A blog by runners. For runners.

How Can I Improve My Marathon Finishing Time?

For all you marathon runners, I can't imagine anything more frustrating than not improving your finishing time from race to race. I've only run two marathons, and my time improved in the second race. I know I'd be pretty upset if I did worse than my original time, especially if I thought I'd trained to achieve a better one.

At the live text chat with Coach Jenny on Friday, someone had a specific question on how to improve their marathon finishing time. Coach Jenny has some great tips on how to help yourself run a faster marathon.

How can I improve my marathon finishing time? I always seem to get around the same time.


Progressing your training program is one way – whether that be to add in speed work or race effort workouts, creating a training recipe that includes a variety of training ingredients can improve your performance. Including strengthening, flexibility and form work. The more efficient you run, the faster you can cover those miles with less energy output.

And finally, the biggy –> practicing a race day strategy that emphasizes a negative split – or running the second half faster than the first. Pacing is the number one area to improve your performance. You can weave in “race-effort” runs – for your cutback long runs – (ie. 8-10 miles) where you break it into three parts – and run the first part of the distance easy, the next moderate and the final miles at a hard effort. When you sprinkle in these workouts into your long run schedule it allows you to practice your strategy and hone your skills. (This is not recommended for newbies as every long run is a personal record and hard on the body).

If you'd like to replay Friday's live text chat, you can do so here.

Have you ever struggled getting your marathon finishing time to where you want it? We'd love to hear any advice you have that helped you improve your time!