Marathon, simple methods and precious tips to train at your best

In this article, we will talk about the cross-country race, its characteristics and how to prepare for this event. The races, cross-country or half cross-country, are those that are held on the distances of half marathon and marathon, 21.097Km and 42.195km. As you can imagine these are races where using resistance is key.

A basic requirement to prepare a half marathon? Have a good endurance.

What are the requirements to be able to prepare for a cross-country race?

The main requirement to be able to prepare for a half marathon, for example, is to have good endurance. What is meant by this term? Let's not get confused, we often use the term resistance when we talk about aerobic activities as much as in reality the right one would be endurance, let's see the differences.
What is resistance?
Resistance is the ability of the body or a part of it to sustain prolonged efforts by optimizing the use of available force. In practice, you perform an exercise to the maximum of your ability until the end. This term is therefore associated with a concept of strength.
Runner in action during a marathon
What is endurance?
Endurance, on the other hand, means the ability of our cardiovascular system to make a certain effort for a certain period of time while optimizing the use of oxygen. Running a half marathon or rowing for 5km, therefore, requires endurance.

There are different types of endurance: short, medium and long term. We will take care of the latter, which starts at 8-10 minutes and lasts up to one or more hours.

How do you train to improve your endurance?

To improve your endurance there are many methods of training but the most used are: slow, with its possible variables, and/or the very long or cross training.
Endurance training is important to achieve your goals in cross-country skiing.

The classic slow

A method in which you run at a slower rate, between 40 and 55 seconds, compared to your reference speed. Its length is variable, depending on the race (marathon or half marathon) that we are going to prepare can provide from 10 to 22 km. Its use is recommended the day before or the day after the demanding workouts or races.

The slow with variations

This method is widespread among professional runners who need to make the slower more stimulating and training. It provides variations in speed each distance set, for example, 5Km at a rate of 50 "slower than your VR (reference speed) + 2Km at a rate of 30" slower than your VR + 1 km at a rate of 50 "slower than your VR and so on.
All the methods to train the half marathon: let's find out together.

The regeneration slow

This other variant provides a race at a speed of 60-70 seconds slower than the VR and is used as a recovery after races such as the marathon or half marathon. This type of training can also be used when you can’t maintain the pace of slow classic.
To run a half marathon, in training it is sufficient to run a maximum of 18 consecutive kilometers. Some people recommend 22-25km but this isn’t necessary, this length serves more to give mental security.

The very long is used to create all the typical organic adaptations such as a half marathon, mental and muscular, and will teach you to stay under stress for a longer period. In case you are preparing a marathon the very long must be about 36-38 km and its cadence must be distributed over 24 weeks of preparation, about 6-7 times must be performed.

Trail running in the nature
The long classic: its speed ranges from 40 to 70 seconds slower than the VL. As already mentioned for those who prepare a half marathon the maximum distance can reach 22-25 km while for those who prepare a marathon the distance reaches up to 36-38 km.


Endurance cross-country running, marathon or half marathon can also be developed with alternative sports to running such as swimming, boxing, team sports or by performing activities such as functional training. These types of activities require different but quite similar muscular commitments on the organic and cardiovascular levels. Activities other than running such as functional training can be recommended in the weekly training schedule of any runner as it also improves the strength component of the entire body.

Another popular method is to create running routines and exercises, an example is to intersperse blocks of 2-4 km with small free body circuits or with small tools.

3 mental tips for a beginner

If you are a beginner in this sport and your goal is to run a half marathon starts very gradually without getting caught up in the desire to run from the start great distances. Start by adding 2 km to your workouts. Start by adding 2km to your midweek workouts, if you're used to running 8-10km at every training session, extend it to 12km. In addition, another tip is to insert an additional training session during the week while maintaining a distance less than that of the other days 6-8 km.
As mentioned, to optimise the endurance work in function of running a half marathon, proceed gradually. Do not think you can run 10 km and immediately the time after you can run up 20 km and so on. A beginner will have to increase the duration of their run by about 1-2Km per week. Once you reach 12-14Km it's time to insert different means of training such as repeated, progressive and cross training.

Core stability, proprioception and strength exercises for the lower limbs should be part of your routine. It only takes 30 minutes for each training session.

Schedule each workout, remember to include in your schedule both slow, very long and repeated workouts. Never forget that the main objective will be to pass the goal of the half marathon, not focus on time but on achieving the goal set. For a novice runner, the rhythm during training should be that of the CRF (race with easy breathing), in short, a rhythm that allows you to run while remaining in a position to speak with some ease.

Not only running but also exercises

Preparing for a half marathon or a whole marathon involves a great deal of mental and physical effort. The many miles spent running during your training compromise the integrity of your joints and muscles and for this reason, you must include strength and prevention training in your weekly table.
Core stability, proprioception and strength exercises for the lower limbs should be included in your routine, just 30 minutes for each training session, so it won't take too much time and you can organise your workouts without problems.
Running is important for your workout, but exercises even more
The mind as an element interconnected with the body is now accepted by all professionals in the running sphere and beyond. For a runner of long distances, the mind is a very important element and, like the body, it must also be trained. In a Half Marathon or Marathon when the kilometers begin to add up and become many, the mind becomes fundamental to move forward in our sporting enterprise. It is no coincidence that the coaches of professionals in every field of sport associate the athletic training sessions of Mental Training in the broadest sense. In fact, Mental Training is applied in football, triathlon, freediving, running, etc.. The fields of application are endless, not only in sports but also to deal with stressful situations of everyday life.
In fact, Mental Training is applied in football, triathlon, freediving, running, etc.. The fields of application are endless, not only in sports but also to deal with stressful situations of everyday life.
Group of people running on the road
Without going into the specifics of this type of training these are some tips that I recommend you take into account during your period of preparation.

  1. Try to run focusing on breathing or try to mentally hum songs you like.
  2. If you are used to running while listening to music, try turning it off, you will enjoy some new benefits in terms of mental well-being, you will learn to listen to yourself and to feel your body's response to fatigue.
  3. Changing your route, always repeating the same route risks making your training monotonous. Try to change the route and almost feel the feeling of getting lost, you will be more concentrated and more stimulated.

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