How To Increase Marathon Speed

Running a marathon is no easy feat, but for those who have caught the running bug like me, there’s always a desire to push ourselves further. One of the most common goals for marathon runners is to increase their speed. Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or hoping to qualify for a prestigious race, improving your marathon speed requires dedication, strategy, and a carefully planned training program.

Setting Realistic Goals

Before diving into the training strategies, it’s important to set realistic goals. While it’s perfectly fine to dream big, it’s essential to be aware of your current abilities and limitations. Take a look at your previous race times and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Aim to increase your marathon speed by a reasonable amount, such as a few minutes, rather than setting an unrealistic goal of shaving off half an hour.

Once you have set your goal, it’s time to create a training plan that will help you achieve it. Let’s explore some strategies that have worked for me in the past.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is the foundation of any successful training program. Make a commitment to stick to your training schedule and prioritize your running. This doesn’t mean you have to run every day, but it’s important to establish a routine that works for you. Aim for a mix of easy runs, long runs, interval training, and rest days to strike the right balance and prevent burnout.

A Mix of Speed and Endurance Training

To increase your marathon speed, it’s crucial to incorporate both speed and endurance training into your program. Speed workouts, such as tempo runs, intervals, and fartleks, help improve your running economy and increase your anaerobic threshold. These workouts should be challenging but manageable, allowing for proper recovery between sessions.

On the other hand, endurance training builds your aerobic capacity and teaches your body to sustain a faster pace for a longer period. Long runs should be a staple in your training plan, gradually increasing in both distance and intensity. This will condition your body to withstand the demands of a marathon and improve your overall speed.

Strength Training and Cross-Training

Don’t underestimate the power of strength training and cross-training in improving your marathon speed. Incorporating exercises that target your core, legs, and upper body will improve your running form, efficiency, and overall strength. Additionally, cross-training activities like cycling, swimming, or yoga can help prevent injuries, build endurance, and aid in recovery.

Proper Nutrition and Recovery

Increasing your marathon speed isn’t just about the miles you run. It’s equally important to fuel your body with the right nutrients and allow for proper recovery. Prioritize a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Hydration is key, so make sure to drink enough water throughout the day, especially during and after your runs.

Don’t forget about rest and recovery. Your body needs time to repair and adapt to the demands of your training. Incorporate rest days into your schedule and listen to your body. If you’re feeling fatigued or have lingering aches and pains, take the necessary time off to prevent overtraining and injury.


Increasing your marathon speed is a journey that requires commitment, hard work, and a smart training plan. By setting realistic goals, being consistent, incorporating speed and endurance training, and prioritizing nutrition and recovery, you can gradually improve your speed and achieve your marathon goals. Remember, progress takes time, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the process. Lace up your running shoes, hit the pavement, and let the speed improvements begin!