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Louise Damen
Running Training

How can I improve my marathon race for the last 8km?

The last 8km of a marathon is definitely the toughest part and it does take some preparation both physically and mentally. I would start by looking at your long run. It’s a good idea to include at least one long run in your training that mirrors the length of time that you anticipate running for in the race. This will allow your body to become a little more familiar with the mechanical demands on your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons and the energy and fuelling demands of running a long way.

The last 8km is often where people ‘hit the wall’. By regularly incorporating some pre-breakfast or fasted runs into your training programme you will improve your body’s ability to burn fat as a fuel source and hence save your glycogen or carbohydrate stores for later on in the race. This, together with a good fuelling strategy should ensure that you have enough energy to maintain or even increase your pace slightly in the last 8km.

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I ran when I was younger did 2:44 marathon, had a break for 8 years and started again rather fat 7 years ago. 2012 after losing weight I did 3:08 and have steadily been dropping to 2:41 this year. I’m 50 next year and currently training on the 85mi + Pfitzingers Advanced plan. Do you think sub 2:40 is possible or will age get the better of me and how can I adapt the plan for the better?
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