Part 2 How to Run a Marathon

In part one we covered off interval training, hill sprints, weights and technique as part of your marathon training. Health Bird checks in with Neil Russell from Atleta - who's trained celebrities, models and athletes - for part two of his expert run-training tips. 

Strength and Power

This element is often completely neglected by runners, but strength and power training significantly increases your maximal power output which is why runners should include it in their weekly training program.

The higher power you can potentially produce per stride, the lower the percentage of maximal power(effort) required per stride, thus improving running efficiency and speed.

All strength and power programs should begin with general conditioning exercises and then progress to more running-specific power-based exercises. A general conditioning exercise could be a body weight squat or lunge.

Perform 1-2 sessions per week

Neil puts clients through their paces

Neil puts clients through their paces


Tight hip flexors, hamstrings and calf complexes (to name a few) are the downfall of many runners. Not only will tightness lead to poor running posture, incorrect neuromuscular patterns and eventually injury, it'll also slow you down.

A small amount of flexibility or mobility training should be incorporated into all sessions (in the warm up and cool down). Additionally, you should complete specific flexibility and active release sessions, i.e. stretching, foam rolling and massage ball release.

Use a combination static and dynamic stretches to maximise flexibility as different muscles respond differently to different stretching techniques.

Perform 3-4 individual flexibility/mobility/release sessions per week

Rest and Recovery

There’s no room for being a hero and skipping recovery including rest days, recovery sessions and techniques.

Rest days allow your muscles and endocrine system to bounce back, additionally every 4-6 weeks you should have a light week to allow your body to adapt/improve, or else you will keep fatiguing and actually start to see a decline in your performance in training and racing. This is called overtraining.

Recovery sessions are a great idea on the day following big training sessions or races. This can include pool/ocean work, or light walking and mobilization (try wearing compression gear) and help increase blood flow to the areas with causing further fatigue, meaning that you can get back to training harder sooner.

Post session acute recovery techniques should be completed after every session and include your cool down exercises, nutritional supplementation (protein, simple carbohydrates, hydration, and electrolytes) and contrast temperature showering/ice baths.

Tapering should be factored into your program, depending on the race distance, a week out from the race. In it's place, perform a few speed sessions and short runs. Also make sure you're getting at least 8 hours sleep a night for maximal physical recovery.

When used well these rest days, recovery sessions and techniques equal a better recovery from every session and race, allowing you to train harder and avoid injury, thus optimising performance on every race day.

Perform at least one rest day per week ideally with a recovery session and utilise your recovery techniques daily.

Get your run on

Get your run on


For more information on how to prepare for running season, download that FREE Running E -book from IsoWhey® Sports which features articles from top trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and thletes.