Ever wondered just what it takes to nail a sub-3 marathon? Running app and social network Strava has analysed the race prep of 4000 users who ran the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon to reveal exactly how training differs across runners with varying finish times.
Over the 12 weeks leading up to the marathon, sub-3 finishers averaged 42 miles per week across seven runs, almost double the amount covered by 3 to 4-hour finishers who did an average 27 miles over four runs. 4 to 5-hour finishers, meanwhile, ran an average 18 miles per week over three runs, while those who finished in over five hours did an average 14 miles over two runs.
The long run/short run split in training was remarkably similar across all finish times, with runs of less than 5 miles making up 40.5-50% of training and 15+ mile long runs making up 8-10.5%. In between these, 5 to 10-mile runs made up 29-37.5% of training, while 10 to 15-mile runs accounted for 11-12%.
In terms of tapering, sub-3 runners peaked on average four weeks out from the marathon, hitting an average 51 miles across seven runs. For 5+ hour finishers, the peak was earlier at six weeks before the event with an average of 20 miles.