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Project BQ €? Marathon Training Week  14

  • /g, '') %>More FromTraining PlansFree marathon training plans for every goalPresented byHuaweiOur half marathon training plan for beginners Advertisement - Continue Reading BelowHow to run a sub-2:00 half marathonHow to train for a hilly raceA one-month training plan for new runnersMission Marathon Training Plan: sub-5 hoursPresented byNew BalanceMission Marathon Training Plan: sub-4:30 hoursPresented byNew BalanceMission Marathon Training Plan: sub-4 hoursPresented byNew BalanceMission Marathon Training Plan: sub-3:30 hoursPresented byNew BalanceMission Marathon Training Plan: sub-3 hoursPresented byNew Balance

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Project BQ – Marathon Training Week  14


Running a Marathon under 3 hours is a very respectable goal. As a benchmark, it indicates that as a runner you have at least a little talent and enough dedication to training and hard work to bring that talent out. There is even a blog,, which has the sole purpose of helping people break 3 hours in the marathon. It is more than a few runners that are interested in breaking the 3 hour barrier for a marathon.

When I finally broke 3 hours for a marathon, I was nearly 50 years old and injury prone. My training approach was to train just hard enough to be able to run a 3 hour marathon, but not train so hard that I got injured. A delicate razors edge balance between training and recovering to avoid injury. I stripped out all running and training that was not exactly specific to the goal of running a 3 hour marathon. In the end, I realized, I needed only three different focused workouts a week, affording lots of recovery days.

The 5K is the measure of your speed, cardio vascular ability or engine. The training history indicates your body is adapted to the long term rigors of endurance training. If you do not have these two prerequisites in place, then work on them first before you embark on training for a sub 3 hour marathon.

The training plan I am going to detail here is very simple, boring and repetitive. But if you stick to it, it works. It consists of just three different training sessions (workouts) each week carried out over 14 weeks. The 3 training sessions are the same throughout the 14 week duration of the plan. The only thing that changes week to week is the duration of the individual sessions. The training paces remain the same throughout the 14 weeks. A significant portion of the training is at goal marathon pace. If there is a magic formula to running a 3 hour marathon, it is to do a lot of running at the pace needed to run a 3 hour marathon. Specificity is the key to success.

The 3 different training sessions are spaced out throughout the week. You never do training on back to back days. The rest day(s) between sessions gives your body a chance to recover, rebuild and adapt to the training. Training breaks your body down, resting gives it the chance to recover, heal and become stronger. The ideal and most symmetrical workout schedule is training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Recovery takes place on Tuesday, Thursday and the Weekend (Saturday Sunday). Later on, I will discuss what to do and what not to do on the rest and recovery days.

In regards to Marathon Pace, a 3 hour marathon equates to a 6:52 mile pace. Obviously, to run under 3 hours you must run at an average pace faster than this. So how much faster should you choose for your training? I recommend a marathon pace for training of 6:40. Six minutes forty seconds per mile. This is equivalent to the nice round number of 9 miles per hour. A 6:40 mile pace for a marathon yields a 2:54:40 marathon; a time with a 5 minute cushion under 3 hours. Factoring in the slowdowns at aid stations, negotiating turns, traffic, clothing drops, etc. this is a reasonable cushion.

Over the 14 week duration of this training program, you will start at 2 repeats and build to a max of 10 at week 9 and 10. You will then decrease the number of repeats by 2 each week until you do just 2 the last week before the race.

The marathon pace portion begins right after you finish the easy running portion. The duration begins at 1 mile the first week, increases 1 mile each week building up to 6 miles (40:00) by week 6. It then stays at 6 miles until week 13. The last week, race week, it drops it 4 miles. The length of the easy running portion decreases during the last 4 weeks of the program and is eliminated the last week of the program.

No warm-up is needed for this workout. Consider the long easy run a long warm-up. The last week, week 14, this workout becomes identical as the tempo marathon pace workout, so practice the race day warm-up just like the session.

This program consists of 3 different workouts each week over a 14 week period. The first 10 weeks are a gradual build up. The last 4 weeks are a fairly steep taper. The total training time begins at about 2 and a half hours of training the first week, peaks at just over 5 hours at weeks 9 and 10 and tapers back to under 2 hours for week 14, the week of the race.

Thank you for the training plan Bridger.Have followed the plan three times and went sub 3 hours for the first time at the Loch Ness marathon last weekend. I enjoyed the simplicity of the three sessions and the steady build up week on week. For this attempt I added a little mileage to the runs in the peak weeks and aimed for a marathon pace of 6.30 instead of 6.40, as I had come up a few minutes short in my previous attempts. This seemed to work for me and I managed a 2.56.12 on race day. Good route, good wind, good fueling and a great training plan, thanks again!

I followed the plan pretty closely, with some modifications as the race was postponed by 5 weeks due to Covid. I added in a couple rest weeks, plus extra repeated weeks in the middle. I also threw in a 35km medium pace run towards the end as a confidence builder given it was going to be my first marathon, and did a 10k (37 mins) and half marathon (1hr 23) race during the plan which helped show me I was on track.

Thanks. Yeah I did actually think after I posted that the best option might be to extend training plan to fit in rest weeks of just easy running to allow me to race the 3 different races I want to do.

Was previous PB with high mileage training? I am in the same boat as my PB is same and will try to apply this plan to go below 2:50. Just don`t have time to go with higher mileage for another year. It will be hard, especially long runs with MP finish as total mileage per week is low with this plan.

First, thanks a lot Bridger for this great resource. I followed the plan very closely for the sub-3 marathon and was able to maintain the paces you suggested throughout. I felt very positive about the race even though it was my first one. In the end, I came short on my NYC marathon in 3:03:55, but I feel I have learnt a lot about marathon training from you. I definitely feel that quality training is definitely more important than quantity of it.

Your choice of a 3:15 to 3:20 marathon is consistent with what your potential is given your 20 minute 5K time. If you are not able to complete the training sessions and progression, then adjust your paces and goal until you can complete all sessions.

You can do the progression workouts to see how they feel. After a couple months, back off for a week or so to digest the training. When you feel antsy to get serious training again, jump back into the progression.

Add some other types of sessions such as a weekly 10 X 100 meter sprints/strides with 100 meters of form drills or plyos in between for recovery. A 3 hour marathoner should do the 100 meter sprints nearly all out in just under 20 seconds each. With the form drills you will repeat the sprint/drill about every 2 minutes.

Really have enjoyed reading the comments here. I am training for a marathon on April 13th, 2019. I have run three half marathons in the last six months with steady improvement, my last time being 1:34:33. I was really hoping to push for a sub 3-hour marathon. Two questions:

1) This program appears to say week 14 of the training is the same week as the race? Is that correct? That would mean if the race is Saturday, you are running 4 miles the day before at Marathon pace? I would have thought you would be resting more during the final week? Curious to know thoughts on this.

2) I have been training on a different program running 5 days a week and thought about switching over to this. Any thoughts on if that is good or bad? Also, do you think I am overly ambitious in my sub 3 hour goal if this is my first full marathon and my best half marathon time I clocked just last month was 1:34:33?

Enjoyed the structure of the training. I met all of the goal times until I got to week 9 where I was unable to do the fast portion of the long run. This was a surprise as I was fine during the exact same run in week 8. I decided to go back a couple of weeks of the programme to give my legs a chance to recover. This seemed to work well, although of course was a luxury of not having a set race date. I think if I come to do this for a proper race I will build an extra week or 2 into the plan to allow for this.

I like this plan very much, but I am used to running 5-6 times a week. The idea of running less frequently and doing more cycling or weight lifting is very appealing. I already ran a half marathon at 1.30 and 10k sub 40, should I try to go for a faster half before I start training for a 3 hour Marathon or should I just go for it and start training ?

You can begin the training plan with the 3 hour marathon goal training paces. If you start to fail at completing the training session as they progress, back off your marathon goal and associated paces until you can complete the progression.

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