For many runners, running a faster marathon is a major goal. Achieving it may be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With some simple considerations to your training, scheduling and recovery, you’ll be set up to have your fastest marathon yet.
INCLUDE TWO LONG(ISH) RUNS IN YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE.
Long runs are any run longer than two hours or 16 miles, whichever comes first. They build endurance and grit, both of which are necessary to run a faster marathon. Add some quality running in the middle of one of these longer efforts if you want to practice running harder on tired legs.
CONSIDER LOSING OR REDUCING TRUE “SPEED WORK.”
The bread and butter of marathon training are the long runs and running miles at planned marathon pace. Speedwork in marathon training involves a cost-benefit analysis. If you run too fast in training, there is a low positive effect on your marathon training compared to the likelihood of injury. Be judicious when adding it. Instead of speed work, add strides to your easy runs. Strides are short bouts of running at one mile to 3k race pace and help with running economy and form.
INCREASE YOUR MILEAGE (GRADUALLY).
Elite athletes run lots of miles because racing performance improves with increased mileage. To avoid injury, make sure your build-up is gradual. Pay close attention to how you feel and take extra recovery days if you need to. Increasing your mileage is one way to increase aerobic capacity, but not everyone can handle a bigger training load without succumbing to injury, burnout, etc.