Training for a Marathon (4): Race Strategy for Marathons and Half Marathons

Part 4 of our training for a marathon series sees SEA Games marathoner Melvin Wong share his recommended race strategy and common mistakes new runners make in a race


So you signed up for a marathon or half-marathon. It doesn't matter, because you are looking for various ways to improve your running training in preparation of the big day. Over the next month, will bring you useful running tips from two national marathoners in the lead up to race day and beyond.

So if you are into running, stick around and read because who knows? You may just pick up some useful new tips you didn't know before that will give you that little edge to improve your running game.

Whether you are gunning for a new personal best or simply wish to finish a marathon with a decent time, adopting a good race strategy for your run can build you up for success, while not having a race plan could see you struggle to cross the finish line.


But just what exactly are the key things you should keep in mind when executing your race strategy? Assuming that you have already been spending a significant amount of time training your base levels of fitness for running, knowing how to break your race down into parts and the doing the right thing at the right time could be a good way for you to bring it home, according to Melvin Wong, Singapore SEA Games marathoner.

He said: "In pursuing a good time for your marathon, I like to break the race down into small little segments. So the first part will always be starting off really gentle, really easy. Making sure that you don't get your heart rate too high up."


"After that, the next portion is really to try and build confidence. Try to make sure that you are okay and are comfortable at your goal pace or are building up to it. Once you've reached a good confidence level, that's where you can say okay now it's time to be smooth and relaxed," he added.

The goal is to make sure you can maintain this same level of effort for a long duration, so setting the right goal pace for yourself should be done weeks or even months ahead of the race while you are training up for the marathon.


Sharing that it is also a race strategy he adopts himself in his ideal marathon, Melvin said: "I want to make sure that I can maintain this effort until about the 35-36km mark. I know it's tough but if you have confidence in your training and execute the plan well - don't go over excited, don't go too fast out at the start, then you'll be able to bring it back home very very well."

So what are some of the common mistakes from runners who are beginners beyond starting out a race too fast?


"To be able to finish strongly is a good thing. You don't have to really sprint the last 5 to 6KM, but being able to maintain good form is crucial. I think the one thing that let's people down most of the time is the last 5 to 6KM of a marathon, the body fatigues and the form breaks down very fast," answered Melvin.

"So if we can minimise that, you are actually on your way to a very good time."

#Running #MarathonTraining #MelvinWong