Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Sub 3 HR Marathon Pace Tips to Get To 2:59

Are you seeking how to sustain sub 3 hr marathon pace more effectively? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I have run 2:19:35 for the marathon. My goal in writing that is not to impress you but to impress upon you what you are capable of. I didn't have a lot of talent but I had an enormous amount of work ethic. In fact, I rarely came across athletes with the amount of drive and focus I had or have. So, if you are lacking in the talent department then don't let that get the best of you. You were created for greatness and a sub 3 hr marathon is an elite time. One that very few runners around the world achieve each year. In fact, only about 4 percent of marathoners who compete in marathons each year achieve it.

I am a big believer in working smart, not hard. There are far too many people who have been taught to work hard. It doesn't always guarantee results. How many hard working, highly educated people do you know who are broke? So, we have all been taught poor ways of getting results. There are better ways to get ahead in this life. The problem is most of us have been taught poor mindsets and poor methods to reaching our end goals. The people who are using leverage are getting better results working less.

Is 3 Hours a Good Time for a Marathon?

I consider a time of 2:59:59 to be an elite time. Yes, you will still have to work hard to maintain sub 3 hr marathon pace. There is nothing easy about a 2:59:59 marathon time. That being said, it is most certainly doable if you are following a legitimate plan.

I created a course called the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro where I teach athletes exactly what to do in order to maintain 3 hour marathon pace. The problem is most athletes can do it for a few miles but fail in the latter stages. Our aim is to change that.


How Hard is It to Run a Sub 3 Hour Marathon?

It is most certainly not easy to break a 3 hour marathon. That being said, if you change up your tactics your chances are going to significantly increase. I see a big problem many runners make. They are running too many miles or kilometers too slow. In addition, their long runs are far too aerobic. I would recommend start doing faster paced long runs which I teach in the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro course. I used this tactic to drop my marathon PR from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. It is not an easy task to go from running a marathon at 6:14 pace to 5:19 per mile pace.

Of course, it is difficult to sustain sub 3 hr marathon pace because it is fast. In addition, you have to manage discomfort and higher levels of lactic acid build up. So, I always teach my athletes to focus on training at paces much faster than goal marathon race pace. For example, 6×1 mile repetitions on the track at around 5:20 per rep. No, you are not going to hold this pace for a marathon (2:20:00). That being said, you can hold it for a few minutes, rest, and repeat.

Sub 3 Hour Marathon Indicators

There are many factors that go into running a marathon under 3 hours. Can you do 10 miles in training at goal race pace? If so, this is a legitimate indicator that you are getting into the proper fitness to break 3 hours. Can you run 20 miles at 7 minute mile pace? If so, you are definitely on track to run a 2:59:59 or faster over the marathon distance. Remember, there are many variables that go into running a marathon this fast. How much are you paying attention to your rest and recovery?

I write that because far too many runners are still running too fast on their easy days. In addition, they are running too slow on their fast days. So, you need to switch up your training tactics. I am a huge advocate for faster paced long runs. Yes, you still need to take about 4 to 6 weeks and run relaxed, easy jogging. Focus first on laying the foundation of your build up. You will then want to start working on training specific paces at, near and far below sub 3 hr marathon pace.


What Percentage of Runners run a Sub 3 Hour Marathon?

There are only about between 2 to 4 percent of marathoners who break 3 hours for the marathon each year. So, you are joining a very select few runners who can run this fast over the marathon distance. Again, it isn't about running more mileage. There are runners running upwards of 100 miles a week who still don't do it. In comparison, there are other runners running far less who do. So, you want to focus on using leverage. Leverage simply means doing more with less. There are many runners who know how to work hard. Well, working harder isn't always a guarantee.

What percentage of your weekly mileage have you been practicing training at, near or far below sub 3 hr marathon pace? 5%? 20% I would recommend running around 40 percent of your weekly volume at these efforts. One of the biggest strategies that helped me was doing faster long runs. That being said, I would always run the following weekend's long run easy. Again, always focus on working smarter. The benefits of your hard work will come within the rest period. So, hydrating well before, during and after your workouts is key. Also, ensuring you are getting enough sleep each night as well. Remember, the benefits from the workouts you are doing today will be seen several weeks from now.

Closing Thoughts

The sub 3 hour marathon is a very competitive, elite time. My aim with this post is to give you some indicators of what you need to be looking for and focusing. I haven't even scratched the surface. Do you want to take your preparation to the next level? If so, click on the green button below and check out the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro.