Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training – How To Maintain 3 Hour Marathon Pace

Sub 3 hour marathon training

Sub 3 hour marathon training takes an enormous dedication to the sport.

3 hour marathon training

Runners who are training for this particular marathon barrier are at an advanced level.

The sub 3 hour marathon requires the athlete to hold 6.52 per mile for 26.2 consecutive miles or 5:41 per kilometer for 42.1 kilometers. This 3 hour marathon pace.

That being said, there are other factors that are critical to you getting under the 3 hour marathon barrier. Hydration is about as important as the training itself.

The athlete must be able to run more economically the faster he or she wishes to run. So, the tactic you have to use is to conserve carbohydrates and use fat more efficiently.

The biggest mistake I kept making in the marathon was sipping and not drinking in the race. This is not the 5K or 10K. The marathon requires the athlete to really pay attention to hydration and caloric intake.

Sub 3 hour marathon training is demanding and it does take a level of talent in order to achieve a time of 2:59:59.

How fast you achieve the time will be dependent upon how you train. In addition to that, your level of enthusiasm will have to be high. The 3 hour marathon will require a lot of training far below 3 hour marathon pace.

Sub 3 Hour Marathon Specifics

If you are seeking to sustain sub 3 hour marathon training pace you will have to learn to burn fat more efficiently at that pace.

3:59:59 to 3:00:00 marathoners just need to make a few minor changes in their training. One, spend more time at or below sub 3 hour marathon pace. Two, focus on overall speed and the recruitment of more fast twitch muscle fibers. This physiological adaptation only occurs by way of faster running.

Be patient. Running a marathon under 3 hours is not common. There are only a few runners that achieve this time each year around the world. In addition to that, there are even more seeking to break the sub 3 hour marathon.

One of the best things you can do is what I have discussed with runners seeking to break the sub 2 hour half marathon and the sub 4 hour marathon.

Increase the paces at which you do your long runs.

This is an endurance sport.

Short distance workouts are great for building your Aerobic Capacity  In addition, shorter and much faster workouts help make 3 hour marathon pace more manageable.

For example, 6 x 1 mile in 5:45 each will do wonders. One, you are running over a minute per mile faster than goal marathon pace. Two, you’re teaching the body to use fat as its main fuel source at faster speeds. Third, you are conserving carbohydrates.

Common Workouts I Would Suggest For Runners Seeking A Sub 3 Hour Marathon

Varying Your Long Run Pace

The biggest reason I was able to lower my marathon from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 was for this reason. What most runners do wrong is they run too long at too slow of paces.

What good is a 22 miler run at 8 minute mile pace if you want to run a sub 3 hour marathon? Furthermore, what will a 20 miler at 7:30 mile pace do? Your goal is to sustain 6:52 mile or 5:41 kilometer pace for a long period of time.

In addition, that is just the average per mile or kilometer pace you’ll need to hold. What this means is many of your miles or kilometers will be run at faster paces. So, the tactic you need to use is doing workouts at and far below sub 3 hour marathon pace.

The goal is to make 3 hour marathon pace feel easier and more in control. The good news is this can be done. The bad news is it is difficult, takes time and a great deal of patience to achieve.

These could be workouts such as 10x1000m at 5.00 mile pace with shorter recovery floats such as 300-400m

Long hill repetitions consisting of all-out sprints

These could range in distance from 200m-1000m in length. 3 hour marathon training is highly demanding. Make sure you have a good, strong base of easy mileage put in prior to starting you build up.

A great workout I do while preparing for my marathons is

4X5 miles at 10 seconds per mile faster than goal marathon pace. I’m not a fan of this workout but it gets the job done. I’ll do this in the middle of a 20 miler.

For example, if you were seeking to run 2:59:59 this is what it would look like

5 miles easy, 5 miles@6:50 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 5 miles@6:50 mile pace, 3 mile jog cool-down.

The key is varying your paces. That being said, what I don’t want you doing is running hard every weekend. The idea is to recover. You’ll have to make some serious changes to become a sub 3 hour marathoner.

The first being not spending every weekend running long and slow

Sub 3 hour marathon training takes a great deal of attention to detail.

Runners at this level clearly now know that easy running will not do the job.

Recovery Is A Must For A Sub 3 Hour Marathon

Running easy certain has its place. You have to allow time for your body to recovery from the hard sessions you are doing. In addition, you’ll have to be patient. What you are trying to do is certainly not the norm.

The athlete has to pay more attention to developing the anaerobic system to function as sufficiently as possible.

Furthermore, this goes for all ability levels as well. The athlete has to place higher emphasis on carbohydrate conservation and use of fat at race speeds.

Runners competing at sub 3 hours for the marathon distance are using a greater percentage of their fat stores as their primary race fuel. This is why the Kenyans make it look so easy. They spend a large percentage of their weekly mileage at paces that are much faster than their goal marathon race pace.

This has to be the goal of runners of all ability levels, whether a 6 hour marathoner, 3 hour half-marathoner or a total novice.

The greater importance placed on clearing lactic acid faster then it builds up when we race, the better results are going to come from the training we do.


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