Improving Marathon Performance
When you've progressed to the point where you not only want to
finish the marathon but have a time goal, some different elements
are added to your training program. To improve endurance, you increase
the long run to a final run a few weeks before the race of 28-30
miles. For speed, you run repeat miles, 20-30 seconds faster than
race pace, to get used to the hard sustained effort of the marathon.
Starting with five one-milers (walking a few hundred yards between
each), you increase by 1-2 miles each session until you run 13 one-milers
in your last speed workout two weeks before the race.
These workouts are strenuous and should be performed on alternate
weeks. This gives you six days of easy running between each of the
It is the long run that develops endurance and the repeat miles
that develop speed, so run slowly on the long ones. Your goal on
the other days is to recover from the stress days. Social runs,
easy runs, scenic routes can be planned for these in-between sessions.
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