Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training Guide


As an elite marathon runner, you will need to do a lot of mileage, and to be able to do this without overtraining and risking injury and illnesses is one of the toughest challenges that you will face (apart from finding the time to be training for up to 15 to 20 hours a week).

The best way to ensure that your body is able to cope with the stresses of all this training is to make sure you recover as well as possible between your sessions.

There are quite a few things that can be done to try to keep your recovery times to the minimum that you can. Here we have a few ideas that will help.

You need to decide how much recovery you need between the sessions that you are doing. Unfortunately, for older runners, the time it takes to recover between sessions is the main reason we are not able to compete with younger athletes, but all athletes can maximise their training by careful planning and optimising their recoveries.

Recovering Time Reduction

Warm Down Properly

After a session your muscles will be tight, make sure you stretch them (with 20-30 second static stretches) and then do a light jog to help flush the waste products of the training from your muscles.


Start to replenish the nutrients and fluids that you have used during the sessions as fast as you can. Ideally you should consume water and a small amount of high carbohydrate food immediately after a session and then a full meal within 30-60 minutes.

The first carbohydrates consumed should have a high Glycemic Index (ie be sugary), then you should have both carbohydrates and protein in the main meal.

Fluids are the first thing you should replenish, and if this can include electrolytes (as you would get in a sports drink) then all the better.

Ice Baths

Although no significant scientific studies have been done on the merits of an ice bath after training, many athletes and coaches, including us here at Momentum Sports believe that they are beneficial in reducing both muscle soreness and recovery times.

The idea behind this is the same as that which says you should put ice on injured muscles, when you train your muscles break down a little (not as much as with an injury!), which is called micro-trauma. By icing the area - ie your legs for normal session, you reduce the bleeding and therefore reduce the scar tissue which forms as muscles heal and therefore suffer from less tightness in the muscles and are ready to train again sooner.


As an elite athlete, some compromises need to made in your lifestyle if you are going to perform to your best. Don't drink excessive amount of alcohol (some say total abstainance is needed), don't smoke, try to rest when you should be (ie don't walk round town shopping for 6 hours on a rest day!), get plenty of sleep (if you are regularly getting less than 6-7 hours a night you are unlikely to run well).

Learn more / further reading

  1. Types of Training
  2. Mileage
  3. Long Runs
  4. Weekly Plan
  5. Running Technique
  6. Strength / Power
  7. Lifestyle
  8. Marathon Running Gear

If you would like some more help with your training to move you on to the next level with your running, why not try our Online Coaching facility.
















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