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4 Easy Ways to Lower Your Marathon Time

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Experienced endurance athletes can blast past plateaus with a few tweaks to their nutrition and training. Use these tips to set a new personal record:

1. Eat and drink more.

To improve your performance and speed recovery, fuel your body with a pre- and post-workout snack. Choose snacks with 10 to 30 grams of protein and 30 to 90 grams of carbs (for example, chocolate milk or toast with peanut butter). Hydrate with 16 ounces of water two hours before you train and 6 to 8 ounces of water every 10 to 15 minutes during your session. For intense workouts lasting more than an hour, opt for a sports drink.

2. Do massage on recovery days.

The most important day of your week is your day off. In addition to plenty of downtime and light stretching, give yourself a massage. Using a foam roll or tennis ball, spend 30 to 60 seconds working through sore spots. This will help your body recover faster and perform better. Click here for a sample routine using the foam roll.

3. Change up your tunes.

If you speed up the number of steps you take per minute, you can cover more ground in less time. You can use your favorite music to set a goal pace of about 90 steps per minute. Find a song that has 90 beats per minute (BPM) and practice running with the beat of the music. Use this site to measure the BPM of your favorite songs.

4. Train faster.

If your training primarily focuses on long, slow runs, it's time to vary your pace. Incorporating interval training can make you a stronger, more efficient runner. Twice a week, perform an interval training session. Click here for a sample interval routine.

Tags: Race, Energy System Development, Training, Energy, Running