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How to tackle the marathon

A huge amount of marathon training takes place long before race day, but as the day gets closer there are a few things that a beginner and intermediate marathon runner can do with their existing training which will certainly help them come race day. These are small changes you can make to a training program that you have which will help make big differences.


Build in micro intervals into some of your casual runs:

No doubt you’ll have some mileage which is basically just running. Micro intervals are really great because, basically, they are over before you know it. 20 seconds of added speed and then slowing down for the next 20 secs and repeating for a few minutes is a great way to build in some extra anaerobic and strength to your program. Micro intervals can be anything from about 20-45 secs, and have the same rest to work ratio.


Finish your long run with a fast mile:

Long runs are hard. Especially now you’re nearing the start line of the London Marathon. Rather than just making the goal for your long runs to be achieve the milage, start thinking about putting a little extra effort into that last mile of the long run. If nothing else it will give you the confidence of finishing strong.


Explosive concentric contractions with your strength work:

Strength work is important, whether you’re a beginner or a pro runner. One small change you can make is by making the concentric contractions explosive. This doesn’t mean jumping if you’re doing a squat, and we’re not talking about plyometrics. If we use the squat as an example, make the exercise slow and controlled on the way down and fast on the way up.


Try to maximise your rest before speed days:

On the face of it training programs are simple and they explain what to do each day. However if you have a speed work session on a Tuesday, try to make sure you do your run on the Monday in the morning and then the speed on the Tuesday in the evening. This way you’re giving yourself maximum recovery time and over 24hrs between runs. It really will help with recovery and getting the most out of fast days.


Do a two-a-day:

Breaking up your long run miles isn’t a good idea, but breaking up some of your steady runs into a two a day will help you add on an extra mile or two. Split your steady day up into a morning and evening run. Turn a 6 mile steady effort into a 3 & then a 4 mile run

Written By

Max Willcocks

Max is a Science in Sport ambassador and avid long distance runner.