Hdr-how to run the marathon

How To Run The Marathon (Successfully!)


The purpose of this page is to help runners succeed at the marathon distance. I have summarized some key marathon training and racing guidelines to help you conquer the 26.2 miles.

I've also included some Free  Resources here.


Many runners want to take on the challenge of a marathon, but often have difficulty completing the distance. Even people who have already run several marathons previously can still have problems.

Why is this?

There are many reasons but here are some of the most common:

  • Inadequate training

  • Over-training too close to the actual race

  • Suffering an injury during training

  • Not feeling 100% fit on race day

  • Starting out too fast

  • Improper nutrition

  • Not adjusting the pace to weather and course conditions

The 5 training strategies below will help you avoid the above problems...


Key Marathon Training Principles:

1. Find The Right Training Schedule.

This is definitely the most important factor in your marathon training. You will need more than a simple mileage chart if you want to run a marathon successfully. Your training program should be detailed and should follow these basic principles:

  • Hard Day / Easy Day -Your schedule should follow the hard day/easy day approach on alternate days and weeks.

  • Training Goals - Your schedule should have three phases - build-up, peak training and tapering, along with gradual changes in the total weekly running goal.

  • Avoid High Mileage Programs - Your training program should not take you to too high a weekly mileage 45 � 65 miles is the highest weekly mileage an average runner will need.

  • Long Runs - The training program should have a gradual build up in your weekly long run distance. Avoid long runs over 20 miles.

  • 20 Mile Training Runs - You should also avoid following programs that have too many 20-mile runs. Two should be enough for the beginner to intermediate categories.



►► Top Tip:

Make sure the training program you want use matches your current running abilities and experience! Here is a rough guide:

Training Category

Target finish times

Marathons Completed


3h 30m and over

0 to 4


3h 10m to 4h 10m

4 or more


2h 30m or over

6 or more


Note: - These are only guidelines, and there is overlap between the categories. Many other factors will influence your ability to meet a marathon time goal, including your age, gender and your race times for shorter distances like 10K.


Train Better, Run Faster...

The 100 Day Marathon Training Program*

       by Dr. Marius Bakken, Olympic Runner

 I've found a faster, safer, and far easier way to train using my world-class training methods. It has helped thousands of motivated marathoners like you drastically slash their personal best times, decrease their training injuries, and eliminate burnout.

Find Out How Here!

*Individual results may vary

2. Follow The Schedule!

The hard part of marathon training is simply getting out and doing the training runs by yourself on a regular basis. If you can find a running buddy, or join the local running club, this will increase your commitment to following the marathon program. The long runs will go by much easier if you have someone to run with.

This is especially true for beginner marathon runners.

The typical marathon training schedule will be 15 or more weeks long. Anything can happen during this time, and it's very easy to fall behind schedule. Here are some things you can do:

  • If you are behind schedule, increase your training mileage gradually - don't try to make up for a lost week all in one go

  • Start your training program earlier. If you fall behind use the extra time to catch up. If you don't need the extra time, then repeat a week's training in the schedule.

  • Peak correctly! The whole idea of following a proper training program is to achieve your maximum performance level on race day. It's really important to stick to the tapering part of the training, and not do extra miles for "insurance". You will do more harm than good!

►► Top Tip:

Include one or two extra weeks in your training - this is your 'insurance' time if you get injured or fall behind for any reason.

3. Track Your Progress!

No training plan can succeed if you don't monitor the progress you are making towards meeting the goals. This is the only way to know if you are keeping on track!

You should keep a log of your daily runs to compare to the schedule you are following. Record any problems and aches you felt on your runs. By reacting quickly you may be able to prevent an injury. You can record lots of details about your runs that you may forget otherwise.

►► Top Tip:

The two most important things to track against the schedule are

  1. The weekly mileage - don't vary this by more than 10% from the planned mileage

  2. The type of run - if your schedule calls for a tempo run, make sure you do it!

►►Best Runner's Logbook:

There are quite a few online logs available, and some mobile apps for your tablet or phone. Personally I prefer the paper log books. I've been keeping a log for years, and I've got quite a collection - it's fun to browse back and see how you were running 10 years ago!

Check out the Personalized Running Logs here. Marathoners can also get a customized day-by-day training schedule printed right into their log.




4. Nutrition

Most marathon runners know they need to consume lots of carbohydrates to help fuel the long training runs. What they don't always realize is that the overall quality of their nutritional intake is just as important as the quantity!

You need protein just as much as you need carbs. Recent studies have shown that eating additional protein on your harder workout day will help you recover even faster. The extra protein reduces muscle damage during hard exercise. Eating carbohydrates along with protein helps you to recover even faster. Eating within an hour after exercise is best...

Don't forget the fruit and vegetables - they are full of vitamins and nutrients and are a great nutritional source  that will contribute to your well-being. If you increase your intake of these foods you'll see many benefits including more energy and vitality.


►► Top Tip:

Use our calculator to see how much carbs, fat and protein you should be eating to maintain your exercise level.



Select Your activity level:






  Your Daily Nutrition Requirements

              grams          ounces       Calories  

Protein               %

Carbs                 %

Fat                      %

                 Total Calories    

  • These figures are an approximate guide only - everyone's activity level and metabolism is different.

  • As a guideline, an 8 oz steak contains approximately 65 grams of protein and 30 grams of fat. A medium size potato provides about 35 grams of carbohydrate.

  • If you consume this amount of calories each day you should maintain your weight. If you are losing weight you should probably increase your food intake.

5. Stay Healthy

Just because you're a marathon runner doesn't mean you can't get sick! In fact as a long-distance runner your immune system is comprised, making you susceptible to several ailments from a simple cold to more serious infections. The last thing you need is to miss the marathon  event after all your hard training.

So you need to eat the right foods, de-stress and keep a positive mental outlook. These will all help counter the negative effects caused by your marathon training.

Take The Wellness Test!

I have written a book on how to stay healthy (whether you're a runner or not). It contains a comprehensive Wellness Test so you can see how well you measure up on the health and fitness scale.

You can download my book as an eBook from Amazon. A printed paperback version is also available.

Learn more here:

 Forty plus Thirty - The Road to a Healthy Lifestyle 


6. How To Run The Marathon

OK, you've followed the training schedule, stayed injury-free and you've been eating a healthy diet - you're all set to run a great race, right? Not necessarily - this is where most marathon runners fail; they've already decided they are going to set out at a certain pace, and then stick to it for the full 26.2 miles.

It doesn't work this way! If you want to run the marathon successfully, you have to have a plan in mind for the actual race.

  • Pick a realistic time goal, - based on your running abilities and previous race results. A good rule of thumb is 4 x your 10K time. Many first time runners should not be too focused on finishing in a certain time.

  • Colder weather  - run slower for a couple miles to get warmed up

  • Hot weather - be prepared to adjust your time goal by an extra 10 minutes or so, and start at a slower pace for a few miles until you body is acclimatized

  • Hilly course or windy weather - you'll have to adjust your time goal if this is the case. Few marathon records have been broken in difficult conditions! If you try to maintain your original goal pace you will probably run out of energy and the last 6 miles could be very painful.

The challenge of the marathon is the distance, and the likelihood that you'll run of energy and hit the wall before you finish. Just realizing this in advance will set you apart from most other runners.

Follow this plan for your race:

  • Start out slower than your planned race pace

  • Never try to speed up hills, slow and easy will get you to the top, and the same goes when running into strong headwinds

  • After 6 miles you should have an idea of your capabilities for the full run. You should now be running at your intended pace.

  • Maintain this pace through the half way point. Mile 16 or 17 is where you can assess your energy level - if you are able to maintain your pace comfortably keep it up. Otherwise slow down now!

  • Miles 18 thru 20  - you will probably feel more uncomfortable as your glycogen reserves get used up, and your body switches to burning fat for energy. You can make it through this transition phase (remember those 20 mile training runs?)

  • Increase your pace? This is not as crazy as it sounds. If you've been careful up to now, you can try running a little faster.  Try and catch up to the person ahead of you and forget the miles left to go.

  • If you ran a successful race, don't be surprised to see that you actually ran the second half faster than the first!


►► Top Tip:

Start out slowly! Try running the first 3 miles at a pace which is about 30 seconds per mile slower than your intended marathon pace. This will pay off in the later stages of the race.

So that's it... Good luck in your next marathon! Of course there's a lot more to marathon training and racing than I've described here. However I've tried to cover the main training tips. The above book - "Marathon Training" is a good way to get started, and offers some good solid training advice.





A 2022 Fitness Jounal makes a great gift for the fitness enthusiasts you know!


More Resources:




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Marathon Race Strategies

by Mike Stapenhurst

Avoid the common mistakes made by many marathoners on race day. This informative  report shows you how to run the best marathon you can. Lots of practical 'how-to' info':

  • Pre-race week preparation

  • The Race Plan - what's your strategy?

  • Running The Race - what you should know

  • Things Not To Do...

Click Here To Get Your Free Copy



Watch this short video about personalized training logs:


Check out their running log page and learn how to get a customized marathon training schedule

Marathon Training Website.

This website has one of the best free marathon training programs on the web.



Marathon Training Schedules

These free training schedules offer a comprehensive day by day training program you can follow. This is a detailed marathon training website that covers 18 weeks and has three levels of training.

A daily running guide and informative weekly training tips will keep you on the right track to run a marathon.

Visit Marathon Training Schedules.org




About the Author

Mike Stapenhurst is an experienced runner who has completed over 25 marathons, including the Boston marathon and the New York marathon. He wrote this report based on his own experiences, and those of many marathon runners, who had done all the training, but still ended up having problems during the race.

Mike is the author of many articles on running, and he is also co-author of the e-book 'Marathon Training' - a brand new edition is available here from Amazon.com




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