Marathoners say that the race is divided into two parts: the first twenty miles, and the last six. Those wondering how best to approach training for my marathon should consider that they need to optimize their endurance above all else, eliminating as much drag on their bodies while boosting their heart’s ability to do work over the span of several hours. While there is nothing wrong with stopping for a breather in a marathon, doing the entire race from start to finish is one of the greatest accomplishments one can achieve.
Keep Yourself Moving
Running over a short distance is easy, but as soon as you get to the point where your body is uncomfortable, you begin to drag down. Your legs turn from windmills into slow plodding clumps, your arms fall, and your head slumps. Keeping yourself up and moving is the most important way to minimize the energy loss. Keeping your head up, without turning from side to side or behind you, reduces the energy you put out. Pumping your arms with as much range of motion as your legs lets your body run faster and farther. Picking up both legs as you run, finally, allows you to preserve momentum.
Go High, Go Low
Training to run twenty-six miles is not about running twenty-six miles every day. Instead, you want to train your endurance like an accordion: contracting outward and inward in ever-increasing figures. On a training week, you may only run ten miles the first day, then twelve, then fifteen, then twenty, and then back down. Come race day, your marathon will be a new high, just like any other training day. This reduces the tear on your body and ensures that you are not approaching the starting line with blisters and pulled muscles that would affect performance.