How To Run A 3:30 Marathon

Do you desire to run a 3:30 marathon? Seeking a sub 3 hour marathon?

3:30 marathon

Are you a 4 hour marathon and see a 3:30 marathon as possible?

If you are in any of these categories you have come to the right place.

My goal here at RunDreamAchieve is to get your mind right and to the finish line in record time.

The goal here is 8:00 per mile pace.

How do you get 8:00 mile pace to feel easy?

Is that even feasible.

It is race pace right?

Prior to breaking the 2:20 marathon barrier my best marathon was 2:40:02, prior to that my best was 2:43:36 that I ran in my debut in 2002.

I ask the above questions because I, too, was asking the same questions.

The paces were the only difference.

My best marathon at the time was 2:40:02 which averages out to 6:06 per mile for 26.2 miles.

The problem was I needed a sub-2:22 marathon in order to be a legitimate member of the United States Army World Class Athlete Program.

An elite military unit I was a part of from 2007 to 2010.

How To Make 3:30 Marathon Pace Seem Easy

The answer?

Train at or below 8:00 per mile pace.

Yes, easier said than done.

That being said, remember the body will adapt.

Athletes seeking to break the 3:30 marathon need only one major change to make it happen.

Increase the pace of your long runs.

I preach this quite often here.

This was the exact reason I went from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.

The long run should be the hardest workout you do, period.

The reason I was able to go from holding 6:06 per mile to 5:19 per mile for the 26.2 mile distance was a change in philosophy.

Doesn’t The Long Run Supposed To Be Slow?

If you want to break the 3:30 marathon and make 8:00 mile pace feel easy every weekend long run should not be easy.

Am I saying every weekend long run needs to be run at a faster pace?

This is the exact reason I created the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro course. There are key issues marathoners around the world are dealing with.

I know specific training strategies that will help ensure you break the 3 hour marathon barrier.

What I am saying is you need to practice running longer periods of time running at a higher heart rate.

You will be making significant drops in performance in the coming months by doing this.

The Challenges

No one does long runs right off the bat fast?

It doesn’t work like that.

Be patient with this. Sub 3:30 marathon pace is 8:00 mile pace. A very respectable pace for 26.2 miles.

Your focus should be getting 10-15 miles of that 20 to 22 mile long run at or around 7:25-45 mile pace.

The biggest challenge you will have is being discouraged when you cannot hold 8:00 mile pace for that long.

This is completely normal. Everyone pushing to break the 3:30 marathon is already competitive.

The key difference between those that run the marathon under 3:30 and those that don’t is tenacity.

Those that are doing it are also training in a specific way.

The fully understand that in order to dip under 3 hours for the marathon pace sustainment is key.

Is A Faster Pace Long Run The Answer?


It is what you are doing with the other part of your day.

The long run is piece albeit a major piece in the sub-3:30 marathon puzzle.

You need to focus on tempo runs, speed workouts and repeat hill workouts.

Spend some time down in the 5 to 6 minute mile pace.

Can you imagine how easy 8:00 mile pace will feel if you spend some time at a much faster pace?

Get to a point where you are doing tempo runs that last 20 to 40 minutes long.

Speeds that exceed 8:00 mile pace.

I would do a combination of all these workouts when I was training to break the 2:22:00 marathon barrier.

I fully understood that the fastest marathon pace I had ever run was 6:06 mile pace.

I knew 5:25 mile pace (2:22:00 marathon) was going to take a major shift in mindset and the way I trained in order to accomplish.

Don’t Let Up

I failed twice prior to breaking 2:20:00.

My first attempt at breaking 2:22:00 upon arriving to the US Army World Class Athlete Program was a 2:40:02 at the 2007 Grandmas Marathon.

I hit the first half marathon in 1:10:29 (also a then PR for the half) and was still at 2:28:00 marathon pace through 20 miles (1:53:07).

It was an accomplishment but a failure to WCAP.

Obviously, they want Soldiers making the Olympic Trials, Games and medaling at world championships.

My second attempt was at the 2007 Chicago Marathon. I ran into the worst temps in the race’s history and failed again coming in at 2:51:55.

I hit the first half in 1:11:31 and pretty much was walking and jogging the last 8 miles of the race.

You live and learn. Some issues are out of your hands. For me, as a cold weather runner, I could not change the weather.

I was prepared but it just didn’t pan out at Grandmas or Chicago. I took many positives from both races but I didn’t let up.

Neither can you.

You will run under a 3:30 marathon. The most important thing to remind yourself is to be tenacious about it.

I got what I was training so hard for 3 months after running Chicago at the California International Marathon in Sacramento.

A 2:19:35 finish time, 4th place and top American.

Hard work and tenacity pay off.

Keep the ideas brought up in this post as fuel. Get out the door, stay consistent, put in the work and prepare at and below 8:00 mile pace.

You will see 3:29:59 or faster at the finish line in the coming months. Leave a comment below and let me know where you are currently at in your quest.

What major road blocks are you having and/or any other comments you’d like to making.

If you are ready to break the 3 hour marathon barrier click the link below to become a student and attend our course.

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