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Marathon Shape

What is the Marathon Shape

The marathon shape is an invention of Runalyze to optimize prognoses for long distances, that are based on the effective VO2max. These prognoses normally can't consider whether the athlete has the optimal fitness or endurance for a marathon. The marathon shape is the solution for this problem, as the prognoses are continually adjusted for missing fitness.

To calculate the marathon shape, the kilometers made a week as well as every single run according to length are looked at. Other physical activities (e.g. cycling) are not going to be considered. The target is set to a calculated value according to the athlete's current best possible marathon time, based on the VO2max. The kilometers and the distance of the weekly long run are derived from typical marathon training plans.

By default, these calculations are based on the training of the last six months, while the kilometers made a week count 2/3 and the long distance runs account for 1/3 of the 'Marathon Shape'. These parameters can be changed individually by every athlete.

Details on your current Marathon Shape

If you are logged in, the marathon shape view shows you your current condition. Please also have a look at our blog article about the marathon shape view.


There are three types of configuration settings for the marathon form:

  • Days for long jogs/weekly mileage: These specify which time period should be considered. Although a concrete marathon preparation usually takes only three months, the foundation is laid much earlier. Therefore, the last six months for the weekly mileage and the last ten weeks for the long runs are considered by default. (The default "minimum" is used if you have not been maintaining your data in Runalyze for long)
  • Factor for weekly mileage: This factor indicates the weighting of the weekly mileage. This factor can be varied depending on the training philosophy (between 0.0 and 1.0).
  • Minimal distance for scaling (prev. '... for long runs'): This value indicates the distance at which the scaling and evaluation of long runs starts. This value should never be set too high (> 25 km), since in this case runs over the required distance are disproportionately weighted. The standard setting of 13 km should only be changed in case of doubt.

Exemplary targets

Effective VO2max Optimal marathon Expected weekly mileage Expected long run
25 5:34:18 ca. 39 km ca. 22 km
30 4:49:48 ca. 47 km ca. 24 km
35 4:16:10 ca. 57 km ca. 26 km
40 3:49:38 ca. 66 km ca. 28 km
45 3:28:17 ca. 75 km ca. 29 km
50 3:10:41 ca. 85 km ca. 30 km
55 2:55:56 ca. 94 km ca. 31 km
60 2:43:24 ca. 104 km ca. 32 km
65 2:32:36 ca. 114 km ca. 33 km
70 2:23:14 ca. 124 km ca. 34 km

Other distances

A frequent question is whether the marathon form can also be used for other distances. In fact, the marathon form is also used to adjust the prognosis for shorter or longer distances. The following table shows which marathon form (at least) is necessary to obtain the "optimal" prognosis.

Distance Required marathon shape
5 km ca. 7 %
10 km ca. 17 %
15 km ca. 28 %
21 km ca. 43 %
42 km 100 %
50 km ca. 123 %
100 km ca. 288 %
100 mi ca. 518 %

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