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Best running plan for a sub 4 hour marathon?

  • 28-01-2022 12:34am
    Registered Users Posts: 522 ✭✭✭

    Looking for ideas...any good online plans or books with plans in them that you would recommend?



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,493 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks - I followed this plan for my 1st marathon with lots of other novices which lead me to a sub 4 marathon. It is aimed at slightly more experienced runners. It includes more variety in paces (either "easy" pace, or PMP ("planned marathon pace"), it includes strides on some of the easy runs, and generally covers more miles - e.g. 2 * 20 milers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 387 ✭✭passinginterest

    That boards novices plan will get you there alright (3.59 and a bit but it got me there!). And if there’s a boards novices thread for Dublin this year it’s well worth getting involved and following along. You might end up in a what’s app group with a bunch of running ****, but it’s a risk worth taking!

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,196 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    Don't overthink it, sub 4 is well within reach for anyone that commits to it.

    Build up your mileage sensibly, focus on frequency and consistency, run a few miles faster than MP, some miles at MP and most miles slower than MP, eat and sleep well and enjoy the journey.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    I’m not sure it’s as simple as just committing to it. You need to be at a reasonable standard before you commit to a sub 4 schedule . It may seem within reach to folk who have a natural ability for running but for some of us the struggle is real .

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    Don't undersell yourself, the first part of the commitment might be to get to a reasonable standard and that timeline will be different depending on the individual, that's where the commitment comes from.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    I agree that it is a reasonable target for most people - and also yes the timeline is important . I think you need to be able to run a sub 50 tenk and have a base mileage of about 25-30 miles a week before starting a 12-16 week schedule.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,414 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    You also need the discipline to execute whatever plan you use (and really, any will do) the way it was designed. Too many runners say thing like “Yes, but I’m different, my easy pace is faster than that”, etc.

    The other thing is, a sub-4 is a much better achievement for women than it is for men, so women have to commit more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Totally agree with all of this . I was 5 mins off a sub 4 last time out but it was the first time the training felt good and I could do all the sessions and hit all the paces . The difference being that I stuck to a defined easy pace , and didn't try to beat the workout . The marathon before that I think I raced every session didn’t do anywhere near the mileage and hated every second of it .

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,289 ✭✭✭ariana`

    I doubt there is any one plan that is significantly more guaranteed to get you there than another. It's individual. For me, as a middle aged female who had done very little activity for most of my adulthood, it took a few years (the guts of 5 years to be honest, though Covid may have delayed the opportunity to race) of doing the miles week in week, month in month out for me to get there. It was much less about the 10 week specific training I did which really just gave me the confidence on the day to go after it, no matter how much it hurt, I knew I had it. I think people don't necessarily like to think about the miles that have to be put in to get to the point of even starting to train for a marathon and depending on your background maybe some people don't have to think about it but for some of us sub 4 is a huge achievement, it's all relative. But best of luck in whatever plan you choose, enjoy the process.

  • Registered Users Posts: 522 ✭✭✭Runster

  • Registered Users Posts: 415 ✭✭ISOP

    I used the runners world sub 4 plan and followed it to the tee in Berlin 2019, came home in 3:58. Not very taxing at all

  • Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭Degsy123

    Just to share my long experience of trying to beat the elusive 4 hour mark! I had run 9 marathons over 10 years, hovering painfully close but never quite getting there despite “following” various well known plans. I finally managed to comfortably get sub 4 last year. The difference was I signed up with a coach and worked off his plan, which wasn’t a lot different to other plans except now I was accountable to him and I’d say over the duration of the plan I missed no more than 3 workouts!! I’m now targeting 3:30 in my next !! So there’s no secret sauce - it’s hard honest miles . Good luck