Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training Plan: Tips to PR NOW

December 23, 2021

Are you searching for a new sub 3 hour marathon training plan to help you to finally break the sub 3 marathon barrier? If so, you have come to the right place. I have run 2 hours 19 minutes and 35 seconds for the marathon. It didn't happen overnight and I did make several mistakes over the years before I ran this fast. So, my goal with this post is to share some strategies to help ensure your success. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I, as well as other marathoners, made. My goal is to help you to use leverage and bypass any delays in your achievement of the sub 3hr marathon barrier.

The sub 3 hr marathon is a prestigious and highly respected time. In fact, I consider athletes who are aiming for or who have broken this barrier as elite level specialists. It is not easy to sustain 6:52 mile pace or 4:16 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers. You have to be in superior shape to run under 3 hours for the marathon. My goal is to help ensure you do exactly that. No, it will not be easy. That being said, if you follow the strategies in this brief overview I can nearly guarantee that you will run 2:59:59 for the marathon.

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

A sub 3 hour marathon training plan needs to place high emphasis on training at, near and far below sub 3 marathon pace. The athlete has to get comfortable being uncomfortable for longer periods of time. The process to become anaerobically fit takes time. In fact, it takes about 4 weeks for the body to adapt to the stresses being place on it. So, you don't see quick results in this sport. The benefits of your hard training will be seen several weeks from now, not in a matter of a few days.

A common mistake I see runners making is growing impatient when they don't see results as quickly as they want. Remember, you are going after a time that very few runners around the world achieve each year. It is estimated that only about 2 to 4 percent of marathoners break the 3 hr marathon each year in world-wide marathons.I can promise you that you will adapt to the hard training you are doing provided you remain vigilante and patient. The mileage I would recommend would be ranging anywhere from 35 to 90 miles per week. Volume isn't as important as the quality of that mileage you are putting in each week. So, focus on quality versus quantity. Yes, you still need to put in consistent mileage but focus on the end game, improved race pace sustainment


What Percentage of Marathon Runners Break 3 Hours?

Statistics vary bit roughly around 2 to 4 percent of marathoners break the 3 hour marathon in world-wide marathons each year. So, it is a very select group of runners who sustain sub 3 hour marathon pace throughout the distance. I know you will be joining this group soon. One tactic I used to get under the 2 hour and 20 minute marathon barrier was running my long runs at faster speeds. I would always do varied pace long runs as opposed to just running long, slow runs every single weekend. Remember, you have to get 6:52 mile or 4:16 per kilometer pace to feel less demanding.

The only way to do this is to spend more time training at a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate. My faster long runs were spent running at anywhere from 85 and up to about 95 percent of my maximum heart rate. No, this was not easy. It never is to go from a 2:43:36 PR to a 2:19:35. How does an athlete go from running 6:14 to 5:19 per mile pace over 26.2 miles? Faster long runs.

How Many People Run a Marathon in 3 Hours?

In addition, heavy emphasis on speed development. So, what I want you to do start doing is get beyond just running long and slow every weekend. I recommend doing a harder long run followed the next week with an easy jog long run. Again, recovery is key. You cannot continue to push the body hard and expect a high return on investment. A recent study showed that out of the 206,218 marathoners they studied only 3,221 athletes broke the 3 hour marathon. So, this is an indication of just how fast this marathon time is.

So, in order to achieve it you need to think and handle yourself as a professional. You need to also take mental training seriously. The best marathoners know how important mental rehearsal is. I consistently visualized myself breaking the 2:22:00 marathon barrier even while I was still a 2:43:36 marathoner back in 2002. It took me another 5 years but eventually ran 2:19:35 in 2007. So, mental as well as proper physical training is the key to making a 3 hour marathon possible. A sub 3 hour marathon training plan has to emphasis this.

Speed Development

We focus on doing 1, vo2 max workout per week with the rundreamachieve training plans. In addition, I teach the importance of speed work in my running courses as well. I also create new video content helping runners of all backgrounds at the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. You are more than welcome to subscribe if you would like some of my free content. I have been trained by 3 of the worlds top distance running coaches in Jack Hazen, Dr. Joe Vigil and Lisa Rainsberger. Lisa won the 1985 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:34:04, respectfully.

These coaches taught me the importance of heart rate monitor training, running faster long runs and the importance of running easy. There are still far too many runner running too fast on their easy says. Also, running far too aerobically on their anaerobic-focused days. So, an informed coach can certainly help you make some significant gains in your training. If you are seeking ongoing monthly coaching definitely check out the RunDreamAchieve private community by clicking the button below.


Sub 3 Hour Marathon Indicators

I would say it is safe to say you are getting ready for a sub 3 when you can run a half-marathon around 1:20-22. In addition, a 10K right around 37 to 38 minutes. Of course, you can still run a marathon well under 3 hours even if you have run slower times at the shorter distances. Remember, there is no physiological test for the power of the mind. I always recommend to my athletes to focus on mental training. I say that because I know their competition are not. Again, to run a sub 3 hour marathon who need to be focused on all the variables. Mental training is a massive component of marathoning success.

You need to see yourself crossing that finish line with 2:59:59 or faster on the clock. It has to happen in the mind before it will ever come to pass in real life. So, spend about 15 minutes every day visualizing yourself performing at a high level. See the crowd, you reacting to the moves of your competition and staying with the group running at sub 3 hr marathon pace.

Closing Thoughts

A legitimate sub 3 hour marathon training plan will yield results. My goal is to help get you to that 2:59:59 time. I hope this post has been helpful to you. Remember, hydrate well before, during and after your workouts. Always have a water bottle nearby. Train at speeds that far exceed what you are planning on racing at over the 26.2 mile distance. Longer tempo runs and faster, varied pace long runs. In addition, jog on recovery days to ensure you are recovering from the hard training you are doing.

You need to think and act like a world-class athletes. Average runners are not running under 3 hours for the marathon. It takes heavy emphasis on execution, consistent training and determination to run a marathon under 3 hours. I am certain you will be able to do it if you follow the tips I have shared here. Check out any of the resources by clicking on the green buttons. I am looking forward to hearing about you new personal bests in the marathon.


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