Ace your marathon run

Here are some basics of marathon running that will apply to you—whether you’re a first timer or a veteran

Practice race pace

To nail your perfect marathon timing [even if you’re a newbie], you need to practise race pace. Getting used to that pace will help you keep those pre-race niggles at bay while boosting your confidence and fitness level for the event. Running your best marathon ever, requires setting challenging but realistic goals while aiming for incremental progress. Race pace practice; which is a little lower than your lactate threshold pace, can put you on the fast track toward achieving your marathon goals.

Here is how to do it:

  1. During the first two weeks: begin with 3 – 4 miles at goal pace.
  2. From week three to week six, shoot for 5 – 6 miles at goal pace.
  3. Weeks seven to nine, aim for seven miles goal pace.
  4. From weeks 10 – 13, strive for an eight mile at goal pace.
  5. Cut down on mileage and intensity the two weeks before the event.

Proper recovery

The key to long term consistency and improvement is recovery. The right formula for marathon success is simple and straightforward: You run, you recover, then you run for some more. Though most marathon enthusiasts get the training ends right, recovery gets brushed by the sides. This only leads to mediocre performance and increases the risks of injury and overtraining.

Do the following to guarantee maximum recovery

  • Finish every run with the proper cool-down by gradually reducing your run into an effortless jog for 5 minutes. Stretch gently afterwards.
  • Immediately replenish your energy tanks following a run. Aim for a combination of carbohydrates and protein as research shows that taking both yields best recovery results.
  • Get ample sleep at night. Aim for at least eight hours of high quality and uninterrupted sleep.
  • Space out your training days with a recovery day. During the break day, you could choose to cross train, do an easy run, or just sink into the sofa.
  • Plan recovery weeks into your training program by reducing intensity and mileage every third or fourth week of hard training.

Keep track

You cannot improve on what you can’t measure. This holds true whether you’re the CEO of a fortune 500 company or just trying to finish up a marathon. Keeping a detailed training journal cuts both ways. For instance, when you start seeing even the smallest progress, your confidence soars as a result. On the other hand, if your performance has reached a plateau, you might be overdoing the exercise, risking injury.

Here is what you need to keep track of

  • Total distance/time:  Keep tabs on your long runs mileage and the total time you’ve spent on your feet.
  • Hours slept: Good sleep is the key for recovery and good performance. Being sleep deprived will spell disaster on your fitness resolve.
  • Waking pulse: An elevated resting heart rate is usually an early sign of over-training.
  • Feelings: Sickness, chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, and mood swings, are all signs that you may be doing too much too soon.
  • Work out timing: Find out the best timing for doing your work outs. Most prefer opting for the early morning approach, but no suit fits all.

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David Dack
David Dack is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness. His mission is to help people discover or rediscover happiness in their physical and mental performance while enjoying growth and better health and achieving their life objectives. For a limited time you can download his eBook Weight Loss By Running for free from his website


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