Sub 3

For anyone trying to crack the 3 in any marathon anywhere in the world

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23/10/2012 at 20:27
Yes, quality running all round this weekend. Very impressed and motivated by it all. World champions, 56 min 10 milers and sub-3 marathons. Top bombing.

I've just completed day 6 of my 50 days to get fit programme. The rule is to run at least 4 miles every day and lay off the booze for the duration. Been out at the crack of dawn with the dog every morning. We do 4-5 miles at about 8:30mm but increasingly he is wanting me to run faster - if I get too slow he nips at my ankles! Must be the border collie sheepdog genes.
23/10/2012 at 21:53

Good luck with all that MTR!  Wish I had your ability to abstain but I've just been invited out for a late pint.     Useful dog by the sound of it!

4.2 + 6.5m today.  Quite enjoying this calm, dull weather.

I'm feeling left out of this 'Njord abuse'.  I'l have to tell him he can't handle his beer or something...


23/10/2012 at 22:09


Last session of the campaign tonight. Club speed session which was easy on the speed as there were 6 of us there just stretching our legs before the marathon on Sunday. 6 x 1km, 4 at MP, 1 done chatting, and stretched my legs a bit on the last one. Ready for the carb load.

23/10/2012 at 22:11

MTR - good man, see you on the start line then.

Andy - well done, just have to execute it on the day now, you've done all of the hard bit.


23/10/2012 at 22:39


LS21 - great to read stories like that, real essence of what it's all about. Glad you had a good race and time with your folks. Sounds like an ace event, I'll run it one day I'm sure

MtR - sounds like back in a groove

Wardi - nice double

Club run tonight, mile reps of thereabouts in a business park. Body groaned, felt really out of sync and was tired but feel good for it now. Had been sitting in the library for almost 3 hours writing an essay so was good to blow cobwebs out. Not registered in time for xc fixture on sat so might do park run sat morning if I;m in the mood. 10k race on horizon in a few weeks.

24/10/2012 at 07:36

Andy - all the hard work's done then, now comes the reward for all that work.

MtR - nice plan, I bet you'll see a huge improvement over the 50 days which will be satisfying.

Track for me too last night - 5x300 (I didn't run these too hard as that's what hurts my calves, so around 50s, and I jogged 300m recovery rather than walk back 100m like everyone else), then 3x1M all in 4:59-5:01, which I think felt more comfortable than they've ever felt at that pace.

24/10/2012 at 09:10

Now theres me thinking prick was a term of endearment used in the Wirral.

MtR, Good luck with the comeback. Your improvement to 2:50 marathon was an inspiration to me. I'm sure you'll get your own back on the pooch before long.

Andy D, Enjoy the taper. And all the best for the day.

Padams, Sensible track session.

I've been recovery running for a week and a half now, and everythings feeling a-ok. Itching to start again for Brass monkey, but will resist the temptation until next week at least.


24/10/2012 at 10:20

Padams - smoking fast ! Fancy 10 of those mile reps  ?

Brian - when is BM ? is it a PB course ?

24/10/2012 at 10:24

TR, BM is 20th Jan. Fast and flat. Only non-flat bits are bridges. It was very windy last year though and put paid to fast times.

24/10/2012 at 11:02

Padams - Blimey that's some impressive speed

Andy - Cotton wool time

MtR - glad to see you back at it.

RS78 - Nice blow out.

I had a bit of a "coro" run yesterday out the door by 4am, 17.25 milesdone by 6am, easy run tonight then track tomorrow, could be interesting..... 



24/10/2012 at 11:54

Fabulous results from Marigold and Marders.  It was interesting to read the race reports as looking at the splits it looked like Marigold had simply maintained pace while the others slipped away - lies, damned lies and statistics I guess.  Marders tweets suggests that he's not finished for this year either...

Delighted to hear of LS21's result too as well as the tears of the guy he ran with who has been capable of sub-3 year for several years but always had something go wrong.

Sounds like Wardi is starting to generate some speed again.

MtR - Good luck with the plan.  IIRC you did some Hadd type training before.  Does this bear any resemblance to that?

Sounds like you're ready to go Andy - good luck!

SL - 4am!

Padams - Impressive!

Njord - I did wonder if you had suddenly developed keyboard Tourette's .  Back to back sub-3's will be impressive.

DanA - think your (very sound) advice is valid for shorter races too.  Sorry to hear about the DNF - does sound like you made the right decision though.

CW - Targeting another PB at the 10 miler?

CC2 - Going back a little bit here but sorry to hear of your marathon woes.  At least the cause is clear and easily addressed

PP - Nice time at the Cabbage Patch 10

Slowly ticking along here.  Trying to listen to my body but also taking a day off every 4th day whether I feel I need it or not.  It's all slow - so slow that I might dig out the HRM and see if my RPE matches up to my HR.  It's all about developing form at the moment and protecting the ankle though so lots of short runs although I did manage an hour at the weekend.  I'm not measuring it yet because that might tempt me into going faster but I'd be surprised if I managed even 7 miles in the hour.  Much happier to be running than not though!

24/10/2012 at 12:05

Clearly - sounds good, keep doing what you're doing. Slow running is very under-rated.

Brian - hope you get a still day then if its an A race. I think I'm doing a 10k on that day so that might put the kybosh on the weather although you live a long way away from me.

SL - wow ! You were finished as I was thinking about starting !

24/10/2012 at 12:16

Clearly -- glad you're back to it (likewise Brian). I am tapering for my 10M on Sunday, but it might be a bit windy to PB -- and when I got my PB (55:57) I was lucky enough to be in a fast group of 5, which was a bit of a fluke for a small race.

SL -- to be a 'coro' you should have stopped at ~10M! Impressive though.

Padams -- interesting, my calves are the first things to pack up when running fast too, though I'm about half your height if that makes any difference :- ). Maybe we've both got relatively tough quads from also cycling, and they're not needed so much anyway, leaving only the calves to suffer...

24/10/2012 at 14:22

LS - Congratulations on the sub-3 at Abingdon, great stuff after a difficult year to date.

DanA - Commiserations on the Abo DNF, maybe a little too much too soon in the recovery cycle, but just think how you were thinking a few months ago!

PP - Tasty time at the CP 10 and top marks for a weekend racing double Excellent beverage choices too 

Padams - Nice speedy mile reps (I'm still waiting for the chance at a crack at just one at that sort of speed!)

SL - I love early morning running (ideally with no speed involved though!) when it's quiet, even in a big city. 4am is truly early though, have you seen this website before?

Things seem to be getting back to normal for me so doing a bit of an active taper for the Great South this weekend. 1.5k swim monday morning, 5.75ml fartlek (quite quick average of 6:27/ml) at lunchtime yesterday, club session last night (2x8min continuous hills), 1 hr of strength/core/stretching in gym this AM and a gentle 4ml pootle at lunch .



24/10/2012 at 14:43

CW - I did think that and I would have also had to run it in about 55mins  ;-)

Clearly - glad to see you running.

24/10/2012 at 14:52

Hello all. Not sure if i really belong here but looking for some guidance from 'them what know' of which there seem to be plenty on this thread!

So here's me. PBs all this year or relatively recent: 5k = 18:10; 10k = 37:50; 10mile = 1hr03; HM = 1hr27. I've run on and off for many years but pretty low mileage by the standards of this thread! Currently base training on 4 runs totalling about 20 to 30mpw plus a bunch of cross training in pool and on road bike. Long run (I can hear you cringe as I write this) generally once a fortnight 2hrs/14miles, which I know is far to short and infrequent for mara training. 

Here's the thing, I would dearly love to give the 'sub 3' a decent crack next year as I've just turned 40 and one needs a bit of a goal, right?

Questions: 1. is this a totally unrealistic and silly pipe dream? Bear in mind I've not done a mara before; and 2. If not unrealistic, how do I go about getting from here to there? and which mara? 

Thanks in advance!

24/10/2012 at 15:40

Welcome to the thread Leeps, I don't think you're far off track in your ambitions. Those were the sorts of times I was running prior to doing my first marathon (and sub 3) at Abingdon this time last year. It would be useful to know if any of your 4 weekly runs are specific (speed, hills, tempo etc..). A bit of structure (longer long runs, speedwork and some marathon pace work) and a few more miles (I did Abingdon off a peak of 50ml/week and with injury interruptions) would give you a very good chance of a sub 3 IMO 

24/10/2012 at 16:20

Welcome Leeps. You haven't given us much background about how long you've been running, but going by what you have told us:

1. You have the raw speed endurance to run a sub-3 marathon. Your 5k and 10k time indicate this. They're fast enough. My 5k PB is only 4 seconds faster and I've run 2:51.

2. You lack endurance. Your times tail off as the distance increases. If you look at the McMillan racing calculator (which is OK, if a little ambitious for marathon.times), your 5k time would equate to a half-marathon of 1:24, whereas your PB is 1:27.

3. You don't run enough miles. I think with your level of training/performance, you need to be averaging a minimum of about 40mpw, peaking at 50-60 to be confident of success. You need to run more and at a range of paces. It's very possible to run sub-3 off fewer miles, but those that do tend to have the ability to run much faster.

Stick around, this is a great place to learn. In 2007 I popped in here when I'd just run my first marathon in 3:15, and learned a lot.

24/10/2012 at 16:35

PP - nice PB at cabbage patch.

Padams - quick reps there.

SL - dedication to the cause, bet you didn't see too many other runners out at that time!

Clearly - keep at it, it must be good to be running at all for you.

MtR - likewise and having the dog for company sounds fun.

Leeps - If you're doing those times off that training then you should be able to get into sub3 ahape with some better training as long as you commit to it and put the effort in.  As TR says, slow running is very underrated so you can add volume quite easily.

Still easing back into it with mainly easy running but I should be up over 60 again this week and I'm enjoying being able to get out every day.

24/10/2012 at 16:48

Leeps - its certainly doable, I had similar PBs (hadnt run a 1/2 though) and did a yearly GSR in ~64 or 65mins off a longest training run of 7M, I simply built some endurance and bagged a 2:52 mara aged 40. You have enough leg speed, you just need miles. Sub3 has nothing to do with fast running (not at the 2:5X end anyway).

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