RW’s Ultimate Marathon Schedule: Sub-4:00

A 4:00 marathon is approximately 9:00 per mile. To break 4:00, you should eventually be capable of a sub-1:50 half-marathon (8:20 per mile) and sub-50:00 10K (8:00 per mile). Right now, you should be running at least 20 miles per week, and be able to run for an hour non-stop.

For The Month Ahead...

Your Goal A sub-50:00 10K or sub-40:00 5-mile race (Week 4). More...
Your Theme You build your base. More...

Week One (19M)
Mon 3M (miles) (30 mins) slow
Tue Rest
Wed 4M (40 mins) slow
Thu 2M (18 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun 7M (70 mins) slow

Week Two (25M)
Mon Rest
Tue 5M of 1M jog, then 2 x 1.5M (or 14 mins) fast, with 400m (3-min) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 5M (50 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 2M (18 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 8M (80 mins) slow

Week Three (29M)
Mon Rest
Tue 6M of 1M jog, then 3 x 1M (or 9 mins) fast, with 400m (3-min) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 6M (60 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 3M (27 mins) steady, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 9M (90 mins) slow

Week Four (27M)
Mon Rest
Tue 5M of 1M jog, then 4 x 800m (or 4 mins) fast, with 200m (2-min) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 7M (70 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 2M (16 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun 1M jog, then race 10K or 5M, then 1M jog. Aim for a sub-50:00 10K or sub-40:00 5-miler

For The Month Ahead...

Your Goal Complete a run of around 2 hours 40 mins (Week 7). More...
Your Theme You add volume and speed. More...

Week Five (30M)
Mon Rest
Tue 1M jog, then 4M (or 40 mins) fartlek, then 1M jog
Wed 5M (50 mins) slow
Thu 5M (45 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 11M (1hr 50) slow

Week Six (33M)
Mon Rest
Tue 6M of 1M jog, then 8 x 2 mins up hill, jog back. Then 1/m jog at end of session
Wed 6M (60 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 3M (25 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 13M (2hrs 10) slow

Week Seven (37M)
Mon Rest
Tue 6M of 1M jog and strides, then 10 x 400, with 200m (1-min 30 ) jog recoveries, then 1M kog
Wed 7M (70 mins) slow
Thu 6M (55 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun 15M (2hrs 30) slow

Week Eight (31M)
Mon Rest
Tue 5M of 1M jog and strides, then 12 x 200, with 200m (1-min) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 7M (approx 70 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 2M (16 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun Race (ideally half-marathon) (15M inc warm up/ cool down)

For The Month Ahead...

Your Goal A sub-1:50 half-marathon (Week 10). More...
Your Theme You reach your highest mileage. More...

Note that the ‘approximate’ targets for training sessions are exactly that, especially on longer runs. By now, your training and racing should be giving you a clearer idea of your marathon (steady) and half-marathon (brisk) paces. Also, the times in the Tuesday speed sessions are alternatives to the distances, rather than targets. You should be running them as fast yet evenly as you can; roughly between 5K and 10K pace.

Week Nine (41M)
Mon Rest
Tue 6M of 1M jog and strides, 10 x 90 seconds up hill, jog back. Then 1M jog at end of session
Wed 7M (70 mins) slow
Thu 8M (72 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun 17M (2hrs 55) slow

Week Ten (38M)
Mon Rest
Tue 7M of 1M jog, 3 x 1.5M (or 134mins) fast with 400m (or3-min) jog recoveries, the 1M jog
Wed 8M (82 mins) slow
Thu 1 mile jog, then 3M (25 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun Half-marathon Aim for sub-1:50 (15M inc warm up and cool down)

Week Eleven (43M)
Mon Rest
Tue 1M jog, then 5M (or 55 mins) fartlek, then 1M jog
Wed 6M (60 mins) slow
Thu 8M (72 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 19M (3hrs 15) slow

Week Twelve (43M)
Mon Rest
Tue 7M of 1M jog and strides, 4 x 1M (or 9 mins) fast with 200m (or 90 secs) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 7M (70 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 3M (25 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 21M (3hrs 35) slow

For The Month Ahead...

Your Goal A serious taper and a rewarding marathon. More...

Week Thirteen (42M)
Mon Rest
Tue 6M of 1M jog and strides, then 10 x 90 seconds up hill, jog back. Then 1m jog at end of session
Wed 7M (70 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, 4M (35 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 20M (3hrs 25) slow

Week Fourteen (39M)
Mon Rest
Tue 1M jog, then 6 x 800m (or 4 mins) fast, with 100m (or 1-min) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 6M (60 mins) slow
Thu 7M (68 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy or parkrun
Sun 18M (3hrs 05) slow

Week Fifteen (30M)
Mon Rest
Tue 5M of 1M jog, then 8 x 400m (or 90 secs) fast with 200m (or 2-min) jog recoveries, them 1M jog
Wed 5M (50 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 3M (25 mins) brisk, then 1M jog
Fri Rest
Sat 3M (30 mins) easy
Sun 12M (1hr 50) steady

Week Sixteen (35M inc race)
Mon Rest
Tue 4M of 1M jog, then 10 x 200m (or 45 secs fast), with 100m (or 30 secs) jog recoveries, the 1M jog
Wed 3M (30 mins) slow
Thu Rest
Fri Rest
Sat 2M (or 20 mins) easy
Sun The race