Marathon Pace Intervals

Learn to Run a Consistent Pace with Great Form

This marathon pace intervals workout is based on my favourite swim workout, teaching you to run a consistent pace without heavy fatigue.

The problem with trying to learn marathon race pace, especially in the earlier days of your training, is that running long enough to get the effect builds a lot of fatigue and makes your later kilometres more of a struggle to keep going.

Running tired creates its own issues, not least that your form suffers. Anyone who has stood at the finish line of a running race knows that the winners run in as smoothly as they were running at the start, whilst later finishers run worse and heavier the longer they've been running.

The challenge is finding a way to train that emphasises great running form for as long as possible.

After much consideration, it struck me that we do something similar in the pool with the 40 100's workout. In the same way, marathon pace intervals teach you how to run with good smooth form for a long time. Admittedly, this workout takes longer than simply going for a run at marathon pace, but the negative effects of fatigue on running form are significantly reduced.

If you get the pacing right, you should find that, while the fatigue builds across the workout, the recovery intervals are just enough to allow you to maintain great running form.

The example below is for 10km, but you could extend it up to 20km if you like, the only caveat being the time the workout will take.

In my notation, the "Marathon Pace Intervals" session is written like this...

25 x 400m @ Marathon Pace, Brisk Walk Recovery 100m 

How to do it...

Do a thorough dynamic mobility warm up for at least 10 minutes.

Set a countdown timer for your desired 400m split for the marathon. Start this timer every time you start an interval and aim to finish the 400m exactly on time.

Walk 100m briskly to recover. Aim for no more than half the time it took to run the 400m.

Repeat another 24 times.

[Terminate the workout if you fail to hit your split 3 times out of 4 - running tired defeats the object.]

Cool down with some gentle jogging, brisk walking and any flexibility work you need.

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Will Newton


In over twenty years of coaching, Will has coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. His interest in getting the best results for athletes who compete for the love of the sport, rather than as professionals, drives him to find the most effective ways to get results.

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