Marathon Madness, Part II!

Marathon Madness, Part II!

jonathan cane headshot III

In light of the upcoming NYC marathon on Nov 3, we will be posting Q&As with medical, fitness & wellness experts to support runners before — and after — the big day. Jonathan Cane, co-founder of City Coach Multi-Sport & endurance athlete coach shares great training advice to keep runners on the right track — literally.

Q: What is a common mistake for marathon runners in training?

The most common mistake is doing the long runs too fast. It’s natural to want to test things out and make sure that you can handle your goal race pace, but taking your legs out for a 20 mile test drive at projected marathon pace is a sure fire recipe for leaving your best run in the park rather than peaking on race day. It’s prudent to include smaller segments at marathon pace during some long runs, but most long runs should be done at MGP + :15-:45/mile.

Q: How can a marathon runner prevent burnout in marathon training?

It’s perfectly normal to struggle with motivation at times. Even the most dedicated athlete will have issues from time-to-time. A little cross training, a change of scenery, or even (gasp) a rest day, can work periodically. The key to your training week is the long run, so if we need to make alterations, it’s best to try to make them during the week, and stay on schedule for the long runs.

Q: Should a marathon runner alternate running surfaces when training?

Running on soft surfaces such as Central Park’s bridle path, or even a treadmill, is a nice way to decrease the pounding that your body endures. Lots of mileage can take its toll, and the more forgiving surface on easy days is a smart strategy.

Q: How often should marathon runners incorporate hill work or interval work into their training?

I usually complement the weekly long run with one or two “quality” days of training. That quality can be hill work, tempo runs, or intervals done on the road or track. A typical regimen would be intervals on Tuesday, tempo or hills on Thursday, and the long run on Saturdays. It’s important to remember that a marathoner doesn’t need super intense work – the main goal is developing endurance, so you don’t need to go cultivate high end speed for a good marathon.

Q: At what point should marathon runners start to reduce their mileage?

Begin to taper three weeks before the race. If you decrease your training too much it can negatively impact your conditioning. I usually have my runners cut back by about 25% each week of the taper. Keep the intensity for the first 7-10 days of the taper, and then back off on speed as well. If timed right, you’ll be properly rested but still fit on race day. 

Want more? See Matt’s advice (and great exercises!) to help keep runners’ bodies in line, and join us for our pre & post marathon masterclasses here at Kinected:

Wed, 10/23: 7-8:15pm with Bennalldra Williams

Sun, 11/10: 2-3:15pm with Matt McCulloch & Elliot Fishbein, PT

Also be sure to check out our in-store Pilates for (post!) Marathoners series at Jack Rabbit Sports: Saturday, 11/16 at 8:30-9:30am — FREE!  (JRS’s Union Square location, RSVP to

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