4 Tips for Getting in Marathon Season Shape

An elite athlete shares his top tips for getting in tip-top running shape

While during this time of year many runners are winding down from big distance races like the Boston and London Marathons, others are gearing up to get in shape for the fall marathon season.

Popular races like the Berlin Marathon, the Chicago Marathon and arguably the most beloved of all (at least according to our readers), the New York City Marathon all take place in the fall, which means that for runners who are planning to race, now is the time to start pre-preparing for the months of summer training that lie ahead.

Below, Rodrigo Iglesias, a co-owner of Balanced Fitness & Health, a cross-training expert and a two-time collegiate All-American in swimming and water polo offers a few secrets that he uses to keep himself and his clients in tip-top running shape.

1. Do Intervals.
Intervals are a series of fast-paced running spurts with slower paced sprints mixed in between each set,” Iglesias explained. “This requires the body to use both aerobic and anaerobic energy, which will allow the body to exercise longer and harder over time.”

“Intervals should start at a speed that is slightly slower than your highest comfortable intensity. With every other interval set, increase the intensity by one- to two-tenths per mile. It’s best to mix intervals with your regular work-out schedule to prevent injury.”

2. Run on a track.
“Alone, consistent running will make you faster,” Iglesias said. “Find the nearest track and alternate between hard and easy laps; sprinting one of the laps. Record how long it takes to sprint that one lap. Every track session, try to beat the previous session’s sprint time.”

3. Practice strides.
“Try to incorporate strides—slightly less intense sprints—into your runs,” Iglesias suggested. “Start by running at a speed that is fast, but not a full sprint, for 20 seconds. Do three to four strides at the end of every run, with a short rest in-between.”

See also: How to Run Strides

4. Include hill training.
“Adding hills to your routine will strengthen your calves, hamstrings and glutes,” said Iglesias. “All these muscles are important for the horsepower in running. The stronger the muscles, the more power you will have while running. Using the incline on the treadmill will also help control your pace.”

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