One of the most critical aspects of a successful marathon is running at the correct pace. Start too fast, then you hit the wall and will be lucky to finish. Start too slow, then you might see the finish line, but will always be left wondering how much better race you could have run. So where is the happy medium, that elusive perfect pace?
The 10 x 800 Workout
One of the best marathon running tips I know is the 10 x 800 training workout. You can use this method to evaluate your overall running fitness and determine the optimum marathon pace for you to run at. Try this workout, and you will soon discover just how good you can be.
Let’s say that you think you can run a 3:45 marathon. What you do is try running 800 meters on the track at at 3:45 (3 minute 45 second) pace. Then rest and recover for an equal amount of time ( 3m 45s). Repeat this run-rest interval nine more times for a total of ten cycles. It’s very simple!
If your goal is a 4 hour marathon, then pace your 800m repeats at 4:00 and rest for 4 minutes in between. The same formula works just as well for a 2:30 marathon or a 4:27 marathon. See how easy it is?
Determine Your Workout Pace
If you’re not sure what is the right pace to start at, then just take your best guess and start there. If you can’t keep up the same pace for all ten intervals, then you have to slow down and try again. If you have energy to spare after repeat number ten, then next time pick up the pace by 10 seconds or so.
Experiment until you arrive at the best pace that you can maintain consistently for all ten intervals. That’s your new marathon pace! Keep doing your workouts at that pace, right up until about two weeks before you run your marathon. Then you can run with confidence, knowing that you won’t hit the wall, or finish only half as well as you could.
Training For Other Distances
Thanks to some crazy mathematical quirk, this pace training technique works for the marathon, but don’t try to use it to determine your race pace for the 5k. It doesn’t work that way! However, you can still use the 10 x 800 workout to do your base training for other distances, because it’s a fantastic workout for any distance race.
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