Sub 3 HR Marathon Training Plan | Tips to PR NOW

Are you seeking a new strategy with a new sub 3 hr marathon training plan? If so, I am glad you have made it here to The sub 3 hour marathon barrier is one that many runners are seeking to attain. My goal here is to ensure that you do exactly that. I even built a course called the Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro to help runners maximize their training and get that PR they are seeking.

My focus here to help athletes use leverage. Leverage means doing more with less. What I see many runners doing is running far too many miles or kilometers too slow. In addition, running far too fast on their recovery days. Runners need to sustain 6:52 per mile for 26.2 miles or 4:16 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers in order to run a 2:59:59. So, it takes proper pre-planning to get this right. A sub 3 hr marathon training plan has to focus on training at, near or far below 6:52 mile pace. The problem is far too many dedicated runners are training too slow. In addition, not often enough at this particular pace. It takes a high lactate tolerance to sustain sub 3 hr marathon pace.

No, you do not need to experience the so-called “wall” if you train properly. I didn’t hit the wall when I ran my PR of 2:19:35. In addition, I also didn’t hit one when I ran 2:26:43 at the 2011 Monumental Indianapolis marathon. The reason for this was I taught my body to rely on fat at race pace. In addition, to conserve what it has much less of, carbohydrates. We only have about 1700 to 1800 calories of glycogen stored at any given time. So, you have to train far below sub 3 hr marathon pace to teach the body to burn fat at faster paces. Yes, running easy will still build endurance. That being said, you have to train at much faster than race pace to produce this adapation.

How Many Miles a Week Should I Run for a 3 Hour Marathon?

We hear it all the time but quality over quantity is 100% true when it comes to breaking 3 hours. There are runners running 50 miles a week doing better than those running 100 miles a week. So, it isn’t about the volume but the quality of that mileage you are putting in that counts. I have seen many runners running around 50 miles a week who sustain sub 3 hr marathon pace for the entire distance.

I am big believer in faster, varied pace long runs. In fact, I was able to lower my marathon best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 using this strategy. No, it isn’t fun. In fact, the long run is the hardest workout that I do. The reason being is I work to hold my heart rate at 160 beats per minute or around 88 percent of my max heart rate during faster long runs. That being said, I always run the following week’s long run very easy.

Again, you want to think long-term and have a belief in delayed gratification. A sub 3 hour marathon is not easy. In fact, only about 4 percent of runners break this time barrier each year around the world. My objective is to get you to 2:59:59 using the same tactics I used to run 2:19:35. Yes, the paces of the workouts will be slightly different but the mindset and philosophy is the same. What percentage of your weekly mileage in the past have you trained at, near or far below goal sub 3 hr marathon pace? Has it be 5 or 10 percent? I would recommend around 40 percent if you really want to hit this time goal.

Is a Sub 3 Hour Marathon Good?

Yes, a sub 3 hour marathon is an elite time in my opinion. It is a time very few runners achieve each year. Of course, I respect all runners equally whether you are training for your first are seeking to run 2:59:59 or faster. I don’t categorize an athlete’s worth based on what times they run. So, always aim to treat everyone who comes here or to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel equally.

What you are aiming to do here is going to take heavy work. You are going to have to make some significant changes in the way you train to make this goal a reality. I am certain you can make sub 3 hr marathon pace feel more sustainable if you listen to this advice. Remember, a sub 3 hr marathon training plan has to also focus on recovery. The benefits of all your hard work come within the rest period, not the workout itself. So, focus on getting plenty of sleep. In addition, hydrate well prior to, during and after your workouts. Again, it is what you are doing on and off the roads and track that count the most.

In addition, we have many resources here as well to help set you up for success. I also coach runners online if you would like a ongoing coaching. All you need to do is review our membership by clicking the green button below. You can also click on coaching in the upper navigation of the website. The best long distance runners run a higher percentage of their weekly volume at higher intensities. So, running too many miles too slow will only make you a very strong long, slow runner. No disrespect. We all have three choices in this life. We can be average, good or great. The athletes seeking a sub 3 hour marathon are seeking greatness. So, it requires far more than most of us realize. The fact that you are here already tells me you are dedicated.

Sub 3 Hour Marathon Indicators

The faster you can run over the shorter distances the better. I recommend athletes who are seeking to break 3 hours be able to scare the following times.

10K – 38 to 40 minutes

Half-Marathon 1:24-1:25

Of course, there are many marathoners who go sub 3 hours who have run slower times than this over shorter distances. That being said, these sub 3 hour marathon indicators will help you over 26.2 miles. Again, if you train sufficiently at paces closer to your 5K to 10K personal best you are going to PR for the marathon. Speed development is essential. Yes, we may be long distance runners but we can always work on our speed. I recommend doing strides 2 to 3 times over the course of your week. Remember, strides are far too short to build up any legitimate lactic acid build up. I always say that over a 16-week build up you will have spent several miles at sprint speeds using this strategy. Also, strides are great for acceleration drills and working on form.

How Impressive is a Sub 3 Hour Marathon?

Very. A common mistake I see is average runners belittling other runners running well below 3 hours. The reason is they are comparing them to marathoners breaking 2:05 or faster over the distance. There are a handful of runners who can run even under 2:30 around the world each year. Also, far less who can break 2:10. Athletes seeking to run under 3 hours for the marathon are crowding into a very small group of accomplished runners. There are not many runners who achieve this barrier. So, it is going to require some different tactics to get it right. Longer tempo runs are also very important. Yes, a 3 to 4-mile tempo run will provide the athlete a huge physiological boost. That being said, you need to be thinking bigger if you want to run 2:59:59.

I recommend doing longer tempo runs ranging from 7 to 14 miles in length. So, faster long runs and longer tempo runs are two big strategies I want you to start using. Also, pay attention to jogging on easy days. There is no shame in jogging rather than running on recovery days. I have trained with sub 2:10 marathoners who would run 9 to 10 minute mile pace on their easy days. So, if they can run at these paces and slow down why can’t you and I? They understand leverage. In addition, are not focused on volume as much as they are on quality.

Closing Thoughts

Again, I have run 2:19 for the marathon. I don’t write that to impress you but to impress upon you what you are capable of. I didn’t have a great deal of talent. What I utilized was my work ethic. Average runners are not coming t You already have what it takes to do this. What you need now is a new strategy. We have training plans, running courses built specifically to break the 3 hour marathon barrier and monthly coaching. So, there is no longer any excuses for you to not do this. The question is now how badly do you want success? How often you are mentally rehearsing yourself getting across that finish line with 2:59:59 or faster on the clock?

The time do start doing that is now. Mental training is a common tactic runners miss. The best know how important this is. You cannot do 50 percent of the work (physical training), neglect this and expect to run 2:59:59. Mental training is a very powerful tool world-class runners use. So, start taking 10 to 15 minutes each day seeing yourself performing at the level you are dreaming about. Turn off the devices. The perfect time to do this is when you are first getting up in the morning or when you go to bed at night. I recommend checking our our sub 3 hr marathon training plan options here. In addition, the other resources available. I’m looking forward to hearing about your sub 3 hour marathon.

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