How to Run a Faster Marathon: A Case Study

Running a faster marathon is a daunting challenge. The fitness needed to run 26.2 miles faster than ever takes time, patience, and strategy to develop.

Jason Philly Marathon

I might’ve run 2:39:32, but I didn’t look great in the last mile…

You’re about to listen to a behind-the-scenes coaching call where I’m helping a regular runner improve his marathon time.

Justin ran his first marathon last year in 3:53 after a few years of consistent running. But he’s recently taken the last 6 months off from running for a move and a new PhD program.

His goal is to run a much faster marathon this fall. Without much race history and a relatively low training age, we’re left with many questions:

  • How will he do it?
  • What aspects of his training demand improvement?
  • What elements of training from his last cycle should remain the same?
  • Should he start training for a fall marathon now?
  • How can he take “the next step” with his running but also stay healthy?

The marathon is a uniquely difficult event so our preparation must be methodical. It’s the longest distance that’s not considered an ultra marathon. And while many ultras are on trails, most marathons are on the roads, providing far more stress and impact than a trail race.

Moreover, the human body is only capable of storing enough carbohydrates for about 20 miles of hard exercise. Hitting the wall – or the infamous marathon bonk – is because runners don’t have enough carbs to fuel their high-intensity running.

Clearly, we need to take the marathon seriously.

And Justin is ready to do just that.

How to Run a Faster Marathon: Resources

I also want to provide even more resources to help you run a faster marathon. From podcast episodes, text articles, and videos, we’ve created an enormous library of coaching material for you.

First, let’s make sure you’re even ready to run a marathon:

Next, get clear on marathon training fundamentals:

There are also a lot more video presentations on our YouTube channel.

If you’re into podcasts, we have many episodes dealing directly with the marathon as well.

Episode 74: A Coaching Call with a First-Time Marathoner:

Episode 54 is for more advanced runners hoping to break 3 hours:

Finally, let’s see how the professionals train for marathons. This is an interview with elite marathoner Nick Arciniaga.

You can find even more episodes in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Listen to this Marathon Coaching Call

Justin Marathon Running

Justin, excited about his prospects for running a faster marathon!

It’s time to listen over my shoulder as I coach Justin toward a faster marathon. In this episode, we’re going to learn:

  • His background and how long he’s been running
  • What his training was like for his first marathon
  • His history with injuries and other race distances
  • The strategy from March – October for a faster marathon
  • What he should right now (note: it’s not start training for his fall marathon)
  • The concrete training upgrades he ought to make for a faster race

Justin is a regular runner just like all of us. He’s a 25-year old PhD student living in Philadelphia who started taking running more seriously after he fell in love with his progress.

And now, he’s starting to think about qualifying for Boston and potentially running a sub-3 marathon.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

If you’re interested in coming on the podcast to discuss your running, I often invite runners from social media. Follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss the next announcement.

Thank You SteadyMD

I also want to thank SteadyMD for sponsoring this episode. SteadyMD pairs you with a primary care doctor, online who’s available via phone, text, or video for all of your needs.

And not just any doctor, but a fellow runner who understands the training process, your recovery needs, repetitive stress injuries, and can easily order you blood work, referrals for specialists, and more.

Visit SteadymD to learn more about this innovative medical service for endurance runners and reserve your spot.

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  1. […] That’s why I love featuring coaching calls on the Strength Running Podcast – like this one about running a faster marathon. […]