Training Schedule To Master 4 HR Marathon Pace
4 hr marathon pace comes out to 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer. How can we make that pace feel more manageable? I’ve created a new course for marathoners seeking to break the 4 hour marathon. It is now launched and called the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Mastery course.
Also, I am working on a new course called 4 Hour Marathon Mastery that will be even more in depth. My goal is to help as many runners as possible to break this barrier. Make sure to check out the RunDreamAchieve Academy as this new course will be finished by February 2019.
Fill out the information to be placed on the waiting list and get a 30 percent discount off the launch price.
There are millions of runners around the world seeking to maintain 4 hr marathon pace. It is therapeutic for me to write about training and helping other runners get to their fill potential.
The Sub 4 Hour Marathon Blueprint
There is also an e- book here called the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Blueprint you may want to check out if you don’t yet want to invest in the course.
The following marathoners reached out to give their opinion on what it takes to break the 4 hour marathon:
Ryan Bak (2.14.17 marathoner)
Dan Kahn (2.19.07 marathoner)
Nick Stanko (2.19.37 marathoner)
Michael Wardian (2.17.49 marathoner and 4-time USA 50K and 100K World team member)
I didn’t want to create an average training schedule for a sub 4 hour marathon. Runners need to start using leverage to sustain 4 hr marathon pace. That being said, sometimes it is just small, minute changes that need to be made.
Every athlete is different. There are runner seeking to break the 3 hour marathon? In addition, there are others seeking to run a sub 2 hour half marathon or run their first 5K.
Goals push us out of our comfort zone and challenge us to be and do more.
What are those two main hurdles to maintain 4 hr marathon pace?
Maintaining Pace and Fueling
Marathon fueling is absolutely essential to maintain 4 hr marathon pace.
This was one of my biggest hurdles to overcome over the past 17 years of running marathons. I simply wasn’t drinking enough during the race. One of the biggest killers of marathon times is sipping and not drinking in the race.
This is a 26.2 mile or 42.1 kilometer race. The body demands to be fed and will remind you of this throughout the race. That being said, if you neglect this one aspect of training you will not break 4 hours.
It took me from 2002 to December of 2007 to drop my marathon best from 2.43.36 to my current best of 2.19.35. The best advice I can provide here is to start practicing drinking in your long runs. Do not just sip.
Have you ever watched the world’s top marathoners in their race? You’ll notice they grab their water bottles and drink from them. In addition, they will carry them in their hand for about a half mile before throwing them to the ground. These athletes are not sipping.
Furthermore, they fully understand the importance in taking in sufficient calories during the race. You cannot run a 4 hour marathon without taking this seriously.
Don’t be intimidated by aiming to sustain 4 hr marathon pace. This barrier can and routinely is broken throughout the world.
The runners that are doing it have trained properly at and below sub 4 hr marahon pace.
You can go from a 4.30 marathoner to a 3.55 marathoner in one race.
It can be done.
A Sub 4 Hour Marathon
There are a lot of factors that go into holding a marathon under 9.09 per mile pace. You can do proper training, get plenty of rest and than get into the race.
What is the result of not taking in adequate fluids or calories in the marathon? You have probably already experienced this. The result is you succumb to walking or jogging the last miles of your race.
You hit the “wall” as they say. There is good news. No one needs to experience this. The trick is to teach the body to burn fat at race speeds rather than carbohydrate. The goal is to conserve carbohydrate for the last 10K of the race.
The body only has between 1700 to 1800 calories stored as carbohydrate. We burn between 100 to 120 calories per mile. When do most runner experience the so-called “wall”? You guessed it, between miles 17 and 18.
What if you could hold sub 4 hr marathon pace all the way to the finish line?
Practice Running Longer Faster
If you practice running longer faster you are going to become a 3:59:59 marathoner. In addition, you’ll be leveraging your fitness to work in your favor.
I don’t want you or anyone else reading this post to continue to run high mileage that doesn’t bring you closer to breaking the 4 hour marathon.
High mileage is not the answer. Remember, quality over quantity. We hear this phrase quite often but it is the truth. What percentage of your weekly mileage are you spending at sub 4 hr marathon pace? If it is too low you know you need to make some changes.
You are better off doing 14 miles at 9.09 pace than to do a 24 miler at 11 minute mile pace. The first choice will bring you closer to your goal.
There is a place for long, slow easy long runs. Please do not misunderstand me. I recommend doing one harder long run and the following week nice and easy. So, make sure you are leaving time in your 4 hour marathon training plan for recovery.
Focus On Your Nutrition
Foods that are high in glutathione are an absolute must. There are products you can take like cellgevity that contain glutathione precursors. Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant. That being said, most runners have never heard about it.
I was diagnosed with anemia in 2007.
I had no idea what was going on. Also, I had all the motivation any athlete could possibly want but for whatever reason I was not improving.
My workouts were slowing and I was getting frustrated.
My coach at the time, Lisa Rainsberger, suggested I get a blood test. It is ironic that from 1992 to 2008 no one had ever suggested I get a blood test done to see if I was low on iron.
It turns out I was. I had a ferritin level of 20ml.kg which is very low for males. You can lose iron in sweat, foot strike hemolysis and when you go to the bathroom.
Females are more prone to anemia than men but little did I know I was. Lisa surely knew what was going on.
She is the last American female to win the Boston Marathon.
She won in 1985 with a finish time of 2.34.04 and also won the Chicago Marathon twice (1998-2.29.12, 1999-2.28.15). I credit her attention to detail in helping me back to health and when I got my iron stores back to healthy levels I started to run faster.
I set a personal best time of 1.07.06 for the half-marathon, then 3 months later I broke 2.20.00 for the marathon.
Have Your Blood Tested
Eat plenty of foods high in iron, of course.
Foods like spinach, steak and other read meats and cereals all have high concentrations of iron.
Review our archives page and do your due diligence.
You will be ahead of your competition with that alone.
Your body doesn’t produce iron so you have to get it in the foods you eat.
You can also take iron supplementation. I take a 65mg iron tablet daily with a glass of orange juice.
Vitamin C helps iron to absorb into the body quicker so it is always best to take an iron tablet with some orange juice or with Vitamin C.
I am not a medical doctor so I would always advise speaking with your physician before taking any supplementation.
Importance Of Your Long Run
Learn To Run Your Long Runs At A Heart Rate Of 160 Beats Per Minute
I have found that running at a heart rate of 160 beats per minute has produced the best tolerance to lactic acid accumulation.
160BPM is running at or around 75-85% effort. Furthermore, this is not easy when you are going for 16 to 24 miles.
You can’t just keep pushing and not get a diminished return on all your hard work.
Vary Your Long Run Paces
I recommend doing a harder long run one week, followed by a very relaxed long run the next.
Remember, you want to teach your body to burn fat more effectively and conserve carbohydrate
I use this exact form of training in my own marathon preparation. I will be using it again going into the 2013 Chicago Marathon as well. You maintain 4 hr marathon pace when you follow the fundamentals outlined in this post.
Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube Channel. I’ll be creating new videos each week to help you leverage your fitness and run faster at the marathon distance.