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The Sub 3 Hour Marathon
The sub 3 hour marathon barrier is a goal many marathoner around the world seek out each year.
What this means is aiming to hold 6:50 per mile pace for 26.2 miles. Not an easy feat.
The marathon is not like the 5K or 10K. It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right.
If you are in Europe or outside of the continental United Staes you will be aiming for 4:15 per kilometer.
What Does It Take To Run A Sub 3 Hour Marathon?
It certainly takes some initiative on the part of the athlete.
Holding 6:50 per mile for 26.2 miles means you have to have strong stamina and have run many of those miles faster than 6:50 per mile.
Remember, the sub 3 hour marathon is averaging 6:50 per mile or 4:15 per kilometer.
As I noted in my post on 3 hour marathon pace there are some key training tips you should follow to run a marathon under 3 hour.
4 Key Tips To Help You Run Under The 3 Hour Marathon
- Make your long run the hardest workout you do
Most runners run too many miles per week too slow and their long runs in similar fashion.
I've lost count of the amount of runners I've known over the years who sell themselves short.
They question their capabilities.
I ask what their long run pace is and I can find a major roadblock instantly.
Not always the case but many times it is.
Marathoners seeking to break the 3 hour marathon have to increase the speeds of their long runs.
Work on Stamina
It doesn't matter if you are in the 3:05-3:10 or 3:55-3:59 marathon range currently.
This one strategy is the reason I went from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 for the distance.
An example long run I would create would be:
20 miler – first 5 easy and relaxed, 5 miles@6:40 pace, 5 miles @6:20 pace, 4 miles easy, finishing last mile in 5:15 pace.
22 miler – 4 miles easy, 4 miles @6:35 pace, 8 miles@6:20 pace, 2 miles@6:00 pace, 2 miles easy
The #1 secret is this: Train at or below goal marathon pace and in this case that is 6:50 per mile
2. Focus daily on breaking the sub 3 marathon.
Expect this to be a challenge.
The sub 3 hour marathon is not a slow time.
It is barrier many runners will train for and never attain.
Visualize daily of seeing yourself running to the finish line with 2:59 or better on the clock.
The mental training aspect of this sport is often overlooked.
I was constantly visualizing seeing myself break the 2:22:00 marathon barrier.
It became reality.
I'm have a created a course where I teach runners how to specifically, break 3 hours.
Obviously, just visualizing about breaking the 3 hour marathon will not do it but it is still essential.
There have been many books written about your thoughts becoming reality.
Thoughts are real things and have great power.
Ensure you are writing down your sub 3 hour marathon goal and seeing yourself mentally doing it.
Focus On Speed
3. Intervals run at paces that far exceed your sub 3 hour marathon goal pace.
One of the key reasons for me having broke the 2:20 marathon barrier was these types of workouts.
My marathon goal race pace was 5:25 per mile.
This is the pace needed to break the 2:22:00 marathon barrier.
I did track workouts like this that helped me not only break 2:22 but 2:20.
The same rules apply whether you are seeking to break the sub 4 hour marathon or sub 3 hour marathon.
3x2mile at 10:00 with 5 minute recovery
6x1mile at 4:46 per repetition with 3 minute recovery
2x5K on the road at 5:02-05 pace
Again, the same principle applies to all race distances and ability levels.
If you train at or below goal race pace sub 3 hour marathon pace will no longer feel as hard or be as intimidating.
Focus on Leg Turn Over
4. Hill Repetitions
I would find a hill that is anywhere from 400m to 600m in length and sprint all out going up.
Walk down for recovery
Start the year out doing perhaps 4-6 repetitions and gradually extend that out to 8-15 reps.
These should be absolute all out bursts with full recovery between reps.
Don't start another rep until fully recovered.
As you get fitter you will lessen your recovery time but keep the reps the same in terms of length.
The trick here is you are getting your heart rate up very high.
Additionally, you are training the body to adapt to high levels of lactic acid in the blood stream.
Running Far Below Sub 3 Hour Marathon Goal Race Pace
The trick to running a sub 3 hour marathon is clearing lactic acid faster than it is building up in the blood stream.
You will be running these reps at anywhere from sub 4:30 to sub 5 minute mile pace.
Think of the enormous strength you will generate by way of doing these?
What is 6:50 per mile or 4:15 per kilometer going to feel like now?
It will feel more like a controlled long run rather than a race.
You will also be able to be able to sustain the pace in that critical last 10K while others fall off the pace.
There is much more to breaking the sub 3 hour marathon I'll be teaching exclusively in my course. Sign up today by clicking the link below to learn more.