Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Pace for 3 Hour Marathon: PR NOW

How to handle race pace for 3 hour marathon racing is not easy? Are you ready to take your race preparation and racing to the next level? If so, I am happy you have made it here to RunDreamAchieve, the home of running tips. I have run 2:19:35 for the distance. So, I fully understand how fast a sub 3 hour marathon is. You need to sustain 6:52 minute mile pace or 4:16 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers in order to run a 2:59:59 or faster time. So, the goal with this post is to briefly share with you some tips I know can help you get there. You are also welcome to visit our about page if you would like to know more about my background if you wish. My objective is always to make my visitors to feel at home and comfortable here.

One of the biggest mistakes I see marathoners make is running their long runs too slow. Also, running too fast on recovery days. Remember, there is only so many times you can push the body. You do not want to get diminished returns on your time investment. So, it isn't about the volume of mileage you are doing that counts as much as it is the intensity of that mileage. Yes, we hear quality over quantity all of the time. That being said, there is enormous truth with this. You can be running 100 miles a week and still never break a sub 3 marathon. Of course, the reason athletes have issues is they are running to slow for the majority of them.

Is a Sub 3 Marathon Good?

Yes, a sub 3 hour marathon is a very good time. In fact, only a few runners around the world achieve this time barrier each year. I consider a sub 3 hr marathon as an elite time. I write that because once you are in the 2's you are in very select territory. It is not an easy process to run 2:59:59 for this distance.

My goal here is to get you there in record time. No, it will not be easy or simple. Yes, you certainly have what it takes if you commit and follow what I share here. I created a course called the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro designed for athletes such as yourself seeking to break this barrier. Again, the goal is to work smarter, not harder. Would you rather run 70 miles a week and get your goal or 110 mile a week and miss it?

Sure, you can tell your friends how many miles or kilometers you are putting in while the other guy or gal is working smart. I already know you want success otherwise you wouldn't be here. So, you have to start working to improve your body's lactate tolerance. Pace sustainment is the goal and slowing down less than your competition. Unfortunately, running easy will not improve this. What will is training at, near and far below your goal sub 3 hour marathon pace. You want goal race pace to feel moderate, not hard. Of course, it will feel hard and it will be difficult in the latter stages of your race. The key is to handle ever increasing amounts of lactic acid build up better than your competition.

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Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training Plan

A Sub 3 hour marathon training plan has to incorporate both hard as well as easy training. Remember, it takes anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks for your body to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it. So, the benefits of the training you are doing today will be seen several weeks from now. You cannot rush the process. The Sub 3 Hour Marathon course and our training plans here are 16-weeks in length. 4 months of training is plenty of time to train for any race distance. One of the best benefits of investing in yourself is you take the guesswork out of your race preparation. Furthermore, you know what you need to be doing each day, week and month.

I am also a believer in faster, varied pace long runs. Do you want to run 2:59:59? If so, you have to get beyond doing long, slow easy runs every weekend. Of course, easy running is still important. That being said, every other week should be composed of a harder paced long run. You don't need to run the entire long run fast but a portion of it should be. For example, 2 mile warm-up, 12 miles at 160 beats per minute (about 85-88% of max heart rate), 2 miles easy, 1 mile at 10K race pace, 2 mile cool-down. Again, the pace is varied and you are stressing different energy systems of the body. The following week's long run should be easy and relaxed. Again, all of the benefits of your hard work are going to come within the rest period.

Sub 3 Hour Marathon Statistics

Speed development is paramount when it comes to making that race pace for 3 hour marathon attempts easier. I recommend doing strides 2 to 3 times a week. Strides are too short to build up any significant lactic acid. So, you can do these types of short, 100 meter sprints on top of your track workouts, tempo runs and long runs. Again, you always want to work on acceleration and staying as relaxed as you can in training. You do not want to waste any undue energy in the race by muscle tension. Remember, tell yourself to stay in control or “I am confident” or any other statement to keep yourself relaxed.

Remember, the faster you can run for the shorter distances, the better. You need to focus on aiming for around a 1 hour and 25 minute half-marathon. A time like that comes out to about 6:30 per mile pace. Also, running a 10K around 38 (6 minute mile pace) to 40 minutes (6:25 mile pace). What percentage of your weekly mileage in the past have you spent training at, near or far below goal sub 3 hour marathon race pace? 5%? 15%? I would recommend between 40 to 45 percent. The best long distance runners make it look easy for a reason. They have spent sufficient time training well below their goal race pace. So, they make pace for 3 hour marathon racing look much more in control.

How to Run a Sub 3 Hour Marathon

Proper pacing is essential. You want to aim for a negative split if you can. It is always wise to run somewhat conservative in the early miles and kilometers of the race. So, you can always pick up the pace in the latter stages of the event when everyone else is slowing down. You do not want to experience the so-called “wall”. The body only has about 1700 to 1800 calories os glycogen (carbs) stored at any given time. That being said, we have an unlimited supply of fat storage. So, training in such a way to utilize fat stores at race pace. Also, to conserve what you have much less of, carbs, and use them in the part of the race that matter most.

Faster running teaches you to improve upon your lactate tolerance. Yes, running easy is still important too. The main variable I want you to remember is to not spend too many of your weekly mileage running too slow. Again, it isn't about working hard but working smart. You need to put in volume but if it is spent running too easy you will never break the 3 hour marathon. Also, the pace for 3 hour marathon attempts will continue to feel far too aggressive. There are far too many runners who doubt themselves when they don't see quick results. I recommend subscribing to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new videos each week to help keep athletes such as yourself motivated and hitting new PRs.

Closing Thoughts

Also, remember to drink and not sip in your marathons. One of the biggest mistakes I see runners make is sipping rather than drinking in the race. The event is the marathon, not a 5K. So, your body is going to be craving for fluids and calories during the race. So, do not neglect this. I would recommend ingesting 3 to 4 gels throughout the race. Each one of those contain anywhere from 100 to 150 calories. Calories (glycogen) you can call upon later when everyone else who neglected this tip in the race is slowing down.

Please keep in touch with me here, subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve youtube channel and comment. I always reach out to my visitors. I hope this post has been helpful to you. Lastly, make sure you are jogging on easy days. Your hard training is going to take everything out of you mentally as well as physically. So, use those recovery days to ensure you get the highest return on your time investment. Again, all of the benefits of your hard training are going to come within the rest. You need to also focus on the other hours of your day. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you hydrating well before, during and after your workouts? How much are you paying attention to your nutrition? All of these are factors that will distance you from your competition.

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