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Marathon Training Tips

Training Tips

  1. Set a definite goal, e.g. run the next London Marathon
  2. Set realistic goals - if you can run a steady 9-minute mile pace (4-hour marathon) then set a goal of running a steady 8.5-minute mile pace
  3. Plan the training to achieve your goals set in 1 and 2 but do not become a slave to your plan, adjust it to meet your ongoing circumstances
  4. Plan strength and core stability training into your program
  5. Once you can run 20 miles a week comfortably, then allow at least six months of training for your marathon
  6. Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% and build up to 100 miles a week
  7. Warm-up and cool-down routines are essential elements of every training session along with recovery
  8. Aim for quality, not quantity - If you aim to run at an 8.5-minute mile pace then you need to include sessions at that pace each week
  9. Each week consider three sessions at target race pace, two long slow sessions and two days of recovery
  10. Gradually increase (10% increments) your long slow run at the weekend up to 20 miles
  11. Learn to breathe correctly by using the left foot strike to commence your breathing in and out and remember to breathe deeply, not shallow breathing
  12. Learn to run relaxed and smooth with your pace controlled by your breathing rhythm
  13. Monitor your weight and fluid intake - weight loss may be due to fluid loss
  14. Make sure you have good comfortable shoes - change them every 300-400 miles or when the heel is badly worn
  15. Keep a daily log - record details of training (mileage, time, how you felt, weather conditions, etc.), sleep, diet, weight, morning resting pulse rate, etc.
  16. Monitor your morning resting pulse rate to check for signs of overtraining
  17. Have a well-balanced diet
  18. Gain competition experience - plan races (5k, 10k, half marathon, 15 miles) into your training program
  19. Plan for a two-week taper in your training leading up to the marathon, e.g. reduce training load by 60% and plan one-week tapers for your competition experience races
  20. For your training sessions, consider running for a set time rather than a set distance. If you aim to run an 8.5 min/mile pace then for a 10-mile course run for 85 minutes, wherever you like but remember your route, and then retrace your steps. It will reduce the boredom of the same route/scenery and the problems of measuring distances.
  21. Try to train as much as possible on soft surfaces, e.g. countryside and parks
  22. Consider having a full body massage every 4 or 5 weeks
  23. Consider the use of sports drinks to replenish carbohydrate stores and replace fluid loss when training and for races

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2008) Marathon Training Tips [WWW] Available from: [Accessed