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Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training: How to Join the Elite Sub 3 Club

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So, you need to run a quick marathon? But not any quick time… a sub 3 hour marathon! Here’s how to make it a actuality.

Jason sub 3 hour marathon

Jason profitable the 2013 Potomac River Run Marathon

There’s one thing magical about running a quick marathon. Because of its size, the race is notoriously troublesome.

That’s as a result of at marathon-intensity, past 20 miles is like the Wild West. You simply by no means know what would possibly occur on the market on the race course. The choices for catastrophe appear limitless:

Most races are too brief for these issues to make a significant influence in your efficiency. But over 26.2 miles, issues can compound.

And the sooner you run, the worse these issues can grow to be.

That’s why placing collectively a quick marathon – particularly a sub 3 hour marathon end – is especially thrilling. That quick end time underscores profitable preparation, fueling, and execution for the marathon.

Let’s not additionally neglect that marathoners usually put all their eggs in a single basket: their singular marathon race. If it goes properly, nice! But if not, they’ve to get better, wait, and start the training course of another time.

In different phrases, there are not often any “do overs” in marathoning.

For these of you with daring and impressive marathon objectives, this text will assist you to uncover what is definitely essential when it comes to running a quick marathon.

And when you’d like to set your sights on becoming a member of the “2:XX Marathon Club,” that is your 3-step course of for turning into a sub 3 hour marathon-caliber runner.

Sub 3 Ingredient #1: Competitive Mileage Levels

Jason Boston

The 2014 Boston Marathon. Ouch.

If you’ve gotten a daring and impressive race objective – like a sub 3 hour marathon – you’ll want daring and impressive training.

While most runners are sometimes training between 20 – 35 miles per week, you’ll want to step up your sport.

Not solely will higher mileage levels be mandatory throughout your marathon training, but in addition throughout the remainder of the 12 months. High mileage running is a way of life, not one thing you do sometimes!

And when it comes to your aerobic base, greater is best.

To make your sub 3 marathon a actuality, first make increased mileage running a precedence. When you’re snug running 40-50 miles per week commonly, you’ll be way more ready for the rigors of marathon training.

Tempo runs grow to be simpler. And lengthy runs – the keystone of marathon preparation – grow to be extra manageable as you construct endurance and cardio strength.

Over time, runners who construct the functionality to run 50+ miles per week (at the minimal) have a greater likelihood of running a sub 3 hour marathon time.

In truth, Strava published data a couple of years in the past demonstrating that those that qualify for the Boston Marathon run extra miles. And whereas a sub-3 is extra competitive than a BQ, it exhibits that increased mileage is much more essential for this bolder objective!

Sub 3 Ingredient #2: Consistent Long Runs

Philadelphia Marathon

Running my PR of 2:39:32 at the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon

To get sooner at racing lengthy distances, lengthy distances have to be made straightforward. And that’s finished via repetition.

See right here to uncover what long runs do to the body (you’ll need to do them far more commonly!).

While most marathoners spend their training time regularly building their long term to about 20 miles, extra competitive marathoners can’t waste that point building their long term distance. They should spend time practising it and making these runs tougher (by incorporating marathon-specific tempo work).

The closing 6 weeks of marathon training for a lot of runners would possibly embody these long term distances:

This development is pretty aggressive; in addition to one cutback week, the long term distance will increase each week. That may very properly trigger an harm.

Besides being dangerous, this long term development doesn’t embody any marathon-specific work and is just 104 miles.

A runner gearing up for a sub 3 hour marathon wants a extra formidable sequence of lengthy runs:

  • 19
  • 18: final 4mi @ Goal Marathon Pace
  • 20
  • 20
  • 21
  • 20: final 5mi @ Goal Marathon Pace

Over 6 runs, this development consists of 14 extra miles and two runs that embody objective tempo work.

For the runner capturing for a 2:59 marathon, a extra substantial development of lengthy runs is required to attain their objective. And that’s solely potential for runners who’ve constructed their capability for lengthy distances over years.

Sub 3 Ingredient #3: Equivalent Race Performances

NYC Marathon

My debut at the 2008 NYC Marathon (not so fairly)

A sub 3 hour marathon is sort of competitive. If you need to have a shot at attaining this milestone, your different race instances should even be fairly competitive.

That’s as a result of running is running. Fitness is fitness. And quick runners are quick runners (regardless of the distance).

You’ll by no means run a standout marathon in case your different Personal Bests don’t… stand out, too.

This is the place the thought of equivalent performances is crucial.

To have any shot at breaking 3 in the marathon, you’ll want to run race instances in the 5k, 10ok, and half marathon which are comparable to how competitive a 2:59 marathon is.

Here’s my approximation of the equal performances of a sub 3 hour marathon:

Sub 3 Hour Marathon Equivalencies

It’s ideally suited to set PR’s in the shorter distances and get as shut to these equal instances as potential earlier than you start running lots of marathons.

Why? Well, as a result of marathons are onerous and shorter races are much less so!

  • You can run extra brief races (since the restoration is simpler), providing you with extra alternatives to enhance
  • The training is extra beginner-friendly than high-volume marathon training
  • Speed is a skill and ought to be developed first

Everywhere round the world, newbie runners are launched to the sport of running via cross nation and observe and discipline – not the marathon.

That’s very instructive: it exhibits us that we must always develop the abilities of energy, coordination, pace, agility, and general athleticism earlier than focusing completely on high-level endurance.

Case Study: How I Broke 3 in My Debut Marathon

Looking again, I debuted at the marathon distance with a 2:44:38 end. But I had already been running for over a decade with expertise running 90 miles per week, common lengthy runs of 15-18 miles, and a slew of private bests extra competitive than a 2:44 marathon:

  • 4:33 in the mile
  • 54:50 for 10 miles
  • 1:13:39 for the half marathon

In hindsight, after all I used to be prepared to run a sub 3 hour marathon! Anybody who has run these instances has the means to run a sub-3. It simply takes a bit extra training.

And that’s precisely the place you need to get your self: to a place the place it’s just about assured to run a marathon that quick. Get the training on observe first after which concentrate on getting sooner in the 5k, 10ok, HM, and different distances.

This is more practical than solely running marathons, which is riskier (the harm potential is far increased) and fewer efficient (you’ll by no means get equal performances and why restrict your self solely to marathon training?).

A Sub 3 Hour Marathon Requires Caution

Breaking the 3 hour mark in the marathon is an audacious, extremely competitive objective for any runner. If profitable, you’ll be part of an elite membership with many perks:

  • Automatic entry to the first corral at any main marathon
  • Confetti, a dwell band, and a champagne toast at the end line
  • High-fives from each different sub 3 marathoner at the race

Actually, none of that’s true. Nobody will actually discover besides your die-hard family and friends – however that doesn’t imply it’s a objective unfit of pursuing!

It simply takes a long-term strategy, persistence, and a concentrate on the means of training. These lofty marathon objectives aren’t achieved in a couple of months however somewhat years and years. Don’t rush your improvement!

In our new sub 3 marathon video, I summarize a lot of the key factors on this article:

To assist you to obtain your heroic marathon objectives – whether or not that’s a sub 3 hour try or some other time objective – we’ve got lots of assets obtainable.

If you’ve gotten a historical past of accidents, getting healthy is the first step. Start here!

If you’re healthy, running properly, and prepared to take an enormous step ahead, start here!

Or when you’re undecided the place to start, start here. I’m comfortable to assist.

The outcomes from the Strength Running group are highly effective:

“Since following your methods, I am now running injury free with volume of around 50 miles/week with long runs in the 16 mile range. My pace is now slowly increasing. I know that as long as I stay patient and take the time to work on strength, I will be able to progress toward my goal of running my first marathon at age 60 (with a goal of a sub 4 hour time). Thanks again.” – Charles

““Hi Jason, only 2 months ago I could not run 2k. Bad episode of acute ITBS that has been with me for as long as I can remember. This weekend I ran 18k in a balmy 0 degrees without any issues. Your program made it possible. Thanks to you I’m back on track for my Boston Marathon 2018!” – Remko

“I used to be at the finish of my rope after affected by ongoing ITBS, runner’s knee, hip ache, ankle ache… I like running however I couldn’t do extra with risking extra harm.

Then I bought the program and OMG – the accidents have stopped. Even although it’s been virtually 4 months now, I’m virtually afraid to say it out loud. I merely anticipate to have knee ache all of time. But I don’t.

Get this! I’m am now running 30-35 miles per week and training for a marathon. And I’m not solely running extra miles and longer distances, I’m truly running sooner. I ran 16 miles on Sunday in 2:16:21 – or 8:31/mi tempo. Just 5 months in the past I used to be running 5 miles at a 9:30/mi tempo. Unbelievable. Thanks a lot. I look ahead to doing extra with you in the coming 12 months.” – Tim

No matter what time you run in the marathon, you deserve to train appropriately and obtain your greatest. Prepare intelligently, keep affected person, and at all times prioritize the course of.

See what we can do for you here.

Sooner or later, you would possibly simply shock your self at what you’re able to over 26.2 miles.



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