Marathon 4 Hours | How To Break The 4 Hour Marathon

Are you wondering how to run a marathon 4 hours or below? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am happy you have made it here. The sub 4 hour marathon is one of the most competitive time barriers to achieve. Remember, if others runners have done it then so can you.

It is simply a matter of changing up your strategies. Remember, too much aerobic mileage will only make you a superior long, slow runner. So, breaking the sub 4 marathon barrier requires us to sustain at least 9:09 per mile. Also, sub 5:41 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers.

marathon 4 hours

If this is your first marathon or you have been trying to improve your time.

There are a lot of things you can do to improve. The key is to not get discouraged and remain patient.

The marathon takes a lot of patience and willingness to get out and put in the miles.

If you are asking yourself how to run a marathon 4 hours and below you are not alone.

I asked myself the same thing when I ran my first marathon back in 2002. There are a lot of runners who are preparing to run their first marathon. It is not uncommon to be uncertain of what pace you can hold for 26.2 miles.

Every runner is apprehensive wondering if they can finish the distance. I didn’t know what time I could run it in back 2002. That being said, I felt that I was capable of running a sub 3 hour marathon.

Below are a few tips to help you to run a marathon 4 hours or less.

Is a 4 Hour Marathon Time Good?

Yes, a sub 4 hour marathon is a very good time. I would first recommend running easy, aerobic mileage for the first 4 weeks of your build up. Also, start running strides twice per week. Strides are short, 50 to 100-meter acceleration drills.

Strides are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid. So, you can do these forms of short workouts on top of the other training you are doing. I also would highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245. It helps me to sustain the proper heart rate during my long runs.

In addition, to ensure that I am not running too fast during recovery days. Below are a few additional tips to help you succeed.

Can I Run a 4 Hour Marathon?

It will come down to the amount of proper training that you are doing. The optimal time frame to train for a marathon between 16 to 24 weeks. In fact, a longer build up is always better than a shorter training block. Remember, you can still get in good shape in 4 to 8 weeks.

That being said, a longer build up will provide adequate time for your body to adapt to the hard training you are doing. I also recommend spending longer durations running at your lactate threshold. We run between 85 to 89% of our max heart rate running at this intensity.

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past for your marathons? 3 miles? 5 miles? I would focus on extending your tempo run between 9 to 12 miles. Of course, you will first need to adapt to a 2 to 4-mile tempo run before you can extend these runs out. Again, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it.

How Fast is a Marathon in 4 Hours?

A sub 4 hour marathon comes out to 5:41 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers. In addition, the time equates to 9:09 per mile for 26.2 miles. The marathon is a highly aerobic event. That being said, you still need to work on your speed.

I would recommend doing at least 1, vo2 max workout per week. Our vo2 max is our body’s maximum oxygen uptake. So, it is running at such high speeds we cannot clear lactic acid effectively. The benefits is that this will make running at sub 4 marathon pace to feel easier.

I have created a running course to help runners break the 4 hour marathon barrier. In addition, created training plans to help you run 3:59:59. Remember, the faster we train the more fast twitch muscle fibers we will recruit. The more of these we recruit the more efficiently we will run. In addition, the less you will slow down in the race.

1. Stay focused.

It takes a lot of consistent, hard work to run a marathon 4 or below.

A sub 4 hour marathon requires the athlete to hold 9:09 per mile. In addition to that, that is just the average per mile pace needed. What does that mean? You’ll be running many of your miles far below 9:09 mile pace.

The ability to stay focused through your daily training is critical to your success. 4 hour marathon pace takes proper planning and persistence.

Train with a Group

2. Find a Running Group

I have found that training with others can alleviate the pressure of starting a running plan. You want to associate yourself with winners. People that will help you remain accountable to this goal.

It still takes work to run the marathon distance and if you are training with others it can make the process a lot smoother.

There will be days when you don’t want to run. In addition, working to run a sub 4 hour marathon requires a lot of specific training. This isn’t an easy time to achieve and will require quite a bit of time and diligence to make a reality.

3. Incorporate Fartlek Running Into Your Marathon Training Plan

Fartlek is anything you want it to be. It could be running 1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy for 30 minutes or 5×3 minutes on the roads. Fartlek is simply varying up your paces during the workout.

This style of working involves speeding up and slowing down for a particular distance and duration you set for yourself.

The fitter you get the longer you can go and change it up more.

How Do I Pace Myself for a 4 Hour Marathon?

I always tell runners to run a negative split. So, do not try to win this race in the first half marathon. For example, aim to run the first half in 2:02 and the second in 1:57. Again, faster training like doing fartlek run workouts.

For example, doing 10x2minute hard with 1 minute of easy running. You build up your tolerance of running faster and give yourself less recovery.

This will help you come marathon race day when you are trying to improve your overall race pace. Remember, the goal is being able to sustain 4 hour marathon pace for 26.2 miles. So, this means getting comfortable with race pace. Yes, easy running is still vital for running success. That being said, faster, anaerobic running will help you sustain sub 4 hr marathon pace more efficiently.

The only way to do that is with workouts like and training at speeds far below sub 4 hour marathon pace.

4. Gradually Lengthen Your Long Runs

I have written extensively on how increasing your long run paces can improve your marathon finish times. That being said, I want you to concentrate on being able to run farther and longer to build your endurance.

You can cut considerable time off of your marathon time simply by extending your long run. Remember, quality over quantity. It is not about how many miles you are doing as much as what you are putting into the miles.

How Difficult is a 4 Hour Marathon?

A sub 4 hour marathon is not an easy time to achieve. That being said, other runners have done so if they can then so can you. It is simply a matter of consistent training. Are you lacking in talent? If so, you will need to rely on your work ethic.

You will also have to start running more quality mileage. Again, too much easy running will only make you a superior long, slow runner.

Why does this matter?

A 16 mile run at 9:30 mile pace will do more for you than a 24 miler at 11-minute mile pace.

The goal is to teach the body to run at faster paces over longer periods of time. That being said, this doesn’t come overnight. Be patient and gradually increase the amount of time spent at faster efforts.

Everyone who runs a marathon sets some kind of goal for finishing the race.

Some runners are just satisfied with completing the marathon while others have a specific time goal.

The elite runners try to finish a marathon in less than two and a half hours. That being said, very few athletes are able to run under 4 hours.

Unless you are training for the Olympics, you probably will want to set a more reasonable goal.

One of the most popular finishing time goals for amateur runners is to complete the marathon in 4 hours or less.

If you want to want to run a marathon in under 4 hours visit the RunDreamAchieve Shop. We have a wide variety of marathon training plans for advanced-level athletes.

In addition, make sure to check back regularly to the RunDreamAchieve Academy.

4 Hour Marathon Pace

The Sub 4 Hour Marathon Blueprint  is a complete marathon training plan e-book that will runners break the 4 hour marathon.

This amazing e-book has everything you need to train for the sub 4 marathon.

There are lots of different training exercises such as heart-rate training and race pace training. In addition you’ll get professional advice from four of the world’s top marathon runners.

There are also lots of great ideas for maximizing nutrition both during training and while running the race itself.

Lastly, the e-book concludes with an easy-to-follow, 12-week training plan in the book for you to follow. If you are more interested in a more thorough online course check back in February. The soon-to-be-released 4 Hour Marathon Mastery course will be much more extensive.

Closing Thoughts

Everything you need is contained in this book. All you need to do is read it and follow the advice to achieve success. You can improve so much and am certain one day soon you will be calling yourself a sub 4 hour marathoner. Of course, the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Domination Course is much more in-depth.

I cover everything that I was taught by 3 of the world’s top runners. In addition, cover the exact strategies I used to run 2:19:35 for the marathon.

I hope this post on marathon 4 hours has been helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new content there each week to help runners like you get to the next level in their training and racing.

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