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How I Trained for my First Sub 3 hour Marathon

posted about 5 years ago | Report

I never started running with a goal of running a marathon. To be honest I thought the marathon was for crazy people. I had always run some here and there through Jr. High and High School. In fact I was on the track team for 3 years but never competed. I started as a middle distance runner with the 800 meters but those guys would often train with the distance runners and I didn’t want to run that far, so I changed over to high jump, we never had to run much for training. Each year after high school I would always time myself in the mile just to see if I could still do a mile in less than 6 minutes. It wasn’t until I was 25 years old that a girl friend of mine invited me to run in a 10k race. I said sure. It was in early spring in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It snowed on us for the last mile of the race. I finished in 56 minutes, but I was hooked on road races. I ran 9 more races that year, all 5 & 10k races. My pace steadily improved from a 9 min. pace that first 10k to the low 7s by the end of the year. I decided then I would try some longer races and the Marathon became one of my goals. I ran my first marathon, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth MN, a little more than a year after that first 10k in a time of 3:58. It would be 5 years later at Grandma’s Marathon that I first ran under 3 hours the day before my 31th birthday. I never ran more than 1 or 2 marathons in a year, mainly because the training for them is so time consuming. I was single at the time and my schedule worked so I could have long morning runs before work. Here is my 5 months weekly mileage leading up to my first sub 3. Grandma’s Marathon is always run the 3rd week of June, so a lot of the base miles comes from the winter months, and I was living in Minneapolis at the time. Burrrrr. By the way, at the time of the race I was 6 ft 157 lbs with flat narrow feet with almost no arch, a heavy heal striker, and ran with my toes pointing somewhat out.

January
Week 1 - 25 miles longest run 7 miles
Week 2 - 29 longest run 7
Week 3 - 33 longest run 7 Ran a 5 mile race 32:28 6:30 pace
Week 4 - 33 longest run 11
February (it was a cold month)
Week 5 - 26 longest run 8 Ran a 8 mile race (suppose to be ½ marathon but shorted because it was too cold) 56:05 7:00 pace
Week 6 - 39 longest run 11
Week 7 - 25 longest run 7
Week 8 - 28 longest run 7
March
Week 9 - 37 longest run 11
Week 10- 30 longest run 7 Ran a 5 mile race 31:32 6:18 pace
Week 11- 33 longest run 11
Week 12- 43 longest run 11
Week 13- 37.5 longest run 15.5 Ran a 25k race 1.52.29 7:15 pace 32 degrees 13mph wind and snow/rain
April
Week 14- 48 longest run 16
Week 15- 53 longest run 11 1 day of speed work 6x400 with 6x400 rest laps
Week 16- 44 longest run 16
Week 17- 35 longest run 13 Ran a 10k race 39:11 6:19 pace 40 degrees Rain
May
Week 18- 54 longest run 13.1 Ran a Half Marathon race 1.27.31 6:40 pace
Week 19- 64 longest run 20 also included Fartlek training on the longer runs
Week 20- 67 longest run 16 4 days of 11 miles 1 day of 7 and 1 day of 16
Week 21- 51 longest run 11
June
Week 22- 75 longest run 13.1 Ran a Half Marathon race 1.24.38 6:27 pace Week included 2 days of 2 a day running workouts. 11 miles in the morning and 7 or 3 in the evening.
Week 23- 48 longest run 13
Week 24 – Race Week
Mon – Rest
Tue – 11 miles
Wed- 6 miles morning and a 1 mile timed run evening 5:28 (my fastest 1mile ever)
Thur- 4 miles
Fri- Rest
Saturday RACE DAY 26.2 miles 2.58.26 6:48 pace Time at the half was 1.28.00

  • Thanks for sharing :) I'm training for half marathons. People always ask me if I'm going to do a marathon, and I tell them that 26 miles is just too much, lol. Maybe one day I will attempt it.

    posted about 5 years ago

  • Hey Ron- question: do you think that less weekly miles will affect my ability to complete the half?

    i'm not running 40 miles/week, but my long runs are fairly strong.

    'course i'm training for a 1/2, not a full...

    advice?

    posted about 5 years ago

  • thanks for posting -- great job! I'm hoping for 3:20 marathon in 2 weeks. I was wondering - what was your pace for your long runs?

    posted about 5 years ago

  • in reply to what Tammy A. said:Thanks for sharing :) I'm training for half marathons. People always ask me if I'm going to do a marathon, and I tell them that 26 miles is just too much, lol. Maybe one day I will attempt it.

    Once you get a couple of half marathons under your belt you'll look for a new challenge. For me, the toughest part of running a marathon was the training....not the actual race.

    posted about 5 years ago

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