What Does it Take To Run A Marathon?
We are in an era where a sub 2-hour marathon has been proven possible as part of human potential in elite sports. But how exactly does Eliud Kipchoge complete such a mind-blowing achievement? Recently, researchers have studied elite marathoners to determine the three main pillars that form the ultimate marathon performance. Sit back and relax as we break down these components as well as how to best utilize EvoLab to optimize your marathon time!
VO2max, or the total rate of oxygen you can consume during exercise, is the first performance component of marathon performance.
Your running VO2max chart over time is available on EvoLab. It is influenced by age, gender, pace, and heart rate during road running workouts. As VO2max remains a difficult variable to train and improve, you should not expect drastic changes over time.
VO2max workouts are among the hardest to create and complete as they require to spend at least 10-15 minutes above 90% of VO2max during a given session. At this intensity, you are struggling to catch your breath and you are unable to talk. They do however provide tremendous benefits to overall health. Thankfully, we have created two of those workouts for you to follow:
2. Threshold Pace
Threshold pace refers to the running intensity at which your body activates its own fire alarm. Beyond this point, the body has a limited amount of time before having to slow down and recover. The % of threshold pace that an athlete is able to sustain for 26 miles is highly correlated with marathon performance. Elite athletes are able to hold a steady pace very close to their threshold pace during a full marathon, pushing their bodies right to the limit of what they can sustain for 26 miles.
Your threshold pace chart over time is available on EvoLab. It is influenced by heart rate and pace during road running workouts.
To improve threshold pace, it is best to focus on time spent around this specific intensity pace. From our COROS Threshold Pace Zone Model – Aerobic Power, Threshold, and Above Threshold – are all ideal zones to target when looking to improve this variable. Thankfully, we have created training plans and workouts to best improve your threshold pace:
- 8-Week Threshold Development – Training Plan
- Beginner Threshold Development – Workout
- Advanced Threshold Development – Workout
3. Running Economy
Lastly, running economy refers to the amount of energy you are requiring for a given speed. See this as your fuel economy in your car- the more economical it is, the further it can travel for a given amount of fuel. Running economy is the third marathon performance component, but definitely the most trainable of all and what sets elite athlete apart from amateurs.
With the POD 2, each run now provides many additional advanced metrics that give you a great deal of insights about your running form. They are available within the Training Hub in each activity page that used the POD 2.
While running economy remains a highly complex component, we invite you to take a look at our POD 2 Metrics for Increased Performance blog for how to interpret and improve each of those metrics. Feel free to contact COROS Coaches for a full biomechanics analysis from your data!
If you would like your own training questions answered, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to share insights!
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