How to run a marathon faster – with Adam Holland

It is one thing to run a marathon fast, but for my 5th interview for the “How to run a marathon faster series“, I welcome someone who does this time and time again. Adam Holland. Adam is an extreme endurance athlete who knows a thing or two about running a marathon fast. He has ran almost 400 marathon/ultras, and has ran 10in10 in an impressive average time of 2:45:51. With numerous marathon and ultra marathon wins to his name, Adam is someone who knows how to run a marathon fast.

Adam with another win

How long have you been running, and what is your marathon PB?

I’ve been running for about 18 years. Started at school because my friends did it. My marathon PB at the moment is 2:24:24.

Have you always been fast, tell me about your first marathon?

At school I started off as being one of the ones at the back and worked my way up. Overtime of course I’ve got faster and I’m still getting faster. My first marathon was Adingdon on the 16th October 2005. I remember it being tough and the furthest I had run before this was a half marathon. A managed a respectable time off 3:36:31.

Adam and Steve will have shared many marathons and many podiums together

What did you do to improve your marathon time?

I never really focused on improving the marathon time. But I did find running short distance races helped improve my marathon time. I managed to keep my speed up as I also played hockey. This year I wanted to beat my marathon time so I was more focused and I did achieve it running 2:24:24.

Flying feet

Tell me your top tips to running a marathon faster.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! That’s not something you expect to read on a top tip. Basically enjoy your first marathon and get to know what your body is capable of. Get used to running faster than your marathon pace so your body gets used to the pace that is more comfortable but faster than you would normally run.

You can have fun when running, no matter the pace

Adam’s top tip is to get used to running faster than your desired pace, with shorter distances. This is something that I strongly believe in, and an area I want to focus on throughout 2019. My aim is to improve my marathon time, and a tactic to achieve this will be to do a lot of speed work and get my body comfortable with running much faster than needed over the longer distance. I have ended 2018 with a sub 20 Parkrun, and this sets the benchmark for me for 2019. Realistically speaking I think I will need to be at low 18 mins to be on track for my sub3 marathon attempt.

My 2018 benchmark, time to #pickupthepace

What’s your next target? I hope this blog series is helping, if you have any tips you want to share please let me know.

Adam just chilling, he didn’t even notice the camera (haha)

There and Back Again

Check out Adam’s next adventure and support him HERE. This is what he had to say:

On the 22nd March 2019, I am running the JoGLE (John O’Groats to Land’s End) an 860 mile road route, in 17 days. I will be running on average 50 miles a day with a team from Ultra Running Limited.

However, not content with this, I intend to run back again, whilst attempting a Guinness World Record, for the fastest time to complete Land’s End to John O’Groats. I am aiming for 9 days.

To make this possible, I am fundraising for Kids Run Free, a charity which creates running opportunities for children, igniting their passion for sport and encouraging them to be healthier, happier and more confident. A cause that is close to my heart. Every child deserves the opportunity to realise their potential through running, no matter their ability or age.

For more information about me, please visit my website:

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