How to run a marathon faster – with Steve Edwards

The “How to run a Marathon Faster series” has looked at a number of people to share their experience. For the 7th in the series I am pleased to bring tips from running legend Steve Edwards. It is one thing to run a marathon fast, but this man does it time and time again and again and again… Steve holds many world records on his way to 1,000 marathons. His stats are very impressive:

Total official marathon races – 854 Average finish time 3:18:46


If you break down these 854 marathons Steve has ran:
– 325 Sub 3:15s
– 500 Sub 3:20s
– 770 Sub 3:30s
– All Sub 4:00 and no DNFs … Yet!
That average means Steve has ran a competitive marathon race every 13 days for 31 years.

Steve has ran 100 marathons abroad in 34 countries. He has 65 marathon wins under his belt. It is clear to see that Steve knows a thing or two about running a marathon faster, so I’m really pleased I can share his top tips.

Steve reaching 800 marathons

1) How long have you been running?

I’ve been running since 1981 when at the age of 18 I entered and ran my first ever race which was the Coventry Marathon.

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

I’ve never considered myself a fast runner over any distance but I guess it’s all relative depending on who you compare yourself with. Regarding that first ever marathon at Coventry, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, how to train or prepare for that sort of distance, I didn’t even run in proper running shoes. I suppose you could say ignorance was bliss but some how I managed to finish in 3:38.
I’d always been very active throughout my childhood though, played football, did martial arts and also did weights & circuit training after I left school so there was a good base of strength & fitness before I started although at the time I wouldn’t have realised how important that was!
The man, the myth the legend 

3) What did you do to improve your marathon time?

Initially I improved my finish times by running more miles in training and running more races. Then I started to structure my training more by including tempo runs and interval sessions. I never stopped doing strength and core work though, I’ve continued using weights throughout my life to maintain all over body strength and in recent years have done more core work than ever.

This has certainly not only helped maintain running efficiency & speed but also longevity in what is a very demanding sport.


Always run happy

4) Tell me your top tips to running a marathon faster.

To run a marathon faster I would definitely advise doing the core & strength work to help make you a more efficient and stronger runner. I would also advise including off road running on softer but more demanding ground in your training. It’s not only kinder to your joints but will also help improve strength & stability. Building speed sessions into your training, i.e.tempo runs, intervals and also hill reps are also a good idea, the latter I would especially recommend for building strength & stamina. Also to join a club and train with faster runners once or twice a week, that will make you more competitive and you always
train harder with other than on your own!


Much more to come from Steve

What great tips from a running legend. More core work, and training with faster people are the two biggest things I take away from this that I dont do enough of. If you want to follow Steve check out these links: Twitter Facebook YouTube

Steve is fundraising for Kate’s Home Nursing charity, please support the 1000 marathon challenge by making a small donation HERE

3 thoughts on “How to run a marathon faster – with Steve Edwards

  1. Such a great blog!
    I have to agree with Steve Edwards about the core and strength work.
    I’m hypermobile, have been all my life, but I’ve only recently really focussed on strength to help with the Hypermobility. I do a TRX session and a Strength class ever week at my local leisure centre. I prefer classes as they give me more variety and there is a lot of laughter! I usually run directly before them as I don’t find the leisure centre warm up adequate for me. I’ve been fairly obsessive about these two sessions for about 18 months now. And, guess what? My running speeds have gone up! It’s too much of a coincidence for it not to be the classes. Also, now our dogs are old enough we run canni x with them. They love it and we can fool ourselves into thinking we can run that fast without dog help. But it does teach your legs to turn over faster!
    I haven’t cut the amount of running that I was doing, in fact I’m probably doing more short fast running than ever before! I’ve got more overall fitness and less injuries.

    My best brag is that I was almost able to lift a local farmer’s gate plus the post it was still attached to back into position after it crashed to the ground a week ago. I could manage the weight, but I couldn’t quite manage the size. A year ago I wouldn’t have even considered trying!


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