Run a Faster Marathon!

Five tips for running a successful marathon!

If you’re a marathon runner, you’ll understand that there’s a lot more to running a marathon than simply being a good runner. Below, I provide my top five tips to help you run a successful marathon.

Understand where your current capabilities are and train accordingly.

Running a marathon requires both physical and mental strength. The physical attributes are related primarily to your aerobic capacity. How well are you able to run long distances at a comfortable pace with a low heart rate?

Your mental capabilities revolve around your thought patterns. How do you handle being in a tough situation, and what thoughts arise when you begin to fatigue? Answering these questions will lead to more focused training.

Make time for rest and recovery.

A common misconception is that the harder you push yourself, the faster you’ll run. This only leads to increased stress and ill health. Initially, running three to four times a week is enough, with recovery days of no exercise in between.

As an example, I ran my fastest marathon, the New York Marathon, in 2016 at a time of 3.44.10. I’m 52 years old and I did it on a base of 250km, which I only started clocking up in May of that year due to a rehab program I was working on. I was very specific about the quality of my training, and it worked.

Update: In November 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, I ran my best marathon ever by myself. 3.26 using exactly the same approach.

Figure out what drives you to run.

Understanding the emotion behind why you run will keep you motivated. Write down what excites you about marathon running and the emotions behind the reasons.

Thinking of these reasons and feeling the emotions behind the words will push you to stay focused when you feel like giving up or are tempted to choose a lie-in over a run.

As an example, you may get excited about the time you have for “me time” and the emotions of feeling peace, calmness, or being in the zone. Everyone will feel something different.

For me, it’s being able to have a deep sense of running by feel. I get excited about being able to know what my cadence, heart rate, and the pace is. I call this being totally in tune with my body.

Dress like a runner.

With the theory of “enclothed cognition,” research suggests that the more we wear clothes that make us feel like a runner, the more likely we are to adopt the behaviors of a runner. By embracing your running personality, you’ll be more committed to training and racing.

Examples include wearing a road ID or your running watch during the day and placing photos of yourself running or crossing the finish line in your office.

Focus on nutrition. If you are overweight, change the way you eat.

Many people use the fact that they are training for a marathon as an excuse to eat badly or over-eat. Unfortunately, for most people, this is not a good enough excuse to over-indulge, especially if you’re already overweight.

No amount of exercise is going to help you lose weight if you’re eating poorly. The older you get, the more you’ll start to realize that your body doesn’t bounce back the way it used to. I experienced this firsthand and even reversed my weight issues four years ago. 

As a marathoner, I struggled for six years wondering why I could never lose the belly I had around my waist. I was following the prescribed low-fat, high-carb diet, running 70 kilometers a week and, at 48, doing a 3:45 marathon. Yet I was always hungry and had to get two massages a week for sore calves.

After making a dietary change and becoming fat-adapted, I am now a lean 141 pounds and have no inflammation that requires therapy. Just like Prof. Noakes says, “If you have to exercise to regulate your weight, your diet is wrong!” To read more about my story, go here.

I would like to help you become the best runner you can be and help you run the marathon of your life. If you want me to guide you to greatness, feel free to read the successful testimonials of people just like you.

About the Author

Andre Obradovic

Andre Obradovic is an ICF Leadership PPC Level Coach, A Primal Health Coach, a Certified Low Carb Healthy Fat Coach, & a Certified Personal Trainer. Andre is also a Founding member of the Dr. Phil Maffetone MAF certified Coach. He is an Ambassador for the Noakes Foundation, and a regular subject matter expert lecturer for the Nutrition Network (a part of the Noakes Foundation) Andre has completed 16 x 70.3 Ironmans and in 2017 he competed in the 70.3 Ironman World Championships. He has completed 18 Marathons and over 30 Half Marathons. Andre currently focuses his athletic competition on Track and Field with the occasional Marathon.

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