Marathon Advice From an Expert

Being a member of a running club has many advantages and on Monday I was reminded of this. I went to a free talk by Mara Yamouchi, the UK’s second fastest female marathon runner. How lucky was I? It was very informative, enjoyable and interesting. I learnt a lot and thought it would maybe nice if I share it with you?



Training for a marathon

It is all about training your bodies to be efficient fat burners apparently. The marathon distance takes you beyond the limits of your fat storage, which is when you hit the wall. If you can teach your body to become more efficient at burning fat the longer you can put off the need to use carbohydrates.



Frequency – how often you run

Intensity – The amount of effort you put into your runs

Time – How long you spend running.

The idea is that you don’t increase all of these three at the same time as this will more than likely result in injury. The aim is to increase one of these a week i.e. if you were running 3 times a week and then upped it to 4, and also tried to run further and for longer then you have got it wrong. Either increase the number of runs, but not the overall time or the speed.

3 key sessions a week

LONG RUN – this is to get your body used to spending time running, developing your mental attitude towards covering long distances as well as getting your body used to running with little fuel and getting more efficient at burning fat. It doesn’t mean that you can’t add variety to this however as you can run 1 long slow run, 1st half at an easy pace with the second half at a tempo pace or up hills, or simply vary the speed throughout, what ever you fancy although it is meant to be mainly slow and fat burning.



THRESHOLD RUNS or INTERVALS – These need to be at about half marathon pace or a speed that you can maintain for an hour in order for you to develop tolerance to lactic acid build up. You can start off running for just 15 minutes and build up to 90 minutes. Alternatively, you can do long intervals eg. 4 minutes in length (5 lots of 4 mins would make a up a good interval session). Another option is to run a race as you tend to push yourself harder in this situation.

FAST JOG – (I am thinking that she means what I call running here!) This should be done at a pace where it is hard to hold a conversation. Hill sprints come in here, 10 seconds running up a hill at maximum power and then walking down. You then get to repeat it a few times. Alternatively running continually uphill for 20 minutes (or more) This is unlikely to happen around here but she very kindly gave us the option of running on a  treadmill at 5% (Lucky us!)

Strength Training

I was glad that she mentioned this 🙂 I could feel all smug. The areas to train =

  1. Glutes – with squats, glute bridges, clam, leg lifts.
  2. Calves – calve raises, single legged, straight and bent! You should be able to do about 30.
  3. Hamstrings
  4. Core.

She recommended 2 books to help with this: Anatomy for runners by J Dichay and Strength and conditioning for endurance runners by Richard (someone, sorry I didn’t get that down.)

Cross Training

It was suggested that you use Heart monitors for this as it is very hard to get your heart rate up to the same level as you can when running. So when biking aim for about 10 beats below and swimming 15-20 beats below.



Again this is an area that has been drummed into me – pulling back is more important than the forward motion as bringing your arm back balances your leg as it comes forward. She suggested practising brushing your shorts as you ran to help get the correct positioning for your arms and to stop them going across the body.

Nutrition and Hydration

She really recommended the basic – highly nutritious. It is important to have a good variety of foods (that’s me done in then as I am very boring and have the same breakfast every day :()

It is also important to eat within 20 minutes of a workout, Maybe a protein smoothie.

All in all I had a great time, she was incredibly easy to listen to and the time flew by. I now have all the information, now I have to put it into practice!!

8 thoughts on “Marathon Advice From an Expert

  1. Running Not Racing

    Very interesting! Thank you for sharing. I think I may try the intervals option for my 5k distance just to mix it up a bit. Also love the tip about the arms and shorts. Feel myself that recently focusing on pulling my arms back has helped with both my form and speed

    1. knitnrun4sanity Post author

      For 5k you can do more shorter intervals 100m sprints have really speeded me up. They also help to give you good running form as when you sprint you do this without thinking. If you try to keep them at the same pace you will also help with pacing.:)~ Enjoy.x


I love to hear your thoughts and views.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s