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Marathon is a classic distance of 42,195km and is the ultimate challenge for a runner. I ran Hamburg Marathon a couple of years ago, and I learned some lessons from the experienced marathon runners that I think many cyclists can take advantage of:
1 – Focus on a main goal
Marathon runners are very selective when they plan their season. They choose two or three main goals during the year and use their effort to make a top performance on race day. I know that cyclists do more races than runners do, but selecting specific races for peaking is recommended.
One of the significant differences between Lance Armstrong and other riders is that he focused on the Tour de France as his primary goal. His opponents had several different plans (World cup, Pro Tour, World Championships, Olympics). However, with only a few main targets, it is possible to reach a higher level of performance in these hand-picked races.
2 – Make a training plan with a specific goal
Marathon runners have a training plan focusing on peaking their form at the season’s main event. It is much easier to stick to a training plan when you can see a finish line. And that is precisely what marathon runners have: The last day in their training calendar is the marathon itself.
3 – Use a tapering protocol
Marathon runners use different tapering protocols the last two or three weeks before the marathon race day. But, again, these runners are very selective and are not afraid of deselecting races as a part of the preparation for the big event.
4 – Train with higher intensity
Even though a marathon is a long-distance event, most training is performed at a relatively high intensity compared to long-distance cycling. Therefore, marathon runners achieve better results in less time by training with higher intensity.
Learn more from marathon runners: More lessons learned from marathon runners.