Most folks don’t associate shorter interval workouts with marathon training. Greg McMillan has written a great blog post on the case for short, fast workouts when training to run longer distances. The primary benefits being:
- Short, fast repeats improve running economy and marathoners need running economy too.
- Short, fast repeats break the monotony of training.
- Short, fast repeats allow you to train faster than marathon race pace which makes marathon pace seem easier.
My current training includes the occasional set of 200s, 400s or 800s. I agree with the benefits Greg lists in his article. It’s certain that short, fast repeats by themselves haven’t made me a faster runner (it’s hard to isolate a particular type of training and its benefit) but they’ve certainly been part of the toolkit I’ve used.
The blog post goes into a lot detail about why and how to include speed during marathon training along with sample workouts. Read the full article here: https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/speed-work-for-marathoners/.