What is the easiest way to lower my marathon time?

I've run three marathons in roughly four hours. What can I do to help lower my finish time? The Editors Santa Fe, NM


Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.

Experienced endurance athletes can blast past plateaus with a few tweaks to their nutrition and training. Use these tips to set a new personal record:



Eat and drink more. To improve your performance and speed recovery, fuel your body with a pre- and post-workout snack. Choose snacks with 10 to 30 grams of protein and 30 to 90 grams of carbs (chocolate milk, toast with peanut butter). Also hydrate with 16 ounces of water two hours before you train and 6 to 8 ounces of water every 10-to-15 minutes during your session. For intense workouts lasting more than an hour, opt for 20 ounces of Gatorade.

Do massage on recovery days. The most important day of your week is your day off. In addition to plenty of downtime and light stretching, give yourself a massage. Using a foam roll or tennis ball, spend 30 to 60 seconds working through sore spots. This will help your body recover faster and perform better.

Change up your tunes. If you speed up the number of steps you take per minute, you can cover more ground in less time. You can use your favorite music to set a goal pace of about 90 steps per minute. Find a song that has 90 beats per minute (BPM) and practice running with the beat of the music. Use this site to measure the BPM of your favorite songs.

Train faster. If your training primarily focuses on long, slow runs, it’s time to vary your pace. Incorporating interval training can make you a stronger, more efficient runner. Twice a week, perform an interval training session. Click here for a sample interval routine.

– Darcy Norman

Related articles
Weight Training for Runners
Top 10 Marathon Training Mistakes
Slash Time Off Your Race Pace

promo logo