Is a sub 4 hour marathon possible for me?

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01/10/2012 at 10:19

Hi

I've got a place in the Brighton marathon and it will be my first marathon, but I'm wondering if sub 4 hours is possible based on my times so far.

All but two of my runs have been for fun/training until the last couple of weeks, where I have done one Park Run and a 10k Corporate fund raiser. So although some will be training, the following list is my fastest times to date (with McMillan Running calculator times in brackets for a marathon:

5k - 22:16 (3.37)

10k - 46:28 (3:38)

15k - 1:14:33 (3:46)

10 miles - 1:19:50 (3:44)

HM - 1:49:43 (3:50)

I'm running the Royal Parks Half Marathon this Sunday, so hopefully that time will come down.

I know that the calculator won't be bang on accurate and it's just a guide, but if I put the training in, do people think a sub 4 hour marathon, even if it's my first, could be possible?

The reason for asking is because I only started running just over a year ago, and this time last year, I was probably only just about running 5k (slowley). I have always wanted to try and run a marathon, and hopefully I will in Brighton next year, but I never thought I would do it quickly as I was always thinking about 5 hours!

cougie    pirate
01/10/2012 at 10:36
Looks very possible on that half marathon time.
But if you make a step change in your training then you will smash the 4 hour goal.
01/10/2012 at 10:36

If your stamina is good then a sub 4 marathon looks possible to me.

Your 10km PB is better than mine, but your half time is slighty worse than mine was before I broke the 4 hour mark. I ran 3:49 in Paris this year, but it was my 8th marathon. Your times make it look like sub 4 is certainly possible. If you are willing to commit the time and effort to your training then you should have a good shot at a sub 4 marathon.

Given that you only started running a year ago to set those times I'd certainly rate your chances of going sub 4 if you train for it as being high.

01/10/2012 at 10:46

If you put the training in then yes, a sub 4 hr marathon is an achievable aim.

You need to work on endurance. 26.2 miles will feel like a long way. Start now to build a good base mileage before you start your training programme. Well, run the Royal Parks then have 2 weeks rest just doing some easy running or xtraining then start building up a good base mileage. What the is will depend on you and how much time you have but running at least 35 miles a week should be your aim. Have an easy week to coinside with Christmas / New Year, then start your marathon training programme.

You will receive a whole tonne of advice, much of it conflicting. Read around a bit, think on what you want to do / have the time to do then decide. Stick with your training plan it will be what will help you through.

 

01/10/2012 at 11:55

Thanks for all the replies. I forgot to metion that I have also done a run that was almost 29.3Km (18 miles) and according to my Garmin, that took basically 2h44. However, I didn't build up to that, I just did it (probably shouldn't of), then when I got home I spent about an hour on the sofa (after getting washed) in the recover position thinking that it would still be another 8 miles.

I've done quite a bit of running this year, so after next Sunday I was going to cut down a bit and then start training just after Christmas. However, should I start earlier?

I was watching Berlin yesterday and thinking that I have always wanted to visit there. Then I started thinking about timing a trip with the marathon 

01/10/2012 at 12:13

You really need to build a decent base mileage before you embark on any marathon training programme. If you rest between now and Christmas you stand the risk of loosing your base level fitness, making it that much harder to go under 4hrs.

Sorry, now is not the time to take time out. (after 2 weeks off after your next hm)

You should not start training for the marathon just yet as you will be totally fed up by the time it comes around and probably just a little burnt out. There are plenty of off road races in the run up to Christmas, why not run a few of those just to have a little fun - no time set, just to enjoy the running.

 

01/10/2012 at 12:16

What you need to do depends on what marathon you aim for. If it's a spring marathon then getting a good base fitness over the next couple of months would be good. If your aim is Berlin next year, then a couple of months of easy training just now isn't going to be an issue as you have a long time to build.

I tend to do an 18 week marathon training schedule. If you want to have less issues with the training then starting with a good base is ideal. If you can go out and regularly run 10/12/13 miles at an easy pace, then the ramp up is going to hurt far less. Even when not marathon or half marathon training I tend to do a "long" weekend run most weeks. When not marathon training to me that is anything between 10-14 miles. I enjoy that sort of running and that type of distance though. It also tends to mean the first few weeks of any marathon training plan are what I would normally run anyway.

My one tip would be make sure you get the long runs in during training. Everyone is different and will provide different advise, but I find I've always ran better in the later stages of marathons after getting 4 or 5 runs of 20 miles or more in.

Oh, and I ran Berlin in 2011. It's a great race. I'd certainly recommend it.

Edited: 01/10/2012 at 12:18
01/10/2012 at 12:19

T.mouse - So should I be aiming for 35 miles per week between the middle of this month and the start of the marathon training which I was thinking would be the end of December, start of January?

01/10/2012 at 16:18

I'm also looking to make a step change in my training, and vastly improve on my marathon PB. I've so far run only 1 (Brighton in 2010) in 5:08. I was happy to get round given the lack of training for it (avg weekly mileage before race was

01/10/2012 at 16:23

not sure what happened then...

anyway, avg mileage was about 15 per week, so i just didn't have the endurance to complete in a decent time.

I've recently returned to running after only running sporadically since 2010, and am up to 20 miles per week now. Intending to increase to about 30 per week by xmas, then start a 16 week training plan straight after new year, with the hope to get as close to 4 hours as possbile.

i think given your current training volume and your PBs, a 4hour target is realistic and achieveable if you focus on increasing your volume and doing regular long runs to improve your endurance over those longer distances. best of luck

01/10/2012 at 16:24
AgentGinger wrote (see)

I'm also looking to make a step change in my training, and vastly improve on my marathon PB. I've so far run only 1 (Brighton in 2010) in 5:08. I was happy to get round given the lack of training for it (avg weekly mileage before race was

... a secret?

Edited: 01/10/2012 at 17:08
01/10/2012 at 17:34

sleaver, what is your current mileage?

35 is a good ball park figure for pre marathon, however if you are happy to run more then that is better. If 35 seems like a hard challenge then don't do it. You still need to live. Remember to have easy weeks as well. they will help you more than you realise.

This period shouldn't be arduous.

02/10/2012 at 11:02

On the subject of base training and aerobic endurance, will 2-3 months of steadily higher mileage (say 30 miles per week) cause a notable, significant or even large improvement in pace, if the most i've ever done previously was around 10-15 miles per week? And how long until I start to see the gain?

As I mentioned above, my marathon time in 2010 was just over 5 hours, with one 18 mile long run, one 16 mile, a couple of 14 mile runs, and an average of about 15 miles a week in the 6 months leading to the race. My hope is that simply adding lots of slow miles between now and xmas will mean I'm recognisably fitter when I start the training in January. Is that reasonable?

02/10/2012 at 12:10

Very reasonable. The more miles that you can run at a comfortable pace the better.

The theory is that it takes 3 weeks for increased mileage to take effect. The effects will be quite noticeable at the outset. Certainly you will feel the effect for the duration of your training. You'll be able to run further feeling more comfortable and your recovery will be quicker. You'll just be a stronger runner all round.

The effects of greater weekly mileage will be very positive.

02/10/2012 at 14:08

IF you can run 5 or 6 times a week.   It is beneficial to up the miles to about 50 running at 10 min miles..   I did this for my PB of 3:50 and could of gone quicker.  So if y ou were to spend 3 months doing this and getting the  miles in and thendoing a marathon plan 4 hours is more than possible

Edited: 02/10/2012 at 14:10
02/10/2012 at 15:21
T.mouse wrote (see)

Very reasonable. The more miles that you can run at a comfortable pace the better.

The theory is that it takes 3 weeks for increased mileage to take effect. The effects will be quite noticeable at the outset. Certainly you will feel the effect for the duration of your training. You'll be able to run further feeling more comfortable and your recovery will be quicker. You'll just be a stronger runner all round.

The effects of greater weekly mileage will be very positive.

At the moment, it's about 25. However, time is limited coming up as I'll soon be leaving for work in the dark and getting home in the dark, but I'm probably going to be joining a gym.

If I can't up that due to time and it means sub 4 would be hard, then it's not the end of the world. If I'm honest, my main goal is to finish and then I would be happy with something between 4 and 4:30 with sub 4 being great if it's possible for me.

03/10/2012 at 10:20

Ive just done my first marathon at Loch Ness was aiming for 4.15,ended up finishing in 4.36 whach im a bit dissapointed with.

On reflection i now realise there wasnt enough base mileage before i started my 16 week marathon programme.Total rest this week for me then a few easy ones next week then i will be building my base mileage back up.Ive got unfinished busines with both half marathon and marathon distance and next year my main goals are to improve my time at Alloa half in March(this year 1.49.03),and do a an autumn marathon and try and get a sub 4 as well.

im planning on getting a decent base in over 2 months of 40mpw then start more specific half mara training.Then build the base again in prep for an autum marathon campaign.

Does this sound ok ,as these are the 2 main target races for next year with maybe the odd parkrun and 10k race thrown in for good measure along the way?

03/10/2012 at 11:09

Running 26.2 miles often comes as a shock to the system .

I sometimes advise first-time marathoners, unless experienced youngish club runners, to double their half time and then add an hour (yes, that's right, an HOUR). Then when they finish (invariably around that time) they are well pleased . The aim of a first marathon should be to get round, to feel good and to be looking forward to another marathon because it was enjoyable, not because you are disappointed in 'failing to meet a target'. Then by building up a strong base of long, SLOW miles, before specific marathon training, most runners (but not all) can take a fair bit of time off and start setting pbs.

Running marathons should be all about achievement and enjoyment, fast times are an added bonus.

03/10/2012 at 12:23

i'm reading a lot of the threads on here about base building, and increasing mileage outside of a specific marathon program. Caveats about adding mileage sensibly and avoiding injury by running too many miles too quickly, it seems you really can't run TOO much, i.e. your lifestyle and commitments will be the limiting factor, if you want to improve your marathon times.

03/10/2012 at 12:35

Young Cowboy - I don't know what you currently run per week, but I personally don't feel you need an average base of 40mpw before entering marathon training. That all depends on what you currently run each week though. I know I broke the sub 4 barrier this year at Paris running a 3:49 while doing an average of 40-50mpw during marathon training. In my base periods of running with no events to train for I average closer to 25-30mpw, but one of those weekly runs will be at least 10-13 miles.

I also think it's good advice that has been given that your first marathon should be for the joy of completion rather than for a specific time. Not only do you learn a lot about yourself and how you deal with things in those final few miles of the marathon, you learn a lot about how you train and what works for you and what doesn't during training for it.

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