When it comes to running, perhaps you are a semi-professional or professional athlete who loves training for competitive races. From short 5K runs to full-out marathons, you enjoy all sorts of races, along with that adrenaline rush that leaves you breathless and accomplished at the end of the day.
That said, you might be interested in running a faster marathon, even after training for so long to do so. Having a goal of finishing under a certain set of hours is what you are here for, and so you are doing all that you can to get to that level. After trying several options, you still may not be so sure just what you need to do in order to improve.
With that, we are here to help! Read on to learn more about how to run a faster marathon, as well as receive a useful tutorial from us to get you started. Soon enough, you will be running like a professional for your next big race.
Let’s get started!
Before you get started training and racing your best, here are some things to consider for doing so. While some of these items seem practical or standard for just about any run that you do, for exercise or for races, there are others which are not as expected, but all the same make a difference in what you do. Here are the things to consider for this step-by-step tutorial:
As a no-brainer, running shoes are essential for just about any run out there, whether merely for practice or for competitions. We have some good pairs to get you started with our article on buying the best running shoes.
Especially if your goal is to run faster at the marathon, then wearing a watch that doubles as a stopwatch will be greatly beneficial to you. It can be a simple one that merely records the amount of time lapse, or it can have multiple functions such as recording splits, heart rate, and so forth.
While your usual shorts and T-shirt getup works, investing in some higher-quality, more-durable running apparel might help you in terms of keeping cool, feeling more comfortable, and otherwise avoiding thigh burn over long runs. Certain material (e.g. mesh, polyester) will be better for you to wear, so give it a shot!
Since you will be running for a long, intense period (i.e. a couple of hours), having a water bottle to fall back on for staying hydrated is essential, so that you do not cramp up in the middle of the 26.2-mile race. For some good bottle options, here are a few in our article on water bottles. ( click here ).
Although it sounds vague, this point refers to getting a solid, balanced meal that fuels your appetite to prepare you well for the run. Besides loading up on protein and carbohydrates, e.g. chicken and pasta, consider taking supplements for those extra-long races; we have you covered with some choices in this article.
Also known as “MP,” a marathon pace refers to the speed at which you run a marathon. Even if you are planning to get a good time on it, running at your maximum speed for 26.2 miles is not going to happen.
That said, training yourself to go slower, but consistently is the way to go; you can even recruit your running buddies to help out, and together, you can achieve it!
Besides running long miles, spicing it up with short, high-intensity bursts, e.g. fartleks, can condition you even further, so that you do not fall into a rut of running the same pace and not improving.
For instance, you can do timed sets of 30-second sprints, followed by a minute of recovery before resuming it. Doing core intervals in which you incorporate sit-ups and pushups between sprints help, too.
Just like having a daily journal, having a running diary can be very useful for keeping track of what you do each day, as well as keeping you up-to-date on what you will do next in the following weeks. Some days, you might do slow, long-distance runs while other days you will perform interval training.
Besides just running, you might also use the running log to create workouts for strengthening and stretching, including weight-lifting, stretching, and even other sports such as basketball, walking, or hiking. The possibilities are endless, and it can really help you to set a pattern for how you will accomplish your marathon.
It comes as no surprise that eating healthy means a better body. That said, it is important to limit your intake of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, and instead replace them with fresh produce such as colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Keeping them balanced for each meal is essential as well.
Particularly, stocking up on whole grains such as pasta and rice, along with lean meat found in chicken and turkey, are especially good dishes to consume before race day, since they provide a longer-lasting fuel to keep you going for a long time. Worth a try!
For some nutrient ideas, here is a video for you:
If you can help it, go over to the race course before the actual competition and get a feel for what to expect: will it be mostly on concrete? Hilly or flat? It really depends, and so having a sense of what is to come will help you envision better how you can perform to your maximum potential once it is time to go.
Training for a marathon can be a long, daunting process, which requires a lot of patience and dedication in order to succeed. However, once you put your mind to it, there should be no reason why you will not become a great, marathon runner in the next race. Good luck, and happy running!