How To Finish A Marathon – The Endurance Way

Aerobic endurance is the body’s ability to work with high intensity over time, where the energy comes from aerobic processes in the muscles. Endurance will always be the most important factor in marathon training. In how to finish a marathon race – the endurance way, you will see that the ability to run at high speed is irrelevant if you cannot keep the pace on the scheduled distance.

How To Finish A Marathon Race - The Endurance Way man running along a river
Man on a long endurance training run alone along a beautiful canal area

What Is A Marathon Race

A Marathon race is a 42.195-kilometer long road race and a classic long-distance discipline in athletics. Since the first Olympic Games in 1896, marathons have been on the Olympic program. In addition, big cities all over the world organize marathons today, where runners from all over the world and at all levels participate and run through streets and alleys.

Over the years, marathon running has evolved from being reserved for the more serious runners to becoming a discipline for ‘ordinary’ runners too. Completing a marathon, however, is a tough strain on the body. So you must be well prepared and follow a marathon training schedule to complete it.

Endurance Training

The longer the distance, the more important it is to have great endurance. The harder work you can perform with aerobic processes, the higher intensity you can withstand before the lactate concentration increases. When we talk about How to Run Faster and Longer, we have to look at endurance first – run longer.

In basic, you improve endurance by gradually increasing the running distance. It means that endurance training is about pushing the limits of how far you can run, whereas the speed you keep is less important.

To perform your maximum in long-distance running is it therefore, necessary to use a substantial part of the training on endurance training.

Endurance training has several main aspects of practice. We look at that below:

Cardiovascular Endurance Training 

How To Finish A Marathon Race The Endurance Way participants in a marathon race
Participants running long-distance race in a beautiful environment

Is about the circulatory system’s endurance the central conditions, heart- and lung functions, which have to work very well, so the blood and thus Oxygen all the time, will be pumped out to the working muscles. The circulatory system’s endurance is very dependent on, how many hours you have trained.

The more kilometers you run every week, the more you develop the body’s ability to absorb and transport oxygen, which again means the endurance increases. But you still have to follow plans that keep you on the right path for your level.

Muscle Endurance

is about the local conditions and obtains primarily through adaptation. A runner who is used to running about 5 km, will be tired and get sore muscles if the distance one day is increased to 12 km. That is why the training has to increase gradually.

In a marathon, you will be tired, but if you have trained and adapted the muscles to the long runs, you will be able to cope with the hardships. Furthermore, strong and resilient muscles from particular hill training will give you an economic running style, where you use less energy per. Km.

Specific Endurance

Is the ability to endure the specific load, as the selected running distance puts on the body both physically and mentally. A marathon includes specific endurance therefore, e.g. The tendon’s ability to withstand pressure and twitch from the many thousands of steps, they’re exposed to on the 42 km.

Another aspect of the specific endurance is the ability to save on muscle glycogen as fuel, partly to obtain energy from fat combustion. The body adapts to this by the long runs at easy/moderate pace.

Although the speed in endurance training is not as significant as the running distance itself or the time spent, running at too slow pace may be a waste of time. You have to omit running too slow, and especially too quickly.

You have to keep a certain pace, to obtain a training stimulus to create a reaction in the body. The adaptation that occurs in the body because of the training, will not take place if the pace is too low. On the other hand, a too fast pace or a too high intensity, will be very stressful for your body and require a longer recovery.

This will not be favorable, since a long recovery very likely will destroy a long-term training plan because if you do not respect the length of the recovery, there will be a great risk of overtraining and injuries.

Improvement of Endurance

How To Finish A Marathon Race The Endurance Way Participants in a distance race coming up from a tunnel
Runners in a City race using two lanes

To improve your aerobic endurance, it’s necessary with long runs in easy/moderate pace. Both pace and length of the distance depending on your basic training level. It’s also necessary to adjust the training distances to the marathon race you want to run.

If you want to participate in a marathon race, it is not enough to train at distances up to 10 kilometers. It’s also important to build up the distance length gradually, so the body slowly adapts to the long runs. You can choose the right running shoes for yourself to get the best start.

The intensity of the long runs accomplishes in easy/moderate pace. This pace also corresponds to the concept of LSD “Long Slow Distance”, which as the words say performs with lower intensity.

If you run the long runs with the above intensity, your body will be loaded with the desired training stimulus, and thus adapt to the training. There will be physiological changes in the heart, blood circulation and muscles that develop to greater performance.

To have energy for a large amount of training, it is a good idea with a nutritious diet in the everyday life. The muscle glycogen depots must be filled up again after training. You can influence the glycogen depots to become larger through training.

An almost depletion of the existing glycogen depots in the muscles entails a stimulus to fill them again. There is indeed a tendency to even bigger glycogen depots after depletion if you consume the carbohydrates in the correct quantity and with proper timing after training.

How To Finish A Marathon Race The Endurance Way pasta Carbohydrate meal.
Pasta dishes are particular carbohydrate-rich

How to Expand carbohydrate depots

The long runs will hereby – if carried out properly – stimulate the glycogen (Carbohydrate) depots in the muscles to become bigger. Training with an intensity of about 60 to 80 % of heart rate reserve (HRR) contributes also to improving the body’s capacity to use fat as energy source. In that way, you will economize with glycogen, which means that you will be able to keep a higher pace for a longer period.

Training frequency depends on the recovery requirement. The long and easy run does not require a recovery time as more intensive training, where the heart rate is significantly higher.

After the long runs, the recovery need may be greater than you immediately feel, since muscle glycogen depots deplete or are very restricted, and the body’s other tissues are also loaded by the training.

It takes 1-3 days before glycogen stores and your body is fully recovered. It may therefore be a good idea to put in a “low” week in the training schedule sometimes. In this way, you will also be mentally fresh and avoid over-training. Get some ideas for running clothes by clicking on the image here:

How To Finish A Marathon Race The Endurance Way Reebok running ideas
Click on the image for more info

Although you only have 1 – 2 long runs weekly, it does not mean that it is the only two times you train endurance. Endurance training is THE central training type for the marathon. When you train for a marathon, the many other training days you complete during the week should therefore have an intensity that corresponds to endurance training. The other day’s endurance training takes place at distances, which are between a quarter and a half of the long run.

Lactate Threshold – LT In A Marathon Race

Long easy/moderate runs LSD is endurance training, where you become able to run far in a long time. With LT training, you become able to run faster i.e. with a higher intensity for a long time. So, this training practice will make you faster on the marathon distance.

How To Finish A Marathon Race – The Endurance Way
Fast runner – road training

Newer science has shown more precisely, what causes the accumulation of lactate in the working muscles during hard work. But in general, the Lactate Threshold – LT is a very reliable and powerful marker of performance in aerobic exercises.

because it works in practice. Lactic acid or just lactate is called a waste product of energy production. It paralyzes the muscle and causes a burning sensation. The lactate threshold LT is a threshold where a given work intensity leads to the lactate volume in the muscles beginning to rise pretty much.

Lactate produces continuously with muscle work. However, if there simultaneously is sufficient Oxygen, will excess lactate removes via the blood. At low work intensities, there is a balance between the production of lactate and the elimination of lactate.

Lactate threshold or just LT is thus the highest level at which a stable level of lactate can be maintained. It means that the production and removal of excess lactate in the blood are equal. LT is therefore at the intensity level, where the lactate volume just does not inhibit the muscle work.

When the work intensity increases, the lactate volume increases equivalent since a major part of the energy produces anaerobic. Lactate accumulation leads to muscle challenges. The muscles paralyze and become more and more painful. It’s therefore, necessary to reduce the working intensity and lower the pace to avoid further pain and discomfort.

How To Finish A Marathon Race The Endurance Way Man Running LT Training
Man running LT Intervals on a Forrest road

How To Move Your Lactate Threshold

The ability to “move” the LT, so you can tolerate more and run faster, trains by running nearby the LT. It is also the place, where you best train endurance. The most practical way to describe the LT level is on basis of the maximum oxygen uptake.

If you are a common jogger, your LT will probably be around 60-70 percent of your maximum Oxygen uptake, whereas the anaerobic threshold at very well-trained people will be between 80 and 90 percent of the maximum oxygen uptake.

If you want to experience how the lactate accumulation feels, then try to stand up with your arms horizontally for 4 minutes, and you will experience how it feels. At one point, your arms begin to shake and pain, and finally, there is so much lactate accumulated in your arm muscles, that you simply must let them fall.

I hope you like this post and if you have any questions about how to run faster and longer – is about Endurance and Lactate Threshold or want to leave your own Personal review, please leave a comment below.

How do you end a marathon?

All of your small weaknesses are stirring up at the end of a marathon. So, you have to stay FOCUSED. Your physical training gets you to the starting line. Your mental focus gets you to the finish line.
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4 thoughts on “How To Finish A Marathon – The Endurance Way”

  1. Endurance is not just as easy as it sounds though because it takes a whole lot of will power too. All the same, my cousin has taken it to heart to become a long lenght racer. He’s thinking he can break some records and personally I like that he can dare something big as that. I should let him read your post to let him know that the first and important thing in winning a race is finishing it, especially a marathon.

    • Hi Suz

      Thank you for the comment. As long distance runner participating in a marathon for the first time, it will be beneficial to just complete as goal, because you don’t know how it will be particular after 35 km in the race.

      Be Well

  2. Hello Henrik, running a marathon race is fun and I have been involved in it a couple of times and all these times it’s not been really easy. So far, I am still working on my fitness level and it’s been really good according to my instructor. I still like how I’m getting to learn more about gaining fitness level and I’m happy about it./

    • Hi Justin

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, we learn from experiences and fitness training with an Instructor can be more supportive too.

      Be Well


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