How I Set a Marathon PR by 37 Minutes
I set a marathon PR this year and it was awesome! When you work really hard at a goal that seems impossible, there’s a huge sense of satisfaction when you’re able to achieve it. The months (or in some cases, years) of discipline pay off and you’re left with tremendous confidence that you can do anything.
I’ve been trying to run a faster marathon ever since my first miserable experience back in 2006. In trying to run a sub four hour marathon, I ran a 4:27, 4:13 and finally a 3:56. Still, I felt like I had more potential, I just couldn’t find the right way to train.
Finding The Best Marathon Training Plan
The best marathon training plan is the one that works for you. How’s that for brilliant advice? After connecting with an awesome group of likeminded runners in January, I decided I was going to train different in 2013. Initially I set out to break 1:30 in the half marathon. Once that happened, I decided to take another crack at the full marathon. After almost 10 months of base building, speed work and lots and lots of miles, I ran a 3:19 at TCM, and crushed my PR by 37 minutes!
In order to run a faster marathon, I needed to completely change what I had been doing. The best marathon training plan for me, involved more miles, more workouts and most importantly, getting a running coach.
More Weekly Miles
I was more prepared to run a faster marathon because of all the miles I was logging. From January through July, I built up a huge base. When it was actually time to start my marathon training cycle, I was already running 45 miles a week. In previous marathon training, I topped out at 41 miles. At the peak of my training right before the tapper, I ran 4 weeks of 70+ miles. If you want to set a marathon PR, run more!
More Focused Workouts
I did at least one, very focused, intense workout each week, (sometimes two). I would typically do some combination of intervals or tempo run, faster than race pace. I also did parts of my long run at or faster than race pace. Having that type of intensity during a workout, on top of running so many miles in a week, trained my legs to be able to run fast while tired.
Used a Coach to Set a Marathon PR
I wouldn’t have had a clue how many miles to run, or what workout to do if it wasn’t for the fact that I started using a coach. This was the single biggest reason I was able to set a 37 minute marathon PR. A friend and former professional runner coached myself and a few other guys towards each of our individuals goals.
Every Sunday night, we did a conference call and he’d give us our plan for the week. Since each week built upon the previous, he made adjustments as needed. I got sick one week, we had our first child, and I was traveling for work. He kept me on track to reach my goals. That’s something you can’t get from a generic online training plan! The best free marathon training program is free for a reason.
There was also the unforeseen benefit of the group coaching. We got to hear what other people were doing. As others asked questions we might not have thought of, we learned from the collective wisdom of the group. Some were faster, some slower, but we all had our minds focused and wanted to set a marathon PR. I highly recommend you find a group to train with if you want to run a faster marathon.
Do you want to Run a Faster Marathon? What’s stopping you?
If you’re looking to set a marathon PR (or PR at any distance), I highly encourage you to find a group to run with and find a running coach. The best marathon training plan is the one tailored to you.