How to Improve Your Marathon Time?

by On Feb 19, 2020

No matter how much experience you have, there's always something new you can learn and room for improvement.

How to Improve Your Marathon Time?

Have you just run your first marathon, and you are already researching ways to become better and faster? Do not worry. There is nothing wrong with you.

Most people go through the same stage while discovering the benefits of running in marathons.

Moreover, of course, you now want to improve your first result. We have got you covered with tips on how to achieve that goal.

How to Improve Your Marathon Time?
Photo Credit: 123RF

Congratulations on joining the vast global family of marathon runners. By participating in your first marathon, you just unlocked a door to a completely new stage of your life that can bring with it many benefits.

Therefore, now that you felt the taste of competition and running on long distances, you probably want to acquire more knowledge on how to train for a marathon and improve on your previous results.

Moreover, while we know, the internet is full of miraculous tips and tricks on how to boost your performance, we have taken a common sense approach alongside advice from people that talk from experience.

Therefore, no matter if you are training for a half marathon or a full-scale race, look at some of these ideas and see which ones fit for you. In addition, if you are serious about running more marathons in the future, getting the proper gear can lend a helping hand.

Word of advice: Before you go on, we need to make one thing clear. It is going to be quite challenging. Training for a marathon is hard, and the race itself is not at all easy. However, just like with everything else in life, good things go to those who persevere and do not give up.

Run More at a Marathon Pace

Newer runners have the tendency to keep the same pace for every training run. While that eventually can lead to improving your overall time since your resistance to effort develops, the trick is to broaden the pace separation.

That is the difference between standard pace and the pace you would have in an actual marathon. It will help you to set your goal race pace and get close to it by trying out various intensity levels. For example, you should try to go one third or even half of your long run at the desired marathon pace.

Doing so will also test your ability to go for the pace when the legs are already fatigued. It’s a good method to check if your goal is realistic or not. 

Work on Your Weekly Mileage

Any marathon training program you’ll study, will at some point, underline the importance of pushing yourself to run more miles week after week. Doing so, you will strengthen your heart and add more capillaries so that your muscles get more blood, faster.

Of course, this translates into improved leg strength and a better overall mindset. While the 10% rule is not agreed upon by all physicians or marathonists, it does not matter if you stick to it or increase with a lower percentage.

Don’t go over 10% as you will risk overuse injuries. Natural pre workout drinks really can reduce your percentage of injuries. 

Study the Course Thoroughly

For better chances of improving your marathon time, you should know that to train for. So, this starts with finding out if there will be hills on the track, what’s the altitude difference, and many such details that will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Of course, marathon training plans address all the conditions you could ever meet at a marathon. However, knowing the track and knowing your capabilities will help with focusing on the areas that you know need more work. 

How to Improve Your Marathon Time?
Photo Credit: 123RF

Don’t Underestimate Resting Intervals

We’ve already mentioned overuse injuries in one of our previous paragraphs. However, if that was more like a mild warning, this time, it gets real. No matter if you go for a 20 week marathon training schedule or some other interval, you must respect the rest days.

You should do it even though it feels like you could go for more. Fatigue can have long-term negative effects on your muscles and body, having the power of ruining months of progress towards reaching your goal. 


Now we’re getting a bit more technical. Tapering also relates to rest, since it’s all about how you cut down on your mileage to allow your body to regain the necessary supplies properly. In that case, it gives you everything it has on the race day. Every marathon training should include a tapering period.

Everyone who says it will affect your fitness doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The best way to approach tapering is within two weeks and start it right after the last long run.

You should consider reducing the mileage on your future runs by around 30% in that first week and even increase it to 50% in the second week. 

How to Improve Your Marathon Time?
Photo Credit: 123RF

Create a Schedule

Do not worry. It is the last one of those common sense tips. You are going to say that, of course, you have a schedule, that is why it’s called a marathon training plan.

Moreover, while most programs give you the general guidelines, it’s most of the time up to you to schedule them on days. Sometimes, depending on the mood, you will feel like switching some days around, and that is not recommended.

Here’s an example to paint a better picture:

  • Monday – Easy day
  • Tuesday – Tempo / second-longest run
  • Wednesday – Easy day
  • Thursday – Track Workout
  • Friday – Easy Day
  • Saturday – medium to long run
  • Sunday – REST

Listen to Your Body

Of course, marathon running is all about pushing your boundaries and progress from one run to the next. However, whenever your body sends you repeated distress signals, pay attention, and don’t overdo it.

Being healthy should always be your priority, and that tops even the most elaborate Boston marathon training plan that you wanted to complete. 

Scott Pine love to share his running experiences and how running has influences on his healthy life. New runners might enjoy Scott’s post on how to reach running goals and the impact it could make on their lives.

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