Marathon is a grandmaster distance. Here, self-control and power distribution play a key role. It depends on whether you show a good result or finish by walking.
It may well be divided into 4 phases: 14 km (pace), 15–28 km (position), 29–41,7 km (drive), and 500 m (kick).
The first 14 km is perfectly executed if you want to run faster but refrain from doing so. Think about 28,2 km ahead and stay calm. Settle into your pace and run your own race. There are people around you flying forward at full speed. Let them go. You will definitely meet many of them towards the end of the marathon.
14 to 28 km is about running economy and saving as much energy as possible. Keep vertical oscillation minimal, your cadence perfect(180), hands relaxed, body in vertical position, slightly lean forward. Look around and find a group that runs at your pace. Join it, let it set the pace, and run with the flow. Watch your HR — it should be below threshold or around it.
During 29 to 41 km obvious signs of fatigue will come up: you will feel super heavy legs and slow down. Dig really deep into your energy reserves, but stay positive. Practice self-talk or remember something that inspired you to engage with running. Don’t forget to eat and drink. Take everything that is offered at the aid stations and feeding points. This will give you a boost.
Muscle fatigue will peak at 33–35 km. You will need to accept it and keep running to the finish line for another 5 km.
By the way, many of those who cheerfully ran away from you at the beginning will walk after the 30th km. Let’s assume your running pace is 5:30 min/km. This means more than 1:30 min per 1 km advantage of runners over walkers. You will surely catch all of them. Let this thought give you power in the very difficult moments of the marathon.
The finish section of the marathon is very short, probably 100–200 meters. It’s hard to sprint longer at the end of 42,2 km. But those 100 m will probably be the happiest moment of your amateur runner’s career.
The patterns described above are general and should be individually adapted for you by the coach. Based on your HR, pace, eating habits etc.
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