Speed workouts and the marathon: benefits

Though endurance is key in the success of finishing a marathon, speed is an ability that should not be forgotten.

Endurance is our ability to maintain an effort efficiently for the most possible time, and for that , preparing your body to run for 26 miles non-stop is critical.

It is impossible to run a marathon at the same pace as a 10k race, but training your speed is critical for the marathon.


Training your speed during your marathon training plan has the following benefits:

– Speed workouts increase muscle strength and the power of your legs.

– It will improve your running economy (you will spend less energy when running), since having more strength will require less energy running at a certain pace.

– It is fun and will diversify your long workouts.

– It will help you finishing the race in less time.


The great challenge for a marathon runner is choosing the best moment and the best way to insert speed workouts in the marathon-training plan.

Finding the balance between endurance and speed workouts and resting time is key in being successful. It will require an analysis of different factors, such as: experience, objectives, duration and physical condition.

However, the general rule for the best moment is during the 4 – 8 weeks previous to the marathon; being a moment in which you should already have a good volume of training that will help you get the most of this workout.

During these weeks it is important to do faster pace workouts and race pace workouts (to get your body used to the marathon pace).

flickr photo by Elvert Barnes shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license