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  • 3:00 ish marathon
  • Premier Icon stox

    How many of you have ran somewhere near the 3:00 mark? Maybe up to 3:05 or even just got the sub 3. I Would love to hear about it … what kind of weekly mileage were you peaking at … what half marathon times was this on the back off.
    Typical training week etc etc

    I ran 3:18 last year quite comfortably so I’m hoping to take a decent chunk off that next year .. maybe even go for 3:05 since it’s the London GFA time and it seems as good a target as any.

    I have a plan that I know works. I’ll be building on that. I Would love to hear people’s experiences and take some advice.


    Bit of a brag but I ran a 72 min half then got a last minute entry to the London Marathon in 96 (I was 31 and when I say last minute I mean 2 days before) I met some slower mates on the line and we ran together until around halfway when we were on for about 2:55. I wanted to be sure so took off on my own and ran about 2:48. Ran the last 10 in well under an hour. Also won a 3k track race 2 days later.

    Anyway brag over at the time I was running about 50 mpw however none of it was slower than around 6-6:15 per mile pace. My longest run was only 12 (I had no intention of doing a Marathon) but I was running 12 miles home from work a couple of nights a week and they would be 70 minute pace. Point being I ran well off no “long slow” running which i think was the key, although I was naturally strong over longer distances and always ran well in competitive long club runs (circa 15 miles) I was lucky enough to run with some very fast international lads in my 20’s, in Liverpool so that was good prep. Our training sessions were brutal! I was probably capable of around 2:35 and intended to have a serious crack the following year but work/family/injury stopped me. Running is easy we just over complicate it. The components of running a sub 3 I would suggest are:

    Saturday: Steady run followed by something sharp such as 10×100 flat out (helps with leg speed when tired
    Sunday: 90 minute run but not too slow
    Monday: maybe day off or steady run (dont jog)
    Tuesday: quality session, intervals or hills but something tough
    Wednesday: day off it tired or steady/easy run (too tired to run at an easy pace then rest, dont plod)
    Thursday: As Tuesday but something different,
    Friday: rest or steady

    If you can, add additional morning easy runs of no more than around 3 miles

    Premier Icon lunge

    Not me but my brother in law runs sub-3 regularly.
    He does 45-50 miles per week depending on where on the schedule he is and is really strict about the schedule.
    His longer runs are fast, always faster than the required marathon pace, and his last mile is always faster still.
    He does speed work in the week that is even faster.
    His weekend schedule is always the same, Friday off (his only rest day), fast 4 or 5 miles Saturday (he does a parkrun as part of this), Sunday long run, and always does a fairly long run the day after it (20 miles Sunday, 13 Monday for example).

    No idea if this is normal but it works for him.

    Edit, he’ll also cycle once or twice per week as his feels it helps recovery.

    When I did my sub 3 I was only running 3 times a week. Saturday long run starting at 13 miles building up to 21/22miles a month before target marathon. Mid week was a Tuesday fast 10k run for speed then a medium paced half marathon distance on a Thursday, around 6:20/6:30 pace.

    My half PB was 1hr24 marathon 2hr57. Maximum mileage for me was 40 miles a week but normally low 30’s.


    How do people find the time to run so much? I am happy if I can get an hour / hour and a half a week. 🙁


    My first marathon was a 2:52 off about 50 miles a week running 5 days, not particularly structured and with a longest run of about 22 miles.
    London this year, running everyday (since September 2018 – except for 20 days when I was bitten by a dog and got a DVT) longest run about 24, raced 20 miles about a month before and doing a max of about 85 a week I managed a 2:36.

    A local lad to me does about 140 miles a week regularly and he did York yesterday in 2:25:02 – 1 sec behind TF (of this parish) and took 4th place.

    TF will be able to give you a breakdown of his mileages etc but I think he was peaking about 110-120 a week.

    In terms of fitting it, just get into the habit of going out. Tuesday straight after work. Thursday slower run with dog. Friday 6am start and a longish run plus 2 club runs/sessions a week etc…
    If you want to do it you will make time

    Premier Icon peekay


    This will turn in to a bit of a ramble, so sorry in advance. My thoughts…..

    I ran a sub 3hr a couple of years ago (2.57). It was tough, I think that I trained enough to deserve the time, but wish that I had trained more and put more structure around it. I went in to the race hoping for something around 3.05-3.10ish so was pleasantly surprised with my finishing time. Through doing various sports and jobs over the years I’ve always known that I am OK at running and regularly do so, but wouldn’t call myself a runner as I enjoy other things more than running.

    My training wasn’t really that focussed, I only started thinking about training properly about 4 months out, but I had a good base fitness as I’m active most days and usually do a 25mile each way bike commute once or twice a week, around 3 rides on a mtb a week and usually a solitary 3-5 mile plod jog midweek if time is tight or the weather poor. I have done several half marathons (usually one a year with friends), and had done a 3.18 marathon a few years prior with only 4 weeks notice, so thought that I stood a reasonable chance of coming in at around 3.05 if I put my mind to it.

    I printed a few online training plans knowing that I wouldn’t stick to as I did not want to sacrifice all my riding and replace it with running. My general aim was to reduce the cycle commute to once a week, and mtb to a social Wednesday night ride, and a morning or afternoon on either Sat or Sunday to allow more time for running on the other days.

    For training I generally did 3 runs midweek; a 3-6 mile quick paced run, a 8-13 mile good pace evening run and a either some sprints around a field or a few runs up a big hill as the third midweek session. On whichever weekend day I was not riding, I went for a long cross country run, starting off at around 12 miles and gradually increasing to around 25ish miles. I occasionally squeezed in an extra 3 mile early morning pre-work run.

    I did not have a gps/pace watch for most of the training, so only got to view my distance and pace after the run when I uploaded to Strava from my phone. I found that this was a good way of doing it initially as it got me moving at what I thought felt like a good pace and was not constantly watch watching, but as the race got closer, I realised that I needed to put more effort on maintaining a constant pace on the longer runs so bought a watch.

    I did the vast majority of my training off road (Surrey Hills, so a great network of trails that I’m familiar with through mountain biking) – I hate traipsing around towns on pavements. I do not think that I would have managed to keep with it if I had been bound to tarmac, but felt that I struggled on the race as the impact on the legs from road running was much more severe than I had expected, although the course was much flatter than my training runs so probably cancelled out.

    I used my finishing time for the 2.57 race to get a GFA for London in 2018. I was a bit more casual in my preparation for that, but went in to it with expectations of a similar finishing time. I failed – the race itself was one of the least enjoyable things that I have ever done. It took me about six months before I wanted to put running shoes back on again.

    If you can run 3.18 comfortably, then go for it.

    Premier Icon lunge

    How do people find the time to run so much? I am happy if I can get an hour / hour and a half a week

    I “only” do 35-40 hours per week but the way I do it is by using my commute in the week.
    I live 12 miles from home so can run back in under 2 hours, it takes an hour on the train so it’s not too much extra time. I can also get the train halfway and have a pleasant 5 miles along the canal either way which is almost as quick as the train. Even if I cheat both ways and get the train half way then I can get 30 miles in during the week with 3 commutes with no huge detrimental effect on time home. Add in a long run Saturday (10 miles plus) and you’re there without any issue at all. I’m into winter mileage territory now so no really long runs, but enough to keep fitness. A typical week for me is 35 or 40 miles:
    5 miles each way to/from work twice per week
    10 miles Saturday (3.5 miles to parkrun, 3 miles parkrun, 3 miles home)
    8 miles Sunday (1.5 miles to junior parkrun, 6.5 miles long way home)

    Thankfully I have a wife who also runs so understands that Saturday and Sunday mornings are for running. Tough if she didn’t I’d likely just get up early, a 6am alarm and you’re back at home for 8am anyway.


    When I used to run,I got times of 3.10 and 3.15 on the Edinburgh marathons,the old original route that finished at the Meadowbank stadium. I ran 4 times a week,never much more than an hour,I was working away from home so it was easy to fit in.Never ran anything close to the full distance in training,maybe a couple of 15 milers the month before the races. If I had known then what I know now about training and picked a flat course, I could easily have gone below 3 hours. As the Lune says,once you get your pace sorted out,it should be easy to get close to a 3 hour.Avoiding injuries seems to be hard for a lot of people.


    Running is pretty easy to find time for. I could run till my eye balls popped and be home and in the shower not much more than an hour after leaving the house. You dont need other people (though sometimes its nice) and there is almost no kit to faff with.

    Avoiding injuries seems to be hard for a lot of people

    This. I could have ran 2:30 or faster if not for injuries. Convinced of that.

    Premier Icon st colin

    Where any of you slower than this when you first started running?

    I’m very curious about this. We had a new club record this weekend with a 2:27:57 at the Yorkshire marathon. The guy hasn’t been running long. We also have a runner who is sub 2:45 who started C25K a few years ago doing something like 9m/m.

    I’ve managed a 3:23. Then long term back injury. Over the last couple of months I’ve tried to do more but my HR is through the roof, legs feel like lead with anything over 6 miles, and I can’t seem to go faster than I did in the past. It really is hard work to do 6 miles at sub 7m/m. I’m wondering why I bother as it really is hard work. I’m not feeling any progress.


    Its impossible to say but a good rule of thumb is that with consistent training then most people appear to reach a peak after roughly 10 years. Would be more indicative after 6+ months

    Premier Icon st colin

    Starting from when? I’m 37 and only ran my first marathon in 2016. Before that I’d probably not ran more than 6/7 miles in one go.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon

    How do people find the time to run so much? I am happy if I can get an hour / hour and a half a week. 🙁

    To be fair 50 miles a week is <6 hours if you’re doing a marathon in 3 and aiming to do most of your training at that pace.

    50 minutes a day. Sounds easy when you put it like that. Longer than that procrastinating hour between work and dinner!


    2:52 I was running about 25km a week at the time in sessions of 15, 5 and 5 and did the marathon as training for the Embrun man ironman distance triathlon a few months later. I was also doing a lot of biking, MTBing, swimming, X-C sking, ski alpinisme, climbing… .

    I ran just over 3 hours on not much training a few years back. I was doing about 20 running miles a week, plus 4 hours on the turbo and an hour in the pool. I reckon if I’d been properly committed I might have been able to get under 3 hours, but got bored with it and got back into mtb instead.



    A slightly different view to the guys above who are obviously extremely talented runners, and I suspect downplaying the effort they have put in… I’ve never gone under 4 myself, but a couple of guys in my club have recently gone sub 3.

    Both of them are putting in between 80 and 110 miles per week, at paces close to marathon pace (under 6:50 per mile), as well as strength work in our gym. They are also watching their diet like hawks. it’s pretty much consumed every spare minute of their lives for the last couple of years building up to it. But it’s paying off, as one is on the verge of getting a Championship start at London, which is a hell of an achievement for your average club runner.

    Premier Icon peekay

    Just my thoughts, but I guess what this thread shows is that everyone is different, and although training can help improve performance, the biggest factor in being able to achieve a sub 3hr marathon (or any other arbitrarily chosen time, on an arbitrarily chosen length run/event) is probably down to how you are put together.

    Some people could do 100+ miles structured training per week and still find a 4hr30 marathon challenging, some can do no structured training and do 2hr45 tomorrow. As the distance and time is arbitrary, the challenge is really only against yourself and your own physical capabilities.

    However, if you are the type of person who can comfortably do 3hr18 then sub 3hrs should be achievable without significant change to your training, diet and lifestyle. If you were currently running at a 4hr30 pace then it would be more of a challenge.

    Premier Icon stox

    Sorry, only just got chance to respond after posting this.thanks for the replies tho. Still digesting then!

    There’s some very impressive runners on here that’s for sure! Much more capable than myself and Peekay makes some very valid points imo.

    If I want to step up from the 3:18 to nearer 3/3:05 I know I’ll need to be putting in big weeks … up to 70 miles on my plan. Clearly there’s some gifted runners who can run 3 hrs on much lower volume but that’s not me!
    I have a plan (based on one of Hal Higdon’s) and it consists of hill sessions, speed sessions, tempo runs , marathon pace runs and long runs. Some long runs will have marathon pace miles in them but I’m a firm believer in running some long runs at at least a minute per mile slower than race pace.

    What I do need to start increasing is my core and strength training . Need to get my backside to the gym more

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