10 Minute Mile Marathon Time | Tips to PR Faster

Are you wondering how to finally achieve a 10 minute mile marathon time? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. Obviously, your goal is to run 4:22 for the marathon. So, I hope that some of these running tips will help ignite your training and get you the results you are seeking. There are many fundamentals you have to pay attention to in order to get this event right.

I fully understand. It took me from 1992 to 2007 to run under the 2:20 marathon barrier. Yes, I had many failures along the way too. I also doubted myself at times wondering if the marathon was my event. I will be sharing with you some strategies and tactics I used to lower my marathon PB from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. What I see a lot of runners doing is running too slow too often.

Easy running is still important. You have to build your foundational mileage first. That being said, to run a 10 minute mile marathon time you have to train faster than 4:22 marathon race pace. So, you have to be strategic in how you set up your daily training. I have marathon training plans, running courses and offer monthly coaching for athletes here at RunDreamAchieve. Remember, you have some resources here to help speed up your learning curve.

How Long Would a Marathon Take at 10 Minute Mile Pace?

4 hours and 22 minutes. Are you not in the united States of America? If so, you will need to sustain 6:12 per kilometer in order to run a marathon in 4:22. The main objective here is to improve the body’s lactate tolerance. You want to slow down less than your competition. In addition, sustain pace longer than those you are competing against. What percentage of your weekly mileage in the past have you been training at or below 10 min mile marathon time?

5%? 10%? The world’s top runners run around 35 to 40 percent of their weekly volume at or below goal race pace. So, of course they may it look easy. The vast majority of people only see the event, not the process that went into producing that stellar track and field or road racing time. It isn’t just because they are Kenyan or running fast times. It is because they train at a higher intensity during the week.

Fast running helps to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. Easy running does not. So, the way to run under a 10 min mile marathon time and run 4:22 is training significantly faster than goal pace.

10 Min Mile Half Marathon

A good measure of testing your fitness is to see if you can handle running a 10 min mile half marathon in training. Of course, you wouldn’t want to focus on this in the early stages of your build up. Remember, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to the stresses you are placing on it. So, great fitness won’t come in a matter of days but many weeks, months and years.

Army ACFT
Coach Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 (no “super shoes” on these feet)

That being said, if you can get to a point where you can run a half marathon in 2:11 you are getting ready. The number one recommendation I can share is to first start focusing on your base mileage. Easy, aerobic mileage is the starting point to eventually running under a 10 minute mile marathon time. I would suggest doing around 4 weeks of easy, relaxed mileage.

You can also add in doing strides twice per week during your easy days. Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter long accelerations. What I love about them is that they won’t build up any large amounts of lactic acid. The best time frame to prepare for your marathon is a minimum of 16 and preferably 20 weeks. I have created training plans here that range in duration from 8 weeks to 20 weeks. 4 to 5 months is plenty of time to fully prepare to run a 4:22 marathon.

How Can I Increase My Marathon Speed?

Gradually Increase Your Mileage

A lot of times runners simply aren’t running enough. Remember, this is a 26.2 mile or 42.2 kilometer event. So, running twice a week for a total of around 15 miles is not going to help much. Sure, you will build endurance but to run a 10 minute mile marathon time you have to get in superior shape. I often get asked if 20 weeks is sufficient time to train for a marathon so am attaching it below for your review.

The longer the build up the better prepared you are going to be to run this 4:22 marathon time. In fact, I think you will surprise yourself simply by increasing your mileage. We all have different capabilities. For example, runner A may run a sub 4 hour marathon off of 40 miles a week. Runner B may need to run 70 to 80 miles a week to run such a time. So, focus on gradually increasing your mileage between 5 to 15% each week.

Invest in Your Personal Development

One of the top ways to run a 10 minute mile marathon time is to speed up your learning curve. Again, I have running course and training plans available here for runners such as yourself. It takes the guesswork out of your preparation having a better idea of what workouts to be doing for your goal race time. I have spent several thousands of dollars over the years on personal development.

I was always studying what the best coaches and runners were doing to be successful. In addition, thought nothing of investing in my own personal development. It was a necessary step to speed up my own learning curve. Also, I wanted to do my best to minimize making mistakes that other runners were making.

Focus on Improving Your Raw Leg Speed

Yes, this is the marathon but to get faster over 26.2 miles you still need to work on your speed. Remember, the faster you train the easier marathon race pace is going to feel. Vo2 max workouts are essential to get this accomplished. Your vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. So, you are running at such high intensities you cannot clear lactic acid faster than it is building up.

We have to take breaks between intervals due to this as I am sure you already know. The key tactic here is to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers and improve the body’s lactate tolerance. The types of examples of speed workouts including in the running courses I teach and training plans are below…

  • Fartlek workouts (i.e. 2-3 sets of 10 minutes of 1 minute hard/1 min easy or variations thereof)
  • Hill repetitions (50m-300m long hill sprinting up, jogging or walking down)
  • Tempo runs (training at 85 to 88% of the athletes’ maximum heart rate)
  • Road and track intervals (i.e. 12x400m, 6x1mile, 2x3mile, 3x2mile, 6-8x800m etc.)

Again, 16 to 20 weeks is optimal timing for you to truly prepare sufficiently to eventually run a sub 10 minute mile marathon time. The athlete is running at between 95 to 100 percent of his or her maximum heart rate at vo2 max effort. So, it is a very challenging workout and for good reason. We want to get that 10 minute mile marathon pace to feel more manageable.

Longer Tempo Runs

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past preparing for your marathons? 5 miles? 7? I would recommend working toward extending yours to between 9 to 14 miles. No, this won’t come overnight. Again, there is a method to my coaching madness. The athlete has to adapt to a 2 to 3 mile tempo run before he or she can extend out past 9 to 10 miles in length.

That being said, the longer you can spend training at your anaerobic threshold the better. A lot of times marathoners are simply not spending adequate time at this effort. Your anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid accumulation begins to rise. Yes, we can run for a much longer period of time at AT pace as compared with vo2 max pace.

So, be patient with yourself regarding doing tempo runs. Remember, always think about using leverage. How can I get better results by doing less. Less mileage but higher quality work is key.

Faster Long Runs

I was able to drop my marathon PR from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 using this tactic. How was I able to go from running 6:14 mile pace to 5:19 per mile (3:18 kilometer pace) for the marathon distance? Varied paced long runs. A major mistake runners make is running long and slow every single weekend. Remember, you are going for a sub 4:22 marathon. So, to get your 10 minute mile marathon time goal you have to train at much faster paces.

Below are some examples of the types of long runs I was doing leading up to running 2:19:35. Of course, our paces are going to differ. That being said, I just want you to get an idea of they are constructed. I have built my running course and training plans with this style of long run built in. Remember, always follow the following week’s long run with an easy, relaxed jog long run in order to recover.

  • 2 mile jog, 10 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 1 mile in 4:55, 5 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 1 mine in 5:05, 1 mile jog (24 miles)
  • 2 mile jog, 5 miles@6:00 mile pace, 5 miles@5:40 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 2 miles@5:20 mile pace, 4 miles@6:05 mile pace, 2 mile jog cool-down (22 miles)

Closing Thoughts

Again, this is just a brief overview of some of the in-depth topics I discuss in the courses and training plans. I highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245 and advise grabbing one of yourself. The reason being is it will ensure you are running easy enough on your recovery days. In addition, you can also focus on staying in the correct heart rate zone during your tempo runs too.

I have always enjoyed using them to focus on my heart rate rather than worrying about hitting specific paces. Trust me, as you get fitter, your per mile or kilometer splits will drastically improve. Lastly, focus on hydrating better during your long runs.

A major mistake runners make is not taking in enough fluids or calories during their marathons and they end up paying for it. So, do a better job of sitting your water bottles out during your long runs.

Pay attention to your nutrition and recovery too. Watch your pacing in your race. Do the best you can to get out aggressive the first 300 meters and then settle into your pace. Also, run a negative split so that you finish in record time rather than going out too fast and having to drastically slow down. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel for weekly training updates.

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