Marathons boil down to the ultimate test in strength and endurance. Famous people like Oprah Winfrey, former President George W. Bush, Katie Holmes, Pamela Anderson, Will Ferrell, and Ryan Reynolds have all put in the dedicated training that goes with completing the 26.2-mile course. It is by no means a simple feat and requires dedicated training to complete.

To compete and excel in a marathon, the proper steps can make a difference.

Track your training

Keep track of each detail like daily mileage and run times and how your body is feeling. Also, make a note of race distances and their times. You’ll be able to notice any patterns and correctly adjust your training schedule.

Boost mileage

Running experts recommend increasing weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent to avoid possible injury. You’ll slowly build up your endurance and stay safe while doing it.

Cut back

Successful training for a marathon also means knowing when to take it easy and give yourself rest days. Allow the body to recover and cut back every third or fourth week. Reduce your mileage a bit so you don’t strain yourself.

Mix it up

Marathon runners believe in three or four day workouts. That means one long run for increasing distance, two shorter runs that build strength and speed, and a recovery run day.

Switch up intensity

The body is undergoing tremendous exertion when training for a marathon, so it’s best for your health to alternate with a hard day and an easy day.

Utilize technology

It’s beneficial to see how your resting heart rate is doing, so a smartwatch is a great item to use for recording the rate and finding the eventual baseline number. Keep track of these stats in your training log.

Start cross-training

Your body will get stronger with moderate intensity cross-training one to two days weekly. Swimming, rowing, and cycling are three fine examples. Cross-training is also useful for the days you’re tired of running and want to mix your training routine up a bit.

Start strength training

Lifting weights or doing yoga twice a week can also fortify the body with endurance. While this kind of training helps with your marathon running, you’ll also see other benefits that last long after you run that marathon.

Listen to your body

Smart marathoners listen to their body. If you feel tired, you need to rest. Never ignore how your body is responding to training or you risk injury.