How To Master Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pace?
To maintain sub 3 hour marathon pace in a marathon you need to hold 6:50 per mile.
If you are from Europe or from another country outside of the United States it means 4:15 per kilometer.
I have continually preached this at RunDreamAchieve. You absolutely must get used to running at or below your goal race pace in training. You will drop significant time off your current personal bests if you do.
What Are The Best Workouts To Run A Marathon Under 3 Hours?
Running a sub 3 hour marathon requires a very strong mileage build up.
It also going to require that you increase the pace of your long runs.
If anything helped me drop from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 for the marathon it was this key tactic.
Get away from thinking long slow long runs will help you break the 3 hour marathon.
A sub 3 hour marathon training plan absolutely must encompass this.
Below are 3 Key workouts I suggest you try implementing.
As stated above – gradually extend the amount of time you are spending at or below 6:50 per mile.
The trick is getting your 3 hour marathon goal pace to feel more in control and easy.
For example, if you gradually extend 4-9 miles of a 20 miler running at 6:05-15 mile pace you are going to succeed.
I want to stress one key point regarding this though.
Do not run all your long runs at a faster pace.
This is a great way to burn out and get stale.
Remember, quality over quantity.
I cannot stress this enough.
I would advise running one long run harder one weekend followed by a weekend long run at a very easy pace.
This ensures you have a good balance between hard vs easy training.
Why Is This Important?
The long run will soon become the hardest workout you do if you implement this trick in your training.
The reason I dropped 21 minutes off an already respectable time (2:43:36) was this.
I increased the speed at which I was conducting my long run.
This is what helped me get under the 2:20 marathon barrier.
Repeat miles at 5K race pace.
Why is this important?
First, you are running at speeds around 90% of your max heart rate.
Maintaining a sub 3 marathon will involve being able to maintain several miles well under 6:50 mile pace.
Remember, there are ups and downs to the marathon distance.
If you run a few of your miles in your marathon too fast this will provide some buffer if you slow down.
The way to ensure you are ready for this is some hard mile repeats.
Here are a few of the workouts I did in preparing to break the sub 3 hour marathon.
Early in Season
4x1mile at 5:15-20 per rep w/full recovery
6x1mile at 5:10 per rep w/4 minute recovery
6x1mile at 4:46 with 2-3 minute rest recovery
10×1 mile at 4:55 pace with 2-3 mine rest recovery
Early on I would advise on giving yourself full recovery and gradually lowering your rest as you get fitter.
I would advise on a 12 to 16 week marathon training schedule in prepping for your next “thon”.
Be patient and give yourself time for your body to adapt. Scott Overall gave some great pointers on the 3 hr marathon you may want to check out as well.
You already know a sub 3 hour marathon is no joke and it is very fast marathon time.
The Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro course has now launched. If you have as your goal to break the 3 hour marathon sign up today.
My second hardest workout I did in breaking the sub 2 hour marathon barrier was very strategic tempo runs.
The same principles for dropping time whether you are a beginner or advanced.
Obviously, seeing you are focused on running under the 3 hour marathon barrier tells me you are advanced.
That being said the fundamentals are universal.
Train faster than you want to race at.
Always be harder on yourself in training than you ever will be in the race.
If you push yourself and balance between the hard vs the easy you will be dangerous come race day.
No runner will be able to surge on your and pull a way.
Key tempo run examples that helped me break the 2:20 marathon barrier (remember that is still a sub 3 hour marathon).
11 miler – first 2 miles easy, 4 miles@5:20 pace, 1 mile easy, 2 miles@4:55 pace, 2 mile cool-down
14 miles – 2 mile warm up, 10 miles@5:25-35 mile pace, 2 mile cool-down
10 miler – 1 mile warm up, 2miles@5:35, 2miles@5:25, 2miles@5:15, 1 mile jog, 1 mile@4:45, 1 mile jog
15 miler @ 5:25-45 pace
Adjust these workouts to 6:50 pace.
Be creative but also be wise in your training.
These sub 3 hour marathon workouts are highly taxing which means equal focus on recovery.
Easy jogging 2 days after these workouts are mandatory.
3 hour marathon pace is challenging but these strategies will take the fear out of aiming to do it.
Remember, quality over quantity.