What makes for a successful sub 3:30 marathon training plan? Is it high mileage? Low mileage? Do you have to run sub 3 hour marathon training pace to make 3:30 marathon pace to feel easy?
I believe the key ingredient every sub 3:30 marathon training plan should have is a focus on the long run. The biggest reason I dropped from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 for the marathon was changing up the paces at which I did this workout at.
I could not figure out why from 2002 to late 2006 I was not improving in this particular event. I’ll tell you why and there are two reasons for it.
- Sipping rather than drinking during the marathon – if you are not drinking enough fluid in the race you can forget breaking the 3:30 marathon barrier.
- My long runs were too slow. Your long runs can be 22 to 24 miles in length but will they help you race? Will you build great strength and endurance from this? Yes, of course.
What you don’t do is prepare to race 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers. Racing is not the same as running the distance.
Why Marathoners Fail at Breaking The 3:30 Marathon Barrier
It is not for a lack of ability nor is it laziness.
We know athletes training for a competitive time such as a 3:30 marathon are highly driven.
What needs to be done is to focus more on quality versus quantity. It doesn’t matter if you run 100 miles a week. It is not the amount of miles you run but what you put into those miles. This is a key fundamental all top marathoners follow.
A sub 3:30 marathon training plan it had better be concise and show you what to do and most certainly what not to do.
It should also show you what not do to so you don’t have to continue to make the same mistakes other marathoners make.
Key Reasons Marathoners Miss Sub-3:30
Marathoners miss the goal for many different reasons but here are a few:
- It is difficult. You need to maintain 8:00 mile pace for 26.2 miles or 4:58 per kilometer for 42.18 kilometers. No breaks. If it were an easy time anyone could do it.
- Not enough time spent at or below goal marathon race pace
- Running too many miles that don’t produce the proper training effect and running too few that do.
- Stressing out. Worrying over things in their life they cannot control. Life is more than just running. Allow yourself some down time and get away from it. Everyone needs a break some time.
- Inadequate fueling during the race
#5 is probably one of the biggest reasons runners fail to break the sub-3:30 marathon barrier along with running too many slow miles.
I already know this is the reason why it took me so long to finally start dropping huge chunks of time off my marathon. I started seeing results once I started learning to drink rather than “sip” during races.
Breaking The Two-Hour Marathon?
Below is a documentary Nike did on the breaking-2 project. Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea is one of the tree stellar marathoners featured in the film. He is the former world record holder for the half-marathon at 58:23. His record was just recently broken about a month ago and is now 58:18.
Zersenay’s marathon PR at the time the film was made didn’t add up. He had run a world-class 2:10:41 but for many sports coaches and exercise physiologists this didn’t make sense. His marathon should be much faster than this.
He was not drinking enough and he dropped his PR down to 2:06. All men were aiming for, what seems to be, an impossible goal of running a sub-2 hour marathon. Eluid Kipchoge did the near-impossible running a sensational time of 2:00:25.
It didn’t count as a world record due to having a pace car, interchanging pacers and people handing him drinks. I still say the man had to hold the pace regardless and should have counted as a world-record.
Kipchoge would go on later this year and break the legal course world-record of 2:02:57 running an incredible 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
What Did The Documentary Teach Us As Runners?
- You cannot rely on running too many of your miles too slowly. A sub-3:30 marathon is going to require immense fitness. You need to do more quality work with equal focus on recovery between those hard efforts.
- The importance of having great people around you that will support you during the ups and the downs of training.
- Take in more calories and fluid. Drinking enough during the race. The exercise physiologists in the film stated that Zersenay was not even drinking during his races.
It is incredible he ran a 2:10:41 without drinking at all in the race. These are major pain points for too many runners.
Athletes are second guessing themselves thinking they don’t have what it takes or get discouraged. It is just that a few minute changes need to be made in your training to drastically change your marathoning future.
The long run should become the hardest workout that you do. The number one reason I dropped from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 for the marathon was changing my long run paces.
The Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro Course
I cover the exact strategies needed to break not only the sub-3:30 marathon barrier but also the sub-3 hour marathon barrier in this course.
If you are serious about becoming a sub-3:30 marathoner and have dreams of breaking 3 hours this is an investment that will produce a return.
I’ll be covering every training strategy the world’s top exercise physiologists, coaches and runners taught me.
We’ll be covering what to do, what not to do, the reason you are doing each workout and the desire physiological adaptation. The course concludes with a 16-week, day by day, sub-3:30 marathon training plan. I’ll be right there with you through the training providing insight each day you take on.
I haven’t even scratched the surface on what a sub 3:30 marathon training plan needs to cover. I have hinted at only a few concepts. The Sub 3 Hour Marathon Pro course will help you crush the 3:30 marathon and assist you in eventually dipping below 3 hours.