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4 Hour Marathon Pace

4 Hour Marathon Pace – A Complete Guide 2022

Running a sub 4 hour marathon may be easy for some. However, just like the 3-hour mark, a 4-hour marathon requires training, consistency, and the correct pacing.

Often many people get their 4 hour marathon pace wrong, this can be either through incorrect pacing, or the wrong training leading up to the event.

Either way, learning the right pacing strategies and training methodologies means that breaking 4 hours for the marathon shouldn’t be too hard for most people.

In this post, we are going to break down how you need to train for a 4 hour marathon, as well the pace your need to hold.

How Fast Is 4 Hour Marathon Pace?

If your goal is to run under 4 hours for the marathon, you will need to pace yourself at or slightly faster than 9 minutes 9 seconds per mile (or 5 minutes 41 seconds per kilometer).

This means you should be hitting the halfway point of the marathon at or slightly faster than 1 hour 59 minutes and 27 seconds. It also means you should reach the first 10km in 56 minutes and 53 seconds.

However, many people get carried away and end up going through the first 10km and halfway point of the marathon much quicker than planned. This causes their pace to rapidly drop between kilometers 30 to 40.

To prevent this you need to be determined to hold a steady pace throughout the event. That is unless the marathon is over undulating terrain. Then you will need to gauge your effort based on the course profile, rather than splits.

4 Hour Marathon Training

4 Hour Marathon Training

When it comes to 4 hour marathon training, the build-up will solely depend on your current level of fitness and the time you have to build-up to the event.

However, for most people before training for a 4 hour marathon, you should be able to run for 1 hour nonstop and also be able to run for around 40 km a week injury-free.

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If you are already able to do both of those things, you are ready to start training towards a 4 hour marathon pace. This should take you roughly 16 weeks to complete. However, if you are unsure of your fitness level or struggle with injuries, you can increase this out to even 20 or 24 weeks.

Below is a sample of a basic 4 hour marathon training plan.

Week 1

Mon 30 minutes of easy running
Tue Complete Rest
Wed 40 minutes of easy running
Thu 3.5 kilometers at marathon pace (5 minutes 41 seconds per kilometer)
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 70 minutes of easy running

Week 2

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 8 Kilometers including 2×15 minutes at tempo pace with 3 minutes jogging between
Wed 50 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 20 minutes at marathon pace (5 minutes 41 seconds per, then 1.5km warm down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 80 minutes of easy running

Week 3

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 9.5 km consisting of the following: 1.5km warm-up, then 3 x 8.5 minutes at tempo pace, with a 3-minute recovery between each interval. Then a 1.5km warm down.
Wed 60 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 27 minutes at marathon pace (5 minutes 41 seconds per, then 1.5km warm down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 90 minutes of easy running

Week 4

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 8 kilometers consisting of 1.5km warm-up then 4 x 1000m tempo pace, with 2-minute recovery between, then 1.5km warm down.
Wed 70 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 16 minutes at marathon pace (5 minutes 41 seconds per, then 1.5km warm down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 10K Race. Aim for a sub-50-minute result. Alternatively, do a time trial over 10km by yourself.

Week 5

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 40 mins of fartlek running, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Wed 50 minutes of easy running
Thu 50 minutes of easy running
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30minutes of easy running
Sun 1 hour 50 minutes of easy running

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Week 6

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 9 kilometers consisting of 1.5km warm-up then 5 x 1000m tempo pace, with 2-minute recovery between, then 1.5km warm down.
Wed 60 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 25 minutes at tempo, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 2 hours 10 minutes of easy running

Week 7

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 9.5 kilometers consisting of 1.5-kilometer warm-up followed by 10 x 400 at 5 km pace, with 90 seconds recovery between, then 1.5 kilometers warm-down.
Wed 70 minutes of easy running
Thu 60 minutes of easy running
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 2 hours 30 minutes of easy running

Week 8

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 10 kilometers consisting of 1.5km warm-up then 4 x 1500m tempo pace, with 2-minute recovery between, then 1.5km warm down.
Wed 70 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 16 minutes at tempo, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun Race a half-marathon or 10km race. Alternatively, if you can’t find a race, do a half marathon at your marathon race pace (5 minutes 41 seconds per kilometer).

Week 9

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 9.5 kilometers consisting of 1.5km warm-up followed by 10 x 90 seconds uphill. With jogging back down as recovery. Then 1.5km warm-down to finish it off.
Wed 70 minutes of easy running
Thu 80 minutes of easy running
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 2 hours 55 minutes of easy running

Week 10

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 11 kilometers consisting of 1.5km warm-up then 3 x 15-minute tempo with 3-min recovery between. Then 1.5km warm-down.
Wed 1 hour 22 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 30 minutes at tempo, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun Half-marathon Race. Aim for under 1 hour 50 minutes.

Week 11

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 50 mins of fartlek running, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Wed 60 minutes of easy running
Thu 80 minutes of easy running
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 3 hours 15 minutes of easy running

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Week 12

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 12 kilometers consisting of a 1.5-kilometer warm-up followed by 4 x 2 km at marathon pace with 90 seconds recovery between, then 1.5 kilometers warm down.
Wed 70 minutes of easy running
Thu 1.5 kilometer warm-up followed by 25 minutes at tempo, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 3hrs 30 minutes of easy running

Week 13

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 9.5 kilometers consisting of 1.5km warm-up followed by 10 x 90 seconds uphill. With jogging back down as recovery. Then 1.5km warm-down to finish it off.
Wed 70 minutes of easy running
Thu .5 kilometer warm-up followed by 35 minutes at tempo, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 3 hours 25 minutes of easy running

Week 14

Mon Rest
Tue 1.5km warm-up followed by 6 x 800m at 10K pace, with 100m jog between each interval The 1.5km warm down.
Wed 60 minutes of easy running
Thu 70 minutes of easy running
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 3 Hours of easy running

Week 15

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 8 Kilometers including a 1.5 km warm-up then 8 x 400m at 5K pace, with 200m jog between intervals. Then 1.5km warm-down.
Wed 50 minutes of easy running
Thu 5 kilometer warm-up followed by 25 minutes at tempo, then 1.5-kilometer warm-down.
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 30 minutes of easy running
Sun 90 minutes of easy running

Week 16 (Race Week)

Mon Complete Rest
Tue 6 kilometers consisting of a 1.5 km warm-up, then 10 x 200m at 5K pace with 100m recovery between intervals. Then 1.5km warm-down.
Wed Complete Rest
Thu 30 minutes of easy running
Fri Complete Rest
Sat 20 minutes of easy running
Sun Race day