Do you think my pace is ok for Sub 4hr?

Hi there,

I have recently joined a running club and I now run regularly throughout the week. I am running the Malta Marathon in February and am wondering if my current pace will  be quick enough to run in under 4 hrs.

I have looked back at my average paces for my previous training runs and normally I average between 8'10 and 8'40 a mile. If I am in good shape I can sometimes push for 7'58. Do you think that I should try to up my pace on my training so that I have a chance at sub 4hr? I'm not going to push too hard as the marathon is only about 6 weeks away but I would like to give it my best shot.


I ran the London Marathon in 2011 and I ran 4hr 48 but I was plagued with injuries that year. Anything better than this would be excellent but breaking 4hr would be even better for me.


Any help or comments would be appreciated.





  • Have you been doing all your runs at the same sort of pace?

    Your long training runs should be well below your intended race pace, and work on your speed done in shorter sessions.  

    It's probably a but late to make much difference at this stage, but something to think about for the next one.

  • My long runs on a sunday are normally about 9 minute miles which I class as slow. I am always trying to get around the 8 min mark for my speed sessions.

    I agree with you that it is a little late, I was having a read of my running book and thought it would be worth getting another opinion on it.

  • Sub 4 is about 9 minute miles, so you must be "racing" those long runs ?

    Long runs would be about 10.30 mins per mile ? And speedwork much quicker. 

    If you are running all the long runs at race pace - it takes it out of you for the rest of your traing. Do you have a recent half time ? Thats always a decent guide. 

  • The more I read of the hadd techniques, the more confidence I have that you need to be slowing down, not speeding up.

    A lot depends on how long your runs have been.  If you've done 20 miles at 9 minutes... then it shows ability.  If it's 10 miles, then it's unproven.

    I'd suggest you can still get to 4 hours, if you've been getting plenty of miles in - even if you have been going too fast.  I think 4 or 5 weeks with a lot of slow running.. at the pace cougie suggests... could save the day. You haven't got time to waste a single run at a pace faster than 9.5 minutes..  and probably better having every mile slower than 10.  Good luck.

  • I run 18 miles at 10 min per mile in my long slow runs but my half marathon race pace (I've only done one) was 8:36 and I honestly thought I was going to die to die from exhaustion at the end of it - I know I couldn't have run it any faster. Do you think I have a 4 hour marathon in me? Not sure if this helps but the fastest I have run 5 miles in training is at 8 min per mile and I don't think I could have run a step further at that pace.
  • its all about getting the long runs in without tiring yourself for the next training sessions........too fast and you are likely to be too tired and prone to injury...once you get the miles under your belt comfortable ... then think about puting some of the long run miles at the 9 min mile pace.........

    nearer the time you can assess your race pace on the way your long runs have been goingimage

  • Khanivore, yes. Those are almost identical to my paces before my last marathon which I finished in 3:55.04

    That 5 mile pace would've been a tempo sandwiched between a couple of miles either side.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Andrew H - I expect you've got a couple of 20-milers lined up before your marathon.  Try this with your next one: first 17 miles at 9:50 miling, last 3 at 9:05.  If you can do that fairly comfortably I'd say you'd be up for 3:59. Don't do all your sessions, especially the long ones, at race pace.

  • Lardarse - it was meant to be the way you described. However due to my inability to read instructions properly I actually just ran the whole 5 miles at the same pace.  It is really encouraging to see that you went sub 4 with similar paces to me! image

    Seren and T-Rex - great, thanks. I will do exactly that. I won't do it right away as I failed at reaching 20 miles the first time I tried it (I believe it was due to lack of taking any food during the run) but once I have done a couple of 20 mile runs I will try what you describe.


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Andrew H/Khanivore = same person? - try a 20 next, a 22 four weeks before your race and a final 18-20 two weeks before.  You probably won't get to 20 if you're trying to go 'flat out', so take it easy and do your hardest work at the end of the run. Experiment with energy drinks and gels on your next long runs.


    I think realistically you're going to be in the 4:20-4:30 bracket - 48 minutes is a massive improvement, but it has been been known.  Let us know how you get on.

  • Hi t-Rex no we are different people but I figured my question would help Andrew so stuck it in here rather than starting a new thread.
  • Hi Thanks for all of your comments and help on my training. T. rex I will give that a go on my next 20 miler. I think I'm so used to running halfs that I run quite quick for my slow runs. I ran a 13 miler today and managed 1hr 53mins. I felt I could have ran another 5 miles but my pace would have been more 9min miles after as opposed to the 8-8.30 min miles I was running. I have some 20 milers lined up in the next 4 weeks so I will plan them properly before I go out.

    Seren nos- Thanks for your input, my rest day is tomorrow and my next run is Tuesday. I am normally feeling good for my next training session and have no problems as long as I warm down properly.

    Oh and for the record khanivore is not the same person as me.

    Thanks everyone
  • Hi everyone, I said I would update this thread when I did my marathon and I got under 4 hours. I did it in 3hrs 59mins 16 secs. It was a warm day in Malta but after blisters bursting, legs aching and other aches and pains it was well worth it.
  • Nice running ! That's perfect pacing ! Well done.
  • Well done Andrew!! You must be chuffed.

    I have pinched some of the advice with 7 weeks to go until VLM but fear I don't have your potential and am on the bench this week with a sore butt too.....
  • Thanks Camlo, am well chuffed. What's your best time fora marathon? You have enough time to get the training In. Nothing is impossible
  • well done andrew with that result.........I bet you had a nervous last couple of pleased you hit your targetimage

  • Thanks seren, yeah a little bit but I just knew I needed to keep going. All paid off in the end though
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