Want to get faster over a marathon distance? Start using parkrun in your training and see how it can improve your training and race times

Parkrun can help to boost your marathon motivation and remind you why you love running. Pic credit: Girls Run the World

It helps you to run faster

All good marathon training plans, irrespective of whether you are a first time marathon runner or going for a Good for Age place, incorporate speed work (check out the GRTW marathon training plans here). Running faster, makes you a faster runner. But no one likes the thought of speedwork, right? Step forward parkrun.

‘Going faster than your goal marathon pace over a shorter distance helps to get your legs used to turning over quicker and challenges your body in a different way,’ explains GRTW founder and coach, Rachael Woolston. ‘It’s hard to push without having others around you to help carry you through, hence parkrun.’

And of course, it helps you start getting used to feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable, a sensation that comes to us all at some point in a marathon.

Practise marathon pace on tired legs

You should never do your long slow weekend runs at your marathon pace,’ says GRTW founder and coach, Rachael Woolston. ‘But in peak phase training, you should do some of your run at this pace.

And the perfect way to do this as by sandwiching parkrun into the middle of your long run, or the final 3 miles at the end.

‘When you’re feeling fatigued, the thought of picking up your pace on your own is hard, so parkrun provides the perfect tool and focus,‘ adds Rachael. ‘This allows you to replicate the race experience of running at marathon pace on tired legs, without wrecking yourself by doing marathon pace for too long in training.’

Keeps you motivated

At some point in everyone’s marathon training journey, the motivation for those long runs when you are tired get much harder. And as you get more tired, you can start getting irritable and lose your perspective. A chilled out social Parkrun can be just the antidote to help remind you why you love running so much.

‘I’ve coached hundreds of runners and it takes its toll mentally on everyone, whether your goal is to finish or PB,’ explains Rachael Woolston. ‘Go to parkrun and run with someone you haven’t seen for ages or who has just started running – it’s a great reminder that we do this because we love it.’

Subscribe to access exclusive on demand training programmes, training plans and coaching calls on the Girls Run the World training app. Try for free for 14 days on a trial membership, and use the code GRTWTB for a lifetime 30% discount if you decide to continue.