Strategy #3: Run Economically to Use Less Fuel
Running economy—the rate of oxygen use at a given pace—is influenced by many factors, running form being one of them. You can improve your form a couple ways.
First, increase your cadence to at least 170 steps per minute. Although a cadence of 180 is often touted as ideal, it varies with your unique biomechanics and speed. Focus on getting to at least 170 during an easy, comfortable run.
Second, land underneath your hips, rather than reaching out in front of your body, to prevent over-striding and aggressive heel-striking, both of which can reduce your economy.
Increasing your cadence will help because a faster cadence favors a more mid-foot strike and proper placement of the foot under your hips.
Strategy #4: Carb Load
If you don't consume enough carbohydrate before a marathon and race under-fueled, it will lead to bonking and a sub-par performance. To fully stock your carbohydrate stores, consume about 7 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight during the two days before the race. The morning of the marathon, focus on an easily digestible, carb-focused meal like oatmeal and a banana to restock your stores that have been diminished overnight.
During the race, consume about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. Remember to fuel often and early so the carbohydrate is readily available during the last 10K of the race.
Running a fast marathon requires more than sound training; it requires a proper fueling strategy that combines fuel efficiency and increasing the amount of fuel that's available. These strategies can help you do both so that during your next marathon, you'll be much more likely to run a new personal best.
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