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I basically have just run my first marathon, london last sunday. I ran a time of 3h50 which I was quite pleased with but I am pretty sure I can run faster. Although I am not running atm, just resting up a bit, I was wondering if I could bounce a few ideas off you guys. I was averaging just 8 minutes miles up unto 18 miles, the first 15 were very comfortable and then it start falling to peices. Anyway I can improve my endurance over the last 8 miles.



What were your long runs like when you trained for it...distance, duration, frequency? If you are consistent with your long runs (2 1/2 to 3 hrs max should be plenty) and you have a strong aerobic base, you should have the endurance to run 26.2.
It could also be a pacing problem...perhaps you started out a few seconds too quick and you paid for it in the last few miles.

You can try to practice your pacing during your long runs. For example in a 20 miler, start off at your normal easy pace and pick it up a bit in the last 5-6 miles. It does not have to be all-out race effort...just a pace that you can still maintain but is still somewhat faster than your starting pace. The goal of the workout is to get your body used to the whole idea of starting out easy and finishing quick.

A tougher variation on the same theme will be to divide the same run into thirds. Start out easy for the first 5 miles, gradually move up to marathon race pace for the middle 10, and then accelerate to 1/2 marathon pace or faster in the last 5. This I won't recommend you doing too often unless you are quite close to your race (perhaps 6-8 weeks out) and you have a solid base of steady 20-22 milers to back you up.