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Have you hit a plateau in your running? Are you wondering how to get a marathon PR? Well, you’re in luck. Today we’re going to chat with the one and only Jason Fitzgerald of StrengthRunning.com. He’s going to walk us through exactly how he helps runners overcome their limitations and get a PR in the marathon.
Jason Fitzgerald is the founder of Strength Running. His website, podcast and blog reach hundreds of thousands of runners every month and have been featured in Runner’s World, The Washington Post, Health Magazine, USA Today, and The Huffington Post among others. His contributions to the running community were recognized in 2017 when he was named Men’s Running Magazine Influencer of the Year.
He is a USA Track & Field certified coach and has been running competitively since 1998, when he ran for Connecticut College. After a major IT Band injury in 2008 following the New York City Marathon, Jason embarked on a mission to help other runners avoid injuries while still improving their performance. Since then Jason has helped thousands of runners do just that and even found the time to improve his own marathon PR, finishing the Philidelphia Marathon in 2:39.
He recently adapted the training journal he has kept religiously over the last 25 years. The Performance Training Journal includes coaching advice on racing, injury prevention, strength training, and more. It will guide you through race scheduling, how to plan your race morning, the best workouts for endurance runners, and encourage you to track your personal bests over time. You can find it on Amazon here: The Performance Training Journal but Jason Fitzgerald
Follow Jason Fitzgerald
- Book: The Performance Training Journal
- Instagram: @jasonfitz1
- Facebook: @jason.fitzgerald.5623
- YouTube: @StrengthRunning
- Podcast: Strength Running Podcast
- Website: StrengthRunning.com
Running Faster and Longer: Training Tips for Runners
Running is a great way to stay fit, healthy, and active. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a beginner, there is always room for improvement. In this episode, we talked about tips to help runners improve their physical and mental approach to running. We discussed different training types and how to build a more robust athlete, capable of running different events and looking graceful while doing it. Here are some key takeaways from the episode.
Physical and Psychological Changes
When it comes to improving your running performance, it’s crucial to focus on both physical and psychological changes. It’s not just about running more miles or running faster. It’s about incorporating different practices to help improve your form, speed, and power. A combination of high mileage, speed work, drills, cues, and weightlifting are some of the best ways to improve running form.
Shorter Races for More Racing Experience
Racing is a skill that can be developed over time, and it’s important to get more racing experience to reduce anxiety and build mental toughness. Shorter races are more manageable and sustainable for experiencing the discomfort of racing, promoting a callousing of mindset, and development of mental toughness.
Different Training Types
Different types of running workouts are categorized by specific heart rate zones, with recovery runs and easy runs being in the lower zones (one and two), and higher intensity runs being in the higher zones (three and four). Lactate threshold, also known as tempo, is a zone between aerobic and anaerobic where one is on the brink of going into oxygen debt. For well-trained runners, it is equivalent to about their one-hour race pace.
Timing of Marathon Training
Timing is everything when it comes to marathon training. Running a marathon in the summer is not recommended, as heat and humidity can lead to slower times and increase the risk of dehydration. It’s best to schedule a marathon in the spring (April or May) when the weather is cooler. Waiting too long before starting marathon training can lead to a decline in physical ability. Consistency is key, and it’s essential to avoid taking too much time off from running because it’s cumulative.
From periods of rest to easy running, building the base, then adding intensity workouts, and racing before taking a rest and starting the cycle again is essential. Improvement of a runner’s economy is a big benefit of incorporating different practices to improve form.
Increasing Mileage and Consistent Long Runs
Gradually increasing mileage and consistent long runs can lead to a much faster marathon time. Maintaining a good long run distance is important to not lose progress and to be able to jump into a marathon cycle after the season. Maintaining long distance running also helps develop the runner’s aerobic system, which will help them in shorter distances.
Taking a break from marathons and focusing on shorter distance training can help develop subtle physical skills and improve overall performance. The training cycle is 16 weeks long, with an introduction of one workout per week in the first couple of weeks, then moving to two. Early weeks involve marathon pace work, tempo or lactate threshold work, and consistent strides. After rest and easy unstructured running, it’s recommended to start marathon training again for at least a month but probably six to eight weeks.
Increasing Peak Mileage
The more advanced a runner becomes, the more difficult it is to improve without increasing training. Increasing peak mileage to about 70-80 km a week can develop aerobic capacity. The focus would be on easy mileage, with structured workouts added in later.
Improving running performance involves a combination of different practices. It’s essential to focus on both physical and psychological changes. Incorporating different types of running workouts categorized by specific heart rate zones, increasing mileage, and consistent long runs will lead to a much faster marathon time. Recovery periods and increasing peak mileage can also improve your overall performance. Here’s to running faster and longer!
- 00:00:00 Introduction
- 00:04:48 “Why a Marathon PR Isn’t Enough”
- 00:09:13 “Improving Marathon Performance: Focus on Shorter Races”
- 00:14:16 “More Racing, More Skills: The Benefits Explained”
- 00:18:50 “Improve Running Form with a Holistic Approach”
- 00:23:12 “Low-mileage runner Carrie nears Boston Marathon qualifier”
- 00:28:05 “Pre-Marathon Training: Maintaining mileage and strength”
- 00:32:53 “Progressing Your Workouts for a 5K”
- 00:39:45 “Training Zones and Workout Goals for Runners”
- 00:44:28 Effective Recovery and Season Planning for Runners
- 00:50:48 “Timing Key to Successful Marathon Training”
1. What is the recommended timing for running a marathon?
Answer: The recommended timing for running a marathon is in the spring, specifically in April or May.
2. What are some different types of runs for improving performance in long-distance running?
Answer: Different types of runs include recovery runs, easy runs, tempo or lactate threshold runs, and higher intensity runs at 5K pace, 3K pace, or 8K pace.
3. What is lactate threshold and why is it important for runners?
Answer: Lactate threshold is the zone between aerobic and anaerobic where one is on the brink of going into oxygen debt. This is important for well-trained runners as it is equivalent to about their 1 hour race pace.
4. What should a runner do in between seasons to ensure proper recovery?
Answer: A runner should rest and do easy unstructured running before reintroducing strides and building into the next training cycle. Recovery is not only physical but also mental to ensure excitement towards the upcoming training season.
5. How can a runner improve their running form?
Answer: A combination of high mileage, speed work, drills, queues and weightlifting are some of the best ways to improve running form.
6. Why is it important to focus on shorter distances before attempting a marathon?
Answer: Focusing on shorter distances and achieving personal records (PRs) can increase a runner’s chances of a successful marathon, as improvement in other race distances (5K, 10K, half marathon) can lead to improvement in overall marathon time.
7. What is the recommended training cycle for preparing for a marathon?
Answer: The training cycle is 16 weeks long, with an introduction of one workout per week in the first couple of weeks, then moving to two. The early weeks involve marathon pace work, tempo or lactate threshold work, and consistent strides.
8. How can a runner prevent injury during high-intensity workouts?
Answer: Higher intensity workouts at 5K pace, 3K pace, and 8K pace have higher injury risks and should be given in smaller doses. It is important not to overload runners with too much intensity, as it can be stressful and may not fit their schedule.
9. How can a runner break out of a cycle of same marathon training with limited results?
Answer: Increasing peak mileage to about 70-80 km a week can help develop aerobic capacity, with the focus initially on easy mileage and structured workouts added in later.
10. What are some common mistakes made by runners during marathon training?
Answer: Common mistakes include waiting too long before starting training, taking too much time off from running, and not incorporating enough variability in racing experience.
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