Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

4 Hour Marathon. How To Break The Barrier

What It Takes To Run A 4 Hour marathon

The 4 hour marathon is a respectable time.

It may not mean much to an elite level marathoner (but should), but to someone else it is just as impressive as any world beating time.

4 hour marathon

We're all working hard and want to improve, not just elite athletes.

I have been involved in competitive sport since I was a teenager. I've always respected those athletes trying to run under the 4 hour marathon barrier.

Our media and culture respect and admire people who do anything at the elite level.

A sub 4 hour marathon is not easily achievable. It is a respectable effort and one only a few men and women achieve each year. 

Ways To Run A 4 Hour Marathon

You must train yourself to run at 9.09 per mile pace.

What runners who are looking to run at a specific pace for an extended period of time are not paying attention to is sustained pace training.

I see guys who are running 5.00 per mile pace and wonder what needs to be done to maintain that pace for 26.2 miles.

My best marathon is 5.19 per mile. I, too, wonder how these top athletes sustain pace for so long. What needs to be done to sustain 5:00 minute per mile pace for 26.2 miles? That being said, the same fundamentals apply.

Hard, sustained work.

Sustained Anaerobic Running

This is not jogging pace.

A 4 hour marathon means 9.09 per mile pace must be held. You can't train at 10 minute mile pace for 6 to 8 miles per day and truly prepare yourself to run a 4 hour marathon.

Why? You have to be able to train at 9.09 per mile pace and feel controlled for 6 to 8 miles. Then, you start focusing on doing it for 26.2 miles.

Running at a faster pace is demanding.

Running slowly will build fitness and on a molecular level will build red blood cells. This will help the body transport oxygen to muscles.

Secondly, it will help the body create capillary beds.

Third, this will increase blood flow to the working muscles. Lastly, the body will make more mitochondria  which are the powerhouse of the cell.

The more of mitochondria in the blood stream the more economically you are going to run. 

These are all vital, important physiological adaptations that will occur from running easy. In addition, your heart rate will drop so your heart doesn't have to work as hard as it did prior to you starting.

This is huge. Wonder why at first you're struggling just to run a mile and a few weeks down the road a mile is a joke to you? Your heart has adapted.

Endurance must be built over time. It can't be rushed.

Learn More About The Sub 4 Hour Marathon Mastery Course

Pace Yourself

Runners who want to hold 9.09 per mile pace, consecutively, 26 miles in a row plus an additional distance equivalent to half a lap around the track, means you have to sit down and think of what must be done to sustain the pace

Here are a few things you can do to help you reach this goal.

It is not just how many miles a week you are running needed to run a 4 hour marathon. Is mileage important?

Yes, of course, we discussed a few things above that prove this, but to run a marathon in a specific time we have to train in a specific way.

The difference

You can't do this running easily.

The difference between a novice and elite runner is that the novice's muscles haven't been trained to generate enough sustained force. –  Pete Migill

The trick is the quality of the miles you are running.

You have to focus on extending the length of your longer runs and the pace at which you hold them at.

The Real Secret

This is the secret that too many runners don't pay enough attention to. Furthermore, a higher percentage of weekly mileage needs to be run at higher intensities.