Mission sub 3 marathon

04 April,2019 by Rambler

Mission sub 3:00 marathon (It's not rocket science)

I'm on a mission  to run a sub 3 hr marathon (& beyond). My most recent marathon I hit 3:01:38 - with a significant marathon fade in the last couple of miles.  I was training for London Marathon 2020 in April - but due to Covid-19 - the London marathon is delayed to October 2020.But then , more National Lockdowns & other restrictions led to the cancellation of London Marathon 2020. 

The next marathon target in London Marathon 2021 - scheduled for October 3rd , 2021.

I've been close a few times . Documenting  my marathons below - I've realised  training  consistently is probably the single biggest factor in the steady improvement -also include more running, improved nutrition, much less alcohol, and losing 13 kilograms (28 pounds) have all helped 

In all cases , after some tweaks a jump happened. Brighton marathon 2013 was one of those times with the introduction of a weekly MP run increasing every week , as well as the other running.Brighton marathon 2014 - also included more MP work .

Which is why I  introduced marathon paced running again for my  training bloc for Abingdon October 2019 . On Thursdays I was doing  doing a specific MP session , with a regular increase in volume every week. These are hard sessions - I do them on my own on the seafront ,  with a GPS watch . 

The result for Abingdon October was about 3:05 - check details below - about 4 mins slower than PB. I don't think this was a reflection of the training - but about some surges I threw in - at about mile 10 - but by mile 18 was feeling it. Causing me to slow down. A solid run but I was expecting a slightly better result. 

I've tried a few different approaches in attempt to squeeze those extra few minutes out of my body. I'm currently training for London Marathon 2020 , and returned to the approach I've felt has been the most effective. (Details below).   It's super simple - based on consistent mileage , regular but short pace sessions.     Based around a weekly routine of  easy Long Run and Medium Long Run , 3 shorter sessions and the rest easy.  No super - sessions. 


Marathons so far .....

Brighton Marathon 2010 - 4:10    - Registered on a whim - 12 weeks training , 3-4 runs a week

Brighton Marathon 2011- 4:05   - Didn't run much after 2010 - 12 weeks training , 3-4 runs a week

Brighton Marathon 2012 - 3:30  - Didn't run much after 2011, but this time followed 16 week programme Frank Horwill - inc weekly MP run. 5 runs a week

Brighton Marathon  2013- 3:28  - approx 40 miles per week - DIY program including weekly Long Run . 5 runs a week

Brighton Marathon  2014- 3:09  - Tried not to get unfit , implemented some MP workouts - good improvement . 6 runs a week

Brighton Marathon 2015 - 3:10 -Similar training to BM 2014 - went out to fast - blew up.

Abingdon Marathon 2015 - 3:06 - Best I've ever felt in a marathon, ran without GPS , I'd decided before the race to just run on feel. Training included 6 Long Runs at 3 hrs with shorter run later in day. Little speedwork

The basic weekly pattern was :


Tue:Progressive tempo

Wed: Mid week long run 

Thurs: Run including 10 x 1\1 


Sat:progressive tempo

Sun: Long Run Easy 


London Marathon 2016 - 3:05 - Continued fitness, similar training to AM 2015. 

Abingdon Marathon 2016 - 3:12 - Lost some fitness , tried to make up ,went out to fast hit the wall hard at 18 miles. 

London Marathon 2017 - Deferred (injured - Plantar Fascitis\ Shin Splints). Training was going excellently, overdid it , out of action for about 3 months. Even through was excellent leading up to the injury - I switched abruptly to road running from trail -  and body didn't deal with it very well. Lesson learnt: Do not do anything very suddenly , ease you way into it. 

Abingdon Marathon 2017 - 3:18 - Trained cautiously after injuries . Kept hard running to minimum, treated it like a long run. I'd built up to a couple of long runs  in the lead up Gale force winds. 

London Marathon - 2018 - DNF - dropped out at 12 miles. Super Hot. Ill on course. Training was excellent , followed sub3marathoner schedule. 

Abingdon Marathon - 2018 - 3:09   - Marathon fade. Not enough long runs, 6 runs a week Was going for 3.05 - pace felt fast . 

Brighton Marathon - 2019 - 3:01:32 - Felt strong. 7 runs a week, including LR, MLR, 3 sessions a week.

Abingdon Marathon 2019 - 3:05:18 . Mon: Easy Tue: 100 mins including fartlek Wed:Easy Th:120 mins inc MP work Fri:Easy Sat:Easy inc shorter fast e.g Park Run,hill fartlek or FF run Sun:Long Run 

Also including a "down week" every 3-4 weeks , where I drop the volume by 25% for every run 

The weather was perfect , training went well - and was on pace for sub 3 - starting fading from about mile 15 - which suggests maybe went out slightly fast. I thought the series of marathon-specific training (every Thursday ) would help - but not for this cycle. 

I need to decide on any (if any ) adjustments - various suggestions from running friends . I'll jog around for the next couple of weeks and decide. 

One thing noticeable in this last 6 months was the lack of racing shorter distances - apart from a few Park Runs.   There was also much less interval work. 

London Marathon April  October 2020 -Cancelled Registered for London Marathon 2020 through a good for age (GFA) place.

I was training with increased effort\focus - but with about 9 weeks to go , the London Marathon organisers decided to postpone London Marathon 2020 from April to October due to Covid 19.

I've decided to settle into a regular pattern for the next 10-15 weeks , and then pick up the long runs with about 12 weeks to go

Most - if not all races appear to be cancelled - and the government guidelines are to run solo - practising social distancing

Run long on long run days
Run fast on speed session days
Run easy on easy days
Mon  Easy/relaxed Easy - Very
Tue Hill Session or Track Session 8 x 2' \ 1' or  15' tempo + hills or longer hill circuit
Wed  Long Slow Medium Long Run  - Easy
Thurs track session,short\fast Mona Fartlek or 4 x 5' or 3 x 1 mile or tempo
Fri Easy/relaxed Easy -
Sat  short/fast-constant effort Race\3 x 8 ' \ 2' or 40'-50' tempo or 3 x 5k
Sun  long Slow Very Long Run - Easy - 12 weeks to go last 30' pickup



London Marathon  October 3rd 2021 -In - training  Registered for London Marathon 2021 through a good for age (GFA) place.

The same principles as above will apply for this marathon. I've found with trial & error , just consistent training - with no unexpected changes - day in day out - keeps me fresh (relatively fresh).  As I work full time , knowing what I'm doing on any give day - makes life easier - I don't want to think about it - preferring to run. 

I have in previous training - made sudden changes - based on a random piece of advice , and then got injured , fatigued and generally overcooked on race day!

Some specific details will include

  • Longest run - 6 weeks out e.g 3 hrs - avoid session the day before and very light on the next session
  • Race or long tempo - 3 - 4 weeks 




Author: Rambler (http://www.dba-ninja.com)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment on Mission sub 3 marathon