Marathon Sub 4 Training Plan Tips

Are you seeking a marathon sub 4 training plan to help get you to 3:59:59 or faster for the marathon? If so, welcome to, the home of running tips. I am glad you have made it here. I have run 2 hours 19 minutes and 35 seconds for the marathon. So, I fully understand what it takes to run faster over the 26.2 mile distance. You will need to sustain 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer in order to run a marathon under 4 hours. One of the biggest mistakes I see runners make is running too many miles too slow. Remember, you need to improve your lactate tolerance in order to sustain pace for a longer period of time.

Easy running will most certainly improve your endurance. That being said, you need to get stronger with your stamina and speed to hold sub 4 hour marathon pace effectively. I created a course focused on breaking the sub 4 hour marathon called the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Mastery Course for athletes such as yourself. Of course, it is an investment on the part of the athlete. I, too, have invested in my own learning over the years. The tips and strategies you will be following in the course are the same I followed to eventually run 2:19:35 for the distance.

How Do I Train for a Sub 4 Marathon?

First and foremost, build a base of easy mileage first. I would recommend about 4 weeks of easy jogging just to lay the foundation for your build up. I would then start focusing on a 16 week block of specific training. Again, the focus needs to be on training at, near and far below goal sub 4 hour marathon race pace. A marathon sub 4 training plan has to have this mindset and philosophy. No, running 100 miles a week at 12 minute mile pace will not help. You need to think about leverage. Leverage simply means doing more with less. So, if you are running 10 percent of your weekly volume at or near goal race pace it isn’t going to help a lot.

You want to put in about 40 percent of your weekly volume training at speeds below or near sub 4 hour marathon race pace. 4 months of training for a marathon is sufficient time to thoroughly prepare for an all-out effort over 26.2 miles. Proper pacing in the race is also essential. For example, focus on running a negative split. So, go out the first half in 2:02 and come back with a 1:57 if you can. Of course, you can always go out in 1:57 and come back with a 2:02. So, it just depends on the day. You also need to make sure you are drinking in the race and not just sipping.

How Hard is it to Run a Sub 4 Hour Marathon?

A sub 4 hour marathon is a highly competitive time and a very small percentage of runners achieve this goal each year around the world. I highly recommend doing 1, vo2 max workout per week. For examples, workouts like 2×3 miles on the road at 10 seconds faster than goal half marathon race pace. Also, 6x1mile at 7:35 per rep. The reason for these is you are running at paces that far exceed the pace you are aiming for in your marathon. Remember, you want to work to ensure sub 4 hour marathon race pace feels more moderate rather than hard.

In addition, you want to slow down less than your competition in the race. You should always make training the most difficult part of your preparation. The reason for this is once you are in the race there will be nothing your competition can throw at you. You will have pushed yourself to your limits in training. So, your competition is going to have to be extremely well-prepared in order to break you in the race. The marathon sub 4 training plan at the end of the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Mastery course has this as the focus.

What Percentage of Marathoners Break 4 Hours?

The average marathon time around the world is around 4 hours and 21 minutes. So, running under 4 hours for the marathon puts you in a very special category. Again, breaking the sub 4 hour marathon is certainly not an easy task. You need to sustain 5:41 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers. Also, 9:09 per mile for 26.2 miles. The athletes that is seeking to run a marathon under four hours has to be in great aerobic and anaerobic shape. I am a big believer in doing faster long runs. I think a big mistake runners make is running easy and long every weekend.

Of course, you are most certainly going to build your endurance doing long runs. That being said, we want to improve your lactate tolerance. So, running at more aggressive paces for longer periods of time during your long runs will do wonders for you. I have had numerous marathoners I coach online drop significant time using my training plans. Again, we focus on working smarter, not necessarily harder. There are plenty of runners who work hard who still miss their goals So, it isn’t about the volume but the quality of the mileage you are putting in that counts.

Closing Thoughts

So, if you are looking for a marathon sub 4 training plan that is going to yield results click on the button below. I have been fortunate to have been trained by 3 of the worlds top distance running coaches.

  1. Dr. Joe Vigil
  2. Jack Hazen
  3. Lisa Rainsberger (1985 Boston Marathon Champion

These three mentors helped me dramatically over the years. I was able to lower my marathon best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 using the strategies I have learned over the past 30 years. Are you ready to take your running and training to the next level? If so, check out the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Mastery Course.

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