A guide to going under 3 hours
This guide is a high speed 5 month program that, if followed successfully, will give you a very high chance of achieving your goal on race day.
To start this guide, you need to already be an OK runner - able to run 10 km at a reasonable speed. The actual detailed guide is only 19 weeks long, and is the exact program I followed when I ran my first marathon. Of course, not everyone is capable of running 10 km, which is why there is a lead in period which can be tailored to suit your needs.
In terms of running sessions, the guide maxxes out at 4 running sessions per week. However, I also include some minor strength work that I threw in on off days to avoid losing too much muscle mass. To show that marathon training is not incompatible with other sports, I also include other sporting activities that I did during the training program.
After some of the harder sessions, you will (at least early on in the program) be quite exhausted. I found that after a few weeks my body toughened up naturally, and even though I felt completely bushed right after a session, an hour later I would bounce back. However, you probably won't feel like partying hard after some of the tougher sessions, and in the interest of minimizing sickness, it's probably not a good idea to do so.
In order to start the guide you need to be able to comfortably run 10 km in 50 minutes. For many runners, this will involve some preparation to get to this stage. I was out of shape, but had some background in running shorter (5 - 10 km) distances, so it took me about 2 or 3 months to get to this stage from scratch.
My typical weekly program during these early stages would consist of:
After 3 months of that, I was at the stage where I could run 10 km in 50 minutes relatively comfortably i.e. with some margin to spare. I was ready to start the detailed program which I'm about to show you here.
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Copyright 2007-2010 Michael Milford