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'26.2' - The Marathon Training Website: 

Important Training Strategies To Improve Your Marathon Performance

Are you running a marathon this season? Download our free "Marathon Race Strategies" report and improve your performance!



Training for a marathon is a major undertaking that requires time and motivation as well as a certain level of fitness. Lots of people go through all the weeks of training and complete the 26.2 mile event but then after running the race they want to improve their performance.

How to do this is the big question and there are many articles written on this topic. What we want to look at here though is what is the single most important thing you can do that will help you to run a better race. Here are some of the main areas that you need to look at if you want to run a better race next time out..



You need to be really motivated (and dedicated) to take on the challenge of the marathon. And itís not just the race itself Ė itís the long weeks of training in all kinds of weather. In many sports itís not the fittest or the best who necessarily comes first, itís often the person with the most will power. So is this the most important item?

Increase Your Training Miles 

Many people believe that increasing their training mileage will improve their marathon performance. Certainly when we look at people like world record holder Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya who used to run 10K to school every day for a total of 60 miles per week, then this appears to work. Many elite athletes would be training well over 100 miles per week. The downside is Ė will your body stand up to the strain?

Increase Your Training Intensity 

Another popular belief is to simply train harder, usually by running at a faster pace and including hills on your training runs. Thereís no doubt this will make you stronger, but like the previous point Ė your risk of injury is greatly increased.




 Follow A Strict Diet

 Consuming plenty of carbohydrates is a requirement for endurance sports like the marathon. So people who are training rely on this as one of their staple dietary sources by eating lots of pasta, whole grain bread etc. However itís also necessary to make sure you are getting sufficient protein as well. In the past many marathoners though have been successful without paying to much attention to their diet.


 Take Energy Drinks 

Lots of people rely on drinks like FRS or GU energy gels to help provide the energy they need to complete the race. Will it help to consume more of these as you are running? Although these can definitely help at some point your body is going to run out of easily available energy from stored carbohydrate sources and starts to burn fat (and muscle tissue) for the energy needed.

The only way to see if the energy supplements help is to try it out during your long training runs over 15 miles.


 And The Winner isÖ?

 If you haven't already done so take the brief poll below and find out what other marathon runners think, and then read my thoughts on this below.

web surveys

So which did you select?

In my opinion all of the above training strategies can help you to improve your marathon performance. However the one that will pay the most benefit is to ncrease the intensity of your training. Now this doesn't imply going flat out on every training run, especially the long run which should be an easy pace. It does mean though that you can increase your effort on some of your runs (remember the hard day / easy day principle) by doing the following:

  • Tempo runs where your pace varies from slow to fast.

  • Runs at a fast pace at or near your anaerobic threshold

  • Hill work

You will see an improvement in your strength as well as a better marathon result as long as you are following a good all-round training program.


Check out the 100 day marathon program as a good example.



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