6 Hour Marathon Pace | Tips to Run 5:59:59

Are you seeking a better way to sustain sub 6 hour marathon pace? If so, I am glad you have made it here to RunDreamAchieve. 6 hr marathon pace comes out to 13:44 per mile or 8:32 per kilometer. Pace sustainment is one of the biggest challenges for most runners. It isn’t that you don’t have what it takes to run a marathon under 6 hours. It is simply you haven’t trained long enough and at an intense enough pace.

The world’s top runners run between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold. We run between 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate running at this intensity. So, it is vital to extend the amount of time you are spending at your lactate threshold. Our anaerobic or lactate threshold is the point where lactic acid begins to rise in the body.

Easy running doesn’t produce the ability to improve your lactate tolerance. Faster, anaerobic training will. Yes, running easy is still very important. Remember, the real benefits of your hard training come from within the recovery period after the workout is completed. So, the adaptation of your hard training comes from the rest cycle. The problem is many runners are still running too fast on easy days. In addition, to slow on harder days.

Is 6 Hours a Good Marathon Time?

6 hour marathon pace is definitely a good starting point for most beginners. I would focus on a minimum of 16 weeks and preferably 20 to 24 weeks to prepare for your marathon. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. So, you have to be patient with yourself when preparing for your marathon.

I highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I regularly use the Garmin 245. It helps me to stay in the correct heart rate zones when training for my races. Of course, you don’t want to wear a heart rate monitor all of the time. For example, during speed workouts on the track. That being said, wearing one during your easy runs, tempo runs and long runs are essential. Again, you want to train smarter, not harder, in order to conquer sub 6 hour marathon pace.

How Hard is a 6 Hour Marathon?

Sub 6 hour marathon pace will definitely be a challenge to anyone who hasn’t trained properly. Again, you should focus on running easy and relaxed for a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks. I would not start a 6 hour marathon training plan until I first started building base mileage. My recommendation is to do 5-6x100m strides twice per week during your base-building phase. Strides are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid.

So, you can do these short, gradual 50 to 100-meter long sprints on top of your other weekly workouts. Strides should not be run all out for the entire sprint. I want you to gradually increase the intensity of your sprint. The last 20 meters of your stride should be all out. I have built 6 hour marathon pace training plans here ar RunDreamAchieve. So, you have some resources here to help speed up your recovery. I also coach athletes online as well if that is something you are interested.

I also build a course for athletes seeking to break the 5 hour marathon. It is called the 5 Hour Marathon Bootcamp Course. So, these are some resources you may want to check out as you drop time and get fitter.

6 Hour Marathon Pace Per KM

The pace you will need to run is 8:32 per kilometer for 42.2 km to run a 5:59:59. Again, the faster you are training in practice the better off you are going to be. I am a big believer in faster, varied paced long runs. Of course, I don’t runners need to be running faster during their entire long run. That being said, I would advise on start spending some segments of your long runs at faster paces.

Below are some examples of the types of varied paced long runs I was doing prior to breaking the 2:20 marathon barrier. You can adjust the paces for your long run. Remember, sub 6 hour marathon pace comes out to 13:44 per mile or 8:32 per kilometer.

  • 2 mile warm-up, 7 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 6 miles@6:05 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:10, 1 mile cool-down (22 miles)
  • 1 mile jog, 10 miles@5:40 mile pace, 3 miles easy, 2 miles@10:15, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:05, 2 mile jog (21 miles)

So, do you see how the pace is never constant? It is has a mixture of intensities. I would also advise to jog during the following week’s long run. So, you run harder and faster one weekend followed the next by an easy, relaxed long run. Again, adaptation is key. There is only so many times you can push the body before you get diminished returns on your investment.

Can You Walk a Marathon in 6 Hours?

There are many people out there who do walk and sustain sub 6 hour marathon pace. Again, this comes out to 13:44 mile pace or 8:32 per kilometer pace. So, this is very brisk walking pace. You still have to be very fit in order to break the 6hr marathon barrier. That being said, if you are consistent with your training your chances of success will dramatically increase.

I have done my best here to create a 6 hour marathon training plan to set you up for success. Remember, a longer build up is better than a short build up. You will not be in a rush to get into great shape. I want you to take your time and not expect overnight results. Yes, you will start to lose weight, gain fitness and confidence in due time. In addition, your paces per mile or kilometer will quicken. Again, I recommend a minimum of 16 weeks and preferably a 4 to 5 month marathon training build up.

Longer Tempo Runs

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past training for your marathons? Runners have pace sustainment problems often times due to not running long enough tempo runs. Has it been 3 to 4 mile tempo runs you have been doing? If so, this is too short. You need to work your way toward 8 to 14 mile tempo runs. Remember, be patient. Yes, you need to first adapt to doing 2 to 4-mile tempo runs before you can get to 8 to 14-mile tempo efforts.

Remember, a 20 to 24-week build up is far better than an 8 to 16-week training build up. You also need to be focusing on your speed work each week as well. Speed work and longer tempo runs will help to make sub 6 hour marathon pace to feel easier. Again, we want to slow down less than our competition. So, you have to stress the energy systems of the body consistently. In addition, jog during your easy days to ensure adaptation occurs. Make sense?

So, do 1, vo2 max workout per week. We run between 95 to 100 percent of our max heart rate running at this intensity. You can guesstimate your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Examples of vo2 max workouts are hill repetitions, speed intervals (i.e. repeat 200m, 300m, 600m etc) on the track or roads. In addition, fartlek workouts are also great vo2 max workouts. Fartlek is running at various intensities for short segments of time. For example, 10x1min hard followed by 1 minute easy.

Closing Thoughts

I hope you have some better tips and strategies now to follow as you go after this sub 6 hour marathon pace goal. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamachieve YouTube channel. I create new training and racing videos there each week. My aim is to help runners of all ability levels over their time goals. How often have you spent time in the past mentally training for your races? I usually ask this of runners because so few pay attention to this.

The vast majority of runners only focus on physical preparation. So, I want you to start visualizing daily breaking the sub 6 hour marathon barrier. Also, see yourself passing people in the race, running relaxed and crossing the finish line with 5:59:59 on the clock. It has to happen in the mind before it will ever occur in real life. The world’s top runners combine both mental as well as physical training. They make it look easy for a reason and it is not simply because they are Kenyan or Ethiopian.

They simply focus on areas of their training that the masses do not. Again, to run fast you have to focus on ALL of the fundamentals that go into being a successful runner.

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