3:59 marathon?

This coming May I will be running the Prague marathon and it will be my first. I would like to aim for a time of 3:49 or better. Ambitious, I know. I will not kill myself for it, but I would like to try. I have been running for a little over a year and here are my times as of now:

10K - 00:52:27 (up from 01:09:12 and 00:53:38)

HM - 01:57:12 (up from 02:04:49 and 02:06:45)

I run alone, mainly due to time restrictions but also preference. I run 4 times a week including one long run. Presently doing about 55km a week. No special type of tempo, hills or speedwork. Just running.

My question is, how best to train for this goal I have in mind. There are many programs online so it is all a bit confusing.

Any advice much appreciated!




  • You've partly answered your own question. To run a marathon you need endurance and to be able to maintain a particular pace over your race.

    Ensure your long runs progress towards 20 or so miles and consider the full distance or close so you know you can do it.

    Add tempo runs and interval runs to increase your ability to run fast and to maintain that over distance. Do hill sessions to improve functional strength.

    Try not to do too many if these key sessions back to back - allow rest or recovery runs to break them up.
  • As you look closley at the plans they do involve different types of run (recovery, easy, LSR, tempo etc) and this is really important - I think you get the best results from not 'just running' but from having a specific purpose behind your runs (endurance, threshold training etc.). The balance of what you need has been designed into the plan, probably better then you could do it yourself so I'd say its best to pick a plan and stick to it rather then make it up yourself.

    But how to pick? Have you had a look at the various RW training plans?


  • Unless your half was a while ago or you are going to do a lot more training I'd think that Time is going to be hard to get. Conventional estimates would put you at 4.15 or so.

    It's your first so I'd aim to get it finished rather than going for a time.

    Plenty of plans to choose from. Match one to your current fitness and time restraints and listen to your body. Good luck !
  • I'd say go for it. I've just returned to running after about 30 years (I know) and have in 8 months got my 10k time down from 67 mins to 52 mins and ran my first HM last week in Peterborough in 2.02. I'm definitely setting my sights on a 3.59 in London 2019. Just lots of training at different tempos and distances and embrace the pain.
  • Yes I'm a moron! Didn't realise this thread was 5 years old!
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