The marathon has a certain allure to runners. Whether you want to finish, run a personal best time, or earn a qualifying time for another marathon, the stakes of the marathon always feel higher than shorter distances. And for a good reason – the marathon itself (and marathon training) offers a complex challenge of endurance, countering fatigue, mental toughness, and strategy.
In the seven years of writing this website, I have published dozens of articles on all things marathon training. So whether you are a beginner or a sub-3 hopeful, here is your ultimate marathon training guide from a certified running coach and exercise scientist in training.
Your Common Marathon Training Questions, Answered: Yes, marathon training includes rest days!
How Far Should You Run Before a Marathon?: This is the biggest question I get as a running coach – and the answer is, it depends. This article delves into exactly what it depends on!
Four Effective Marathon Workouts: These are certainly not the only marathon workouts, but they are some fun workouts that will target the specific systems used in the marathon!
Marathon Specific Workouts: Specificity is key for successful training, particularly in the final 8-10 weeks before a race (you never want to get too specific too far out, lest you sacrifice vital aspects of fitness.) What does specific marathon training look like? Lots and lots of threshold and marathon pace running.
How to Feel Good on Your Long Runs: Yes, long runs are primarily about building endurance and improve aerobic metabolism. However, you also want most of your long runs to feel good so that you create a positive feedback cycle that builds confidence for race day. (All runners will inevitably have at least one long run per training cycle that feels like crap, but most long runs should feel at least okay.)
How Many Miles Per Week Should You Run in Marathon Training? One answer: never any more than you can safely sustain!
How to Safely Increase Weekly Running Mileage: Weekly volume will increase in marathon training, whether you are a beginner or advance. With any increase in mileage comes an increased risk of injury – but you can mitigate that risk!
How to Consistently Maintain High Mileage: Sometimes, the hardest part is not increasing mileage; it is the weeks of high mileage (relative to you) that make marathon training challenging. But it does not have to be a struggle or make you feel burnt out before race day!
How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon: A big goal for many runners is earning a qualifying spot to the Boston Marathon. Earning a BQ is hard work – but for many, it is feasible with smart training.
Marathon Pace Chart : This handy chart helps you understand what paces correspond with marathon finish times!
Should You Run More Than Three Hours in Training: You may see rules on social media stating to cap your long run at three hours. However, that rule is not fully rooted in the most recent evidence, nor is it applicable for every runner. This article explores all of the nuances!
How to Pick the Best Marathon Shoe for You: Carbon shoes won’t replace smart training, but a good shoe can make a difference on race day!
Supplemental Training & Nutrition
Top Nutrition Tips for Marathoners: Marathon training places high energy demands on the body, both in training and racing. These nutrition tips will help you meet those demands!
Why You Should Strength Train During Marathon Training: Yes, lifting takes up extra time in an already busy training schedule. But in return, you gain an improved running economy – which is a huge marker of performance in the marathon.
How to Manage Marathon Training Hunger: You will be hungrier during marathon training! Energy deficiency increases the risk of injury and overtraining, so here’s how you want to handle your extra appetite.
Tapering, Racing, and Recovery
How to Taper for a Marathon: Want a 2% performance boost? (Hopefully the answer is yes!) Then you want to taper – and here’s how to master it without feeling flat.
Should You Carb Load?: Carb loading does not mean binging on pasta before a race. Instead, you want to mindfully eat more carbs spread evenly throughout the two to three days before (and while you’re at it, avoid too much fiber!).
How to Pace Your Fastest Marathon: Pacing strategy is key for the marathon, as it prevents glycogen depletion (when coupled with fueling) and delays muscle breakdown. However, it’s a difficult thing for most runners to master, but it is possible to finish strong! (Hint: it involves NOT banking time.)
How to Avoid Hitting the Wall on Race Day: Slowing down in the final miles is not inevitable! This article explores nutrition and pacing approaches to avoid bonking on race day.
What Happens to Your Body After a Marathon: This breakdown of the systemic and cellular level effects of a marathon helps clarify why you feel how you do after a race – and why you need recovery.
How to Recover From a Marathon: The race may be done when you cross the finish line, but training is not. Recovery is the final key step in marathon training! (And if you are feeling a bit down after the race, here’s how to cope with the post marathon blues.)