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The Secret to Running a Successful Marathon

Just a couple of days ago, the first of the six World Major Marathons was held in Berlin. This year the schedule of World Major Marathons is very tight, and all the races will happen in a pretty short window between September and November.

Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, and New York will be full of runners, ambitions, and many PRs well deserved. Nothing can beat the feeling of a successfully finished marathon after you have been training for months. But what does it take to get there and run a successful marathon? Let’s explore it here.

Find a program that fits your daily routine

First of all, it is critical to find a running program that you can complete without having too much stress. This means that you want to have a flexible program in case something pops up and you are not able to do what is required for the day.

For example, with Vitesse Running, if for some reason you miss your workout, our Virtual Coach will adjust the plan accordingly for the next few days. In that way, you have the freedom and the ability to skip a day without worrying too much about how this is going to affect your schedule.

Be consistent even when things do not go as planned

Consistency is the absolute key in our sport for success. If you are patient and hard-working, I promise you – results will come. Although it’s easier said than done, you can do it and work your mind around it.

It’s easy to be consistent and put in the work when you are constantly improving. However, the line of success is not straight. There are ups and downs, but what matters is the tendency of getting better overall.

When you have hard days or even weeks, do not give up on your routine. Sometimes our body just needs more time to adapt before we see the growth. If you have runs that feel harder than expected and they are much slower than usual, don’t feel down. It’s completely normal, and it is part of the process. Every athlete goes through rough patches.

In fact, being tired is a sign you are really working hard to get better. You will appreciate your dedication later when you feel great on race days.

Emphasize on long runs

In terms of workouts for a successful marathon, we can’t stress enough how important the long run is. What prepares you the best for what a marathon actually is going to feel like, is the long run. Make sure you have some easy long runs where your focus is just to cover enough distance.

After you complete these, incorporate some shorter workouts in your long run as a fast finish long run/last 3 to 8k/, for example, or you run a steady pace long run (your goal pace + 20/30 sec slower per km).

Run intervals at marathon pace AND faster

Your legs have to get familiar with your marathon pace. The best way to do that is to start with some intervals where you target your marathon pace. However, don’t be afraid to run faster intervals up to 2k- 3k where you’re running sub your goal pace. In that way, the next time you’re doing your marathon pace, it will start to feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Sleep well

I would say that there’s no better way to recover at an optimal level than sleeping. I bet you have days where your legs feel heavy and tired, and the next morning, after an entire night of sleep, surprisingly you feel great.

This is because your body knows what to do. Let it happen and aim to get in bed before 10 pm. Naps during the day are one awesome tool too, so if you have a chance, don’t miss it!

Take care of your nutrition and hydration

Don’t forget to also eat more. You are burnning a lot of calories and to help your body to recover, you will need enough energy. Eat a lot of fruits and veggies to get all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nuts are great source of healthy fats and some protein. Bread, potatoes, rice, pasta are just food I even don’t feel like I need to mention because all marathoners live on them.

Last, make sure you eat enough protein to maintain your muscles and speed up recovery – milk, yogurt, meat, beans, eggs, fish, tofu and more should be a part of your weekly menu.

Have a race plan and stick to it

It’s easy to get way too excited on race day. There are so many people and emotions, you feel fresh and ready, and your legs can’t wait to go.

All of this is great, but often runners flow with the excitement and forget to control their effort early in the race which results in suffering later on. Thus, I suggest you have a plan ready – know at what pace you want to go, or at least have a range. It’s normal to feel easy in the beginning so don’t get caught up and speed up. Save the best for your last 10k.

Stay Positive

Being happy is essential. Your emotions have control over you and the way you reflect on reality. If you have a positive attitude, the chance that great things can happen are huge. You already set yourself for success, once you have the mind and the smile for it.

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