

I've since gone on to run dozens of marathons, as well as all kinds of ultramarathons and multi-day stage race events.

After having success in my own running career, I wanted to help others experience the same awesome feeling I get from distance running events.

I became a UESCA-certified running coach, and now through Marathon Handbook I help runners across the world achieve their marathon goals every day.

Our resources are used by tens of thousands of runners each year, and our goal is simple - to help other people run far!

The Marathon Masterclass leads to marathon results....

"Your lessons were really helpful . . . they greatly helped me to achieve what I thought was impossible. I cannot describe the euphoria and satisfaction I felt days after running the marathon!"

- Kuba, Marathon Handbook student


"I ran London Marathon last Sunday in 03:41:57 which absolutely blew my mind!

And I even picked up the pace a little in the last 2-3 miles.

Unbelievable to me so will be trying to go under 3:30"

- Pawel Kasprzak, Marathon Handbook student

"Dear Thomas,

Just a quick note of thanks.

On Sunday I completed my first marathon (Chester, England) in 3:45!
A massive part of that was down to your material and the brilliant advice in it.

I followed the 5 month plan pretty closely and it was tough but worth it, so again many thanks to you."

- Andrew Parker, Wales

Marathon Handbook student


Marathon Training Masterclass

The Ultimate Expert Guide To

Achieving Your Marathon Goals


12 Modules of Video Training and downloadable material that will make you marathon ready!

Over 5+ hours of exclusive video walkthroughs and tutorials with a professional UESCA-certified running coach!

Plus full access to our database of marathon training plans (+ special discount on our TrainingPeaks plans) . . .

Sit back, watch, take notes, and learn the training techniques and strategies that marathon runners need to know to optimise their training and bag their best result on marathon day!

What You Will Learn . . .


We know how daunting it can be to sign up for a marathon - it's an epic road ahead of you.

The first step in a successful marathon runner's journey is defining what their marathon goals are going to be - this then guides them through every step of the process.

This course starts by working with you to define what your marathon goals will be, by working through a series of exercises. Whether you want to run a sub 3hr 30min marathon, or you simply want to cross the finish line in one piece, having your marathon goals defined at the start of the training process makes everything easier.

Once you have defined your goals, you can structure your entire training plan around those goals - allowing you to train smart!


Going from regular distance runs to a full marathon is a complete change in mindset, and approach.

In this module, I'll explain to you the essential principles of marathon training.

We'll spend a lot of time discussing your training plan - and I explain the rationale behind the length, the mileages, the milage increases, the layout of your week, step-back weeks . . . there's a lot to cover, and it's all grounded in optimising your training plan.

I'll walk you through our marathon training plan database, how to pick the training plan that suits your ability levels and goals, and then how to customise the training plan to suit your needs - if required. We'll talk about the importance of following a training plan, and explain the relevance of each element of the plan.

I also have an entire video session dedicated to pace strategy - one of the most overlooked (but crucial) elements of any marathon plan!


As early as practically possible, you should be studying your upcoming marathon course conditions and organisation.

In this module, we'll look at what's important when you're researching your marathon, and how to prepare accordingly during your training - whether it's underfoot conditions, gradients, weather, aid stations, or simply planning your toilet stops - it's all important information which will play an important role in your marathon training.

I also spend some time walking you through some logistical planning advice, making sure your travel arrangements and race day logistics run as smoothly as possible.


This module really gets into the meat of your marathon training. I explain the details of every different type of training run you'll be performing during your marathon training - whether it's pace runs, long runs, speed work, or simple training runs.

When you train smart, each training run has specific objectives and targets specific qualities.

In this section, we look at the details of each training run - how to warm up, how long they should be, what pace they should be run at, how your mileage should increase as your training progresses.

Naturally, we also end up discussing what many marathon runners-in-training do wrong on these training runs.


For my money (and that of almost every other coach I talk to), the number one activity that most marathon runners neglect is some form of resistance training. Many runners count running as their only form of exercise, and these don't realise the injury-proofing or performance benefits which a modest amount of gym time can have.

When I talk about resistance training I'm meaning anything that puts muscles under some load - so this can be gym work or body-weight exercises done at home. Cross training such as swimming and yoga is great too, but to maximise the benefits I recommend doing focussed exercises which target specific areas that improve your running game.

In this module, I'll tell you about the importance of resistance training, the fundamentals of how to perform it, and then give you specific instructions on the best exercises to perform to level up your running game and make you injury-proof (and the majority can be done at home!)


In this module, we cover every about gear - starting with running shoes.

I show you exactly what you need to look for in shoes, and how to select the right pair of running shoes for your marathon training. We also discuss different shoe types, and how to assess whether your existing shoes are good enough. I give recommendations about when to change out your shoes, and how 'fresh' your marathon shoes should be.

We then go through every other piece of gear you'll need for your marathon running. I'll give you the details of what you need to look for when it comes to GPS devices, running vests, shorts, shirts, and - very importantly - running socks!


There's a million-and-one different diet plans on the internet . . . instead of promising some crazy result, we've gone belt-and-braces and show you exactly what works for runners in their marathon training. I'll tell you about the fundamentals of marathon nutrition, and we'll cover the necessary intakes of different nutrients to aid your training and recovery.

We'll also cover run-specific fuel - what to eat before, during, and after your runs - and your marathon. I give a rundown of the research into hydration during prolonged activity, and we discuss your hydration and fuelling strategies on the big day!


It's a hard fact of life that injuries are pretty common during marathon training - as are illnesses, burnout, and exhaustion, thanks to your immune system being run ragged.

In this module, we'll cover the best strategies to minimise your risk of getting injured - and what to do if and when you feel some pain.

I'll also cover how be to handle illnesses such as colds and flus during your marathon training, and how to take breaks from your training plan and recalibrate.


The Taper is the final few weeks before your marathon. During your taper, you gradually scale down the density of your training, and get yourself ready for your big day.

In this module, we cover the training elements of the taper, as well as some practical tips for how you should best prepare in the 3-4 weeks before your marathon.


Finally, the big day is here!

After all the time, energy, and miles you've invested, it's time to run 26.2 miles.

In this module, we'll go through a huge bunch of practical tips for how to handle your race day. We'll cover what to do pre-race, at the start line, and throughout your running effort. I've also dedicated entire lessons to The Wall and Marathon Pace, in order to ensure you get these two fundamentals correct!


You thought we were finished, right?

As soon as your marathon finishes, there are several steps you can take to optimise your recovery. At the end of 26.2 miles, your body is actually beaten up, and susceptible to injury and illness. In this lesson, we also look at how best to recuperate in the days and weeks following your marathon - as well as discussing the Post Marathon Blues.



Included with the course are these awesome bonuses...


This bonus video lesson is for runners who specifically want to finish their marathon in under 4-hrs. I walk you guys through how to apply the principles and training strategies in the course to beat the 4-hr mark. Also includes a dedicated training plan, designed specifically for those looking to beat the 4-hr mark!


Getting your shoes right is one of the most important steps in your marathon journey. Here, I've put together a complete guide on how to try shoes, what you need to look for, brands that are popular, and what the shoe store experts recommend!


These three checklists are designed for three important milestones prior to your marathon: 4 weeks before your marathon, 1 week before, and 24 hours before. Run through them and make sure you're not forgetting anything! These checklists are referenced in 'The Taper' module of the course!


After your marathon you're completely spent - your body is beaten up and often even getting up the stairs can be tough! Follow this plan to gradually loosen up then get back into running - optimise your recovery the right way.


A gear guide specially for the ladies! Women's gear has it's own set of considerations, so whether it's your sports bra or running shoes, we've got you covered.


Use our checklist to make sure you never forget any gear when planning your runs! We go into much more detail on the gear in the 'Shoes and Gear' module of the course.


Level up your running performance and avoid injury by including resistance training in your training plan! I recommend one resistance training session per week for all marathon-runners-in-training - it really can be a runner's secret weapon. Leading on from the 'Resistance and Strength Training' video lesson, this guide details how to perform the recommended resistance stretches and workouts.


Following on from our 'Nutrition' module, these example meal plans guide you through your marathon training diet. Included are four distinct week-long plans; i) marathon training, ii) marathon training for vegetarians, iii) the week before your marathon, and iv) the week before your marathon for vegetarians. The guide also comes with practical tips on meal planning.



You'll get access to our Facebook and Strava communities - share your wins, your problems, your questions, and your runs with our active community of runners and marathon enthusiasts!


As you can imagine, the world of marathon running and sports science is continually evolving and approaches change. We will keep the course content updated with the best, relevant advice - and you'll always have access to the latest material.

Take a Peek Inside The Course Content . . .

Course Curriculum

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  Setting Your Marathon Goals
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  Researching Your Race
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  Injuries, Illnesses, and Setbacks
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  Post Marathon
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  Final Thoughts - Recap
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  BONUS LESSON: Breaking The 4-Hr Marathon
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" I prepared to the best of my ability, following the training plan and using the Marathon Handbook diet and gear guides.

My race was quite an experience . . . it was already pretty hot, and the weather became very humid.

I started with my heart pounding very heavily, gradually it slowed down. Up to half-way was ok, but after that my head started burning, feeling hot, legs started going . . . but then I reminded myself ok come on . . . you can do it!

hahahaahha! hurray yessss I did it, I made it, I made it... I could not express my feeling, how happy I was, I couldn't believe myself!

After this I'm still surprised I can call myself a marathon runner!"

- Ratna Gomes, India

Marathon Handbook Student

Get started now!

Your Instructor

Thomas Watson
Thomas Watson

Hey there!

I'm Thomas Watson - ultra-runner, UESCA-certified coach, and the founder of

After completing my first marathon in 2012, I swore never to run another. Despite that, I've now gone on to complete dozens of marathons as well as bagging podium places in several ultra-marathons and multi-day stage races.

I now help thousands of runners achieve their goals through!


Feel free to ping me in the chatbox!

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm new to distance running . . . is this course for me?
Absolutely. The course starts from scratch and lays out the Marathon Training Principles step-by-step. Our aim is to gradually impart the fundamentals you need to know, so you know WHY you're doing what you're doing in training. Many of our training plans are designed for those with little or no running background. We also guide you through how to assess your current running ability, and how to set marathon goals which are achievable!
I've run marathons before, but would like to improve my performance - can this course help me!
Sure! The course is structured around guiding you through building and following a training regime which matches your goals. Some experienced runners find that the structure and insight the course gives them makes them much better prepared, disciplined, and informed, leading to better marathon results. We show you exactly how to train smart, so every work-out and training run has a specific influence on your training. We describe in detail elements such as speed work and resistance training, and how to incorporate them into your training in order to improve your marathon performance.
Does the course include a personalised Marathon Training Plan?
When you enrol, you get direct access to our Training Plan Database, as well as detailed instructions on how to pick the best training plan for your goals. These training plans have been developed to suit the needs of runners, by a UESCA-certified coach. We then show you how to modify your plan, if required, to suit your personal goals and schedule.
Who has developed the course - and what qualifications do they have?
Hi! I'm Thomas Watson, and I've developed (almost) all the course content. As well as being a marathon and ultra-marathon runner myself, I'm a UESCA-qualified running coach. Since 2015, I've helped other runners achieve their distance running goals. The marathon training plans and strategies in this course are a reflection of the years of coaching, studying, and running I've completed. I've read every book and article I could find on running marathons, and have distilled the best of them into this course. I've also refined my approach to marathon training by speaking to and helps hundreds of marathon runners prepare for their run over the years. I'm constantly reviewing the best practices and coaching strategies in the wider running world, and I keep updating my courses to reflect these.
Do you offer refunds for the course?
We're super proud of the content of this course. However, if you feel this course isn't up to scratch, and it didn't help you achieve your marathon goals, write to us - all we ask for an explanation of why the course didn't meet your expectations, and some evidence that you've been in marathon training (Strava posts, photos, etc.). This is both to ensure you give your marathon effort the best, and protect our digital content. Thanks!
How long does the course take to go through?
The material in the course is designed to last throughout your marathon training journey - it contains over 6 hrs of video content and many other documents and reading material. It's recommended that you review all the course material as early as possible on your marathon training journey, then dip in and out to review individual topics as you need to refer back to them.
How can an online course replace getting a real running coach?
While hiring a personal coach is an awesome way to prepare for a marathon, we recognise that this approach doesn't suit everyone. They can be expensive, or inflexible with their time, or not share extra material - or not have specific marathon experience. Our course is designed to accompany you throughout your marathon training by working with you. I explain the fundamentals of marathon training (including some important points which general running coaches may not be familiar with), then provide you with a wealth of information and videos that you can check out at any time, wherever you are. You also gain access to our awesome community of runners! Join many other marathon runners-in-training, ask questions, share your stories and runs, and have fun!
What kind of support is available?
You have complete access to the Marathon Handbook team, plus our huge, awesome community of fellow marathon runners-in-training! Upon registering, you'll recieve details on how to access the Facebook Group and Strava Running Club which form our community! Join the tribe and jump in with your questions!
What happens if I get injured or ill?
Our course guides you through the best way to respond to and recover from illnesses and injuries - we also explain how to adjust your training plan if needed after taking some time off to recuperate.
I only have X weeks / months before my marathon, can you help?
Our shortest marathon training plan is 12-weeks (3 months). If you have much less than that, then it is hard to build a structured plan which has the necessary build-up in mileage to get you through! As long as you have 12 weeks or more before your marathon, we show you how to select the right training plan and choose appropriate marathon goals!
Can I find this information for free online?
Not really! 90% of the information we find on marathon running is incredibly fragmented and incomplete. This is just the nature of distance running and how the internet works. Yes, you can start trying to hunt out this information on your own, but you will spend hundreds if not thousands of hours like I did looking in the wrong spots. This is 100% the course I wish we had when I started out. It would have saved me so much time and effort, it's painful to think about!
Is there a time limit to complete the course? How long do I have access?
There is no time limit to going through the content in this course. It's a completely go-at-your-own-pace thing! Your access to the course doesn't expire - so if you choose to run more marathons in the future, you can always come back to it. This is why you get lifetime access to this content, including videos, worksheets, and any future updates to the course!
What format is the content delivered in?
The course features 6+ hrs of video content, a downloadable Training Plan (Google Sheets / Excel / PDF) and many more PDF resources. I've found that video lessons are the most effective way of sharing practical lessons on running - backed up by resources like checklists, training plans, and guides!
Is my credit card secure?
Credit card security is extremely important to us. That's why we've partnered with Stripe to handle the billing and provide a secure socket layer, 128-bit encryption. Frankly, your credit card data is safer making an online purchase through our secure site than it is using it to pay for gas or buy food at a restaurant. So feel comfortable knowing your transaction is 100% completely protected from fraud. We also offer PayPal as a payment method as well!

"Hi Thomas,

I'm Scottish but live in Thailand and completed the marathon in Phuket, Thailand which is generally very hot and hilly. I was following an "under 4 hr programme".

I would like to thank you for your help and support through this experience and I will use the schedule again if I choose to do another marathon.

It was my first marathon so I got a PB and I am delighted that I finished.

Thank you!"

- Lucy Livingstone, Marathon Handbook Student

Get started now!