Threshold running How you can become a faster marathon runner

Marathon runnersThreshold running is a crucial part of any marathon training plan. At Full Potential, we call it the bedrock of distance running.

It builds your speed endurance, which is the ability to run at a fast pace for a sustained period of time.

Without working on your speed endurance, you’ll never achieve your full racing potential. It’s the most important session you’ll have in your plan.

Threshold running explained

Threshold running helps you run faster, for longer.

In scientific terms, threshold running increases your lactic threshold, which is the point at which your body fatigues at a certain pace.

The main benefit of threshold running is that your muscles get used to running at this effort level. As you continue your training, you'll find yourself able to sustain this type of fast running for longer.

The most important thing is to run at an effort level between 8 – 8.5 out of 10 (1 being rest and 10 being flat-out effort). This level of exertion allows you to stress your body to a manageable level, but also lets you recover, adapt and improve.

You can do 1 or 2 threshold running sessions per week. You might not get it right first time. But keep trying. After a few weeks you'll notice a huge difference. Your fast runs will be quicker and your slow, steady runs will feel like a breeze.

Threshold running tips

BeginnerThreshold runner

    • 10 minute warm –up (slow jog/ brisk walk)
    • 4 x 3 mins of threshold effort running with a 90 second walk in-between
    • 10 minute cooldown/ stretch


    • 10 minute warm-up
    • 3 x 6 mins of threshold running with 75 second jog in-between
    • 10 minute cooldown/ stretch


    • 10 minute warm-up
    • 3 x 10 mins of threshold running with 60 second jog in-between
    • 10 minute cooldown/ stretch

Quick tip: squats for runners

Squats are a great exercise for any aspiring or experienced runner. They build power and endurance in the quads and glutes, allowing you to become a stronger runner.