The Four Building Blocks of Marathon Training

The primary elements of marathon training are

1Base mileage
Build your weekly mileage over time, running three-to-five times per week.
2The long run
Do a long run every 7–10 days so your body can adjust gradually to long distances.
3Speed work
Practice intervals and tempo runs to increase your cardio capacity.
4Rest and recovery
Adequate rest helps prevent injuries and mental burnout.
1Intervals
Intervals are a set of repetitions of a specific, short distance, run at a substantially faster pace than usual, with recovery jogs in between.
2Tempo runs
Tempo runs are longer than an interval—generally in the range of 4–10 miles, depending on where you are in your training—run at a challenging, but sustainable, pace. This kind of workout teaches your body, as well as your brain, to sustain challenging work over a longer period of time.
Always allow your body to warm up and cool down with a few easy miles at the beginning and end of any speed workout.
3Tapering
Tapering: In the two or three weeks leading up to your marathon, scale back significantly on overall mileage and difficulty of your runs to let your body rest up for race day.

Hydrating and Fueling on the Run

1Hydration
While training, of course, you will be doing plenty of long runs without the benefit of aid stations. Several tried-and-true techniques to consider: • Carry your own water using a hydration pack or belt, or with handheld bottles • Do long runs on a short loop course, so you can stash water in one spot along the way. • Plot your long run route to pass water fountains (but during colder months, make sure that they're turned on). • Stash water bottles along your route the night or morning before your run
2Fueling
You've probably heard about the phenomenon many marathoners experience right around the 20-mile mark, commonly called "hitting the wall" or "bonking." Your body can only store so much glycogen—its primary source of energy during the marathon. As this level gets depleted over the course of your marathon, your muscles will begin to tire and feel heavy. While no amount of fuel consumption during the race can entirely replace your depleted glycogen, consuming small amounts of carbohydrates can help prevent you from hitting the dreaded wall. Energy gels or chews are the easiest to carry and often easiest to digest—but a few pieces of fruit or an energy bar can also do the trick. For any run over 2 hours, aim to take in about 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.