The 5 Must-Do Things In Your Marathon Training

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Training for a running event can be very individual. A runner has to get to know its body over years of training in order to know what works and what doesn’t. When training for tough races and awesome endurance feats like running a marathon there are a few must-do things you should incorporate in your training routine. Check out these five things I recommend you to do in your marathon training.

The Long Run

This is probably the most important workout session in your training week. In the 12 weeks before the big race day you should do at least five runs of 3 to 3.5 hours. In this long run you build the base endurance abilities and physical as well as mental toughness to finish the 26.2 miles.

Run your weekly long run at an easy pace with a heart rate of about 70-75% of your maximum. Increase the distance of the long run each week by about 2-3 miles up to a maximum distance of 20 to 22 miles.

For more information about the long run, check out this post:

The Long Run and How to Do it Right

Speed Work

Next to the long run an intense workout should be in each of your training weeks. By running faster in some training sessions you can increase your race pace for your big event. Try to do one intense training session each week and make sure to have some days in between your long run and your speed workout.

There are some different workouts to get your heart rate up like Fartlek runs, interval training or hill workouts. The goal of all these workouts is the same: Get your heart rate up to 90% percent of your maximum heart rate.

Speed workouts are important but your main focus in the marathon training should be to build endurance. Getting faster shouldn’t be your top priority.

Read this post to learn all about getting faster as a runner:

4 Tried And Tested Workouts to Become A Faster Runner

Core Training

Obviously running is the main part in your marathon training. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you do. In order to maintain an upright running posture in the hours of your marathon race, you should do some strength training for your core.

Try to add two strength training sessions in your training week and focus not only on leg muscles (quads, calves, hamstrings) but also your abs, hips and glutes to get a strong core.

Recovery Weeks

This might sound a bit odd for many motivated runner. Why build in a recovery week once a month when you could increase your training every week? Well the answer is simple. Your body adapts to the training stimulus during recovery. And to be able to increase training volume you should give your body time to recuperate and get ready for the next couple of heavy training weeks.

If you don’t set a focus on recovery you risk overtraining and even injuries that can be a huge setback in your marathon training.


Stretching is a bit a controversial topic as some say it isn’t that important after all. In my opinion though, stretching should be an important part of your preparation for a marathon. This is mainly to stretch the muscles that get shortened by the training. This is important to avoid muscular disbalances and with that prevent common running injuries.

Also in my experience stretching your leg, hip and core muscles is very relaxing after a tough workout. I usually stretch at least after my long runs and my speed workouts but normally try to do three stretching sessions of about 20 minutes each week.

What are your pillars during marathon training? Write a comment and let us know!

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