Can anyone run a sub 3 hour marathon? One of the most asked and tough to answer questions I see often asked. The answer is yes and no. Let’s be honest, a sub 3 hour marathon is extremely competitive. I just created a video about how to overcome having a lack of talent to run your best.
I can assure you that a sub 3 hour marathon will not be easily achieves by anyone. You or me. Yes, I have run 2.19.35 for the marathon. That being said, it took me from 1992 to 2007 to run that time. It didn’t happen overnight. I, more than likely like you, didn’t have a lot of talent.
I’ve written numerous articles here about breaking the 3 hour marathon. My goal has always been to help athletes get results. Why? My having run under 2.20 for the marathon doesn’t do a damn thing for you. That being said, what I have been taught will help you. In addition, I have made many mistakes over the years with my running. I don’t want you to make those same mistakes.
Does It Take Talent To Run A Sub 3 Hour Marathon?
Yes, you still need a level of talent in order to run 2.59.59. That being said, if you are like me and lack talent you have to make up for it with hard work. I cover this specific topic in detail in the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro course I created.
There are specific things you need to do in training in order to make a 2.59.59 marathon a reality. Furthermore, you can focus on quantity and still not get the results you are seeking. In addition, you can focus too heavily on quality and find out that that may not bring the results either. How do you know what is the best method of training to get the best return on investment.
What you need to rely more heavily on then your talent alone is smart work. Yes, you read that right. Smarter, not harder work. There are plenty of hard working athletes who still miss the mark. Remember, very few athletes around the world run under the 3 hour marathon. It is a very fast marathon time. Do not expect it to be easy. More importantly, you have to have an extremely strong belief in delayed gratification.
One of the biggest mistakes I see athletes make is wanting results too soon. I know because I made the same mistake. I thought I could break my 2.19.35 marathon PR. Furthermore, I trained for an additional decade after running that time and the closest I got to it was 2.26.42.
I started running marathons in 2002. Also, it took me an additional 5 years before I ran under 2.20.00. In addition, I had more failures trying to get the marathon right than successes.
What Does It Really Take To Run Under 3 Hours For The Marathon?
You need to focus on leveraging your efforts. One, stop running so many miles too slow. You need to average 6.52 per mile for 26.2 miles to break a 3 hour marathon. What good is a 24 mile long run at 8.15 mile pace? A 16 miler at 7.30 mile pace will get you closer to your goal. That being said, I am not saying you need to run fast every weekend.
What I am saying is you need to run for a longer period of time at a higher heart rate. How did I go from being a 2.43.36 marathoner to having a 2.19.35 PB? I just answered the question. I varied the paces of my long runs. One of the common mistakes I was making was running too long, too slow.
I have always believed that long, slow running will produce long, slow runners – Sebastion Coe, former 800m and mile world-record holder
What Else is Needed To Run 2.59.59
Furthermore, you need an incredible drive and focus. I didn’t have a lot of talent. So, I had to make up for it with persistent and consistent training. Can anyone run a sub 3 hour marathon? Yes, those that train far below 6.52 mile pace often enough will do it. In addition, those that lack a high level of talent can still do it too.
So, the drawback to not having as much talent as someone else? They may get to your end goal faster. That’s it. It took me nearly 20 years to break a 2.20.00 marathon. In comparison, someone with much more talent than I may have debuted with a 2.19.35 for all I know. It happens regularly. Also, there are numerous athletes that I have known who were far more consistent than I in the marathon. It seemed like they could run in the low 2.20s or sub-2.20 marathon.
You know the types. The athletes that don’t seem to have to work as hard yet get the consistent results. Yep, that was not me. I’ll tell you how I broke the 3 hour marathon barrier. Non-stop, endless work. I learned what was working and did less of what wasn’t. So, focus on what has went right and wrong in your own training.
Questions To Ask
Are you running too many miles at too slow of a pace?
Are you running too many miles too quickly?
Do you need to be running more mileage?
Are you allowing sufficient time to recover from your harder, anaerobic workouts? Remember, the results come within the rest, not specifically from the workout itself.
What percentage of my weekly training am I spending at, near or far below 6.52 mile pace?
How often am I doing strides to work on my leg speed?
Am I spending sufficient time each month running at or around 5.30 mile pace?
Remember, the end goal is to get 6.52 mile pace to feel more comfortable and in control. The goal is to get the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up in the bloodstream.
This is the reason why so many marathoners make it look so easy. If there are athletes outpacing you then you simply need to adjust your training routine. You may also be running dangerously low on glutathione and don’t even know it.
My Top Recommendations To Get Under The Sub 3 Hour Marathon
- Invest in your self-development and the sub 3 hour marathon pro course It is important to learn from those who have done what you are seeking to do. I am a huge advocate of self-development as it speeds up the learning curve
- Vary the paces of your long runs. Alternate running one, harder long run followed the next week by an easier, relaxed long run. Remember, you need to train smart and allot time to recover from these hard workouts
- Focus on quality over quantity.
- Spend a higher percentage of your weekly volume running closer to the pace you want to race at
- Be patient – more than the average joe or jane.
- Don’t lose enthusiasm despite the setbacks. You are not trying to do something easy but hard.
- Do two-mile repeats at speeds closer to 5.30 mile pace. Why? Imagine how easy and slow 6.52 mile pace is going to feel by training in such a way.
So, can anyone run a sub 3 hour marathon? I believe that anyone can do it but it is going to depend on numerous factors. One, how persistent and aggressive is the athlete training? Two, how strong is the athletes “Why”? How badly does this athlete want to make this time a reality in his or her life?
Is the athlete interested or committed to becoming a 2.59.59 or faster marathon runner? There are far more athletes who are interested in running under the 3 hour marathon barrier. That being said, there are far less who are fully committed to doing it. In addition, who realize how difficult it will be in order to break this barrier.
I wanted to run a 2.22.00 marathon time in 2002 when I first started running the marathon. The problem was my personal best at that time was 2.43.36. You don’t plant a seed today and a fully grown tree grows the next day. A common problem among us competitive athletes is we want the tree to grow the next day.
Can anyone run a sub 3 hour marathon? It largely depends on how long the athlete is willing to endure and persist to make this goal happen. Again, if you lack talent you are really going to have to be patient with yourself. Do not compare yourself to other athletes who are under 3 hours already. Lastly, find out what they are doing to get the results you want.