Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training Guide

Types of Training

As an elite marathon runner you should be looking to utilise the full range of training options available to an athlete. Clearly the proportions that you use won't be the same as for a sprinter, but generally you should be looking to ensure that you are as prepared for your races as you can be.

The types of training that you'll be needing include

  1. Long Slow Runs
  2. Tempo Runs
  3. Easy / Recovery Runs
  4. Interval Work (including Fartlek)
  5. Strength / Power Training (incl. Core Stability)
  6. Mobility Work
  7. Cross-Training
  8. Technique Work
  9. Tracking and Reviewing Training
  10. Nutrition
  11. Recovery
  12. Sports Psychology

The last 4 items have been included here as, although they are not strictly training - and certainly not things that will fatigue you - they are elements of your preparation that you should be finding time for.


The best training for running is running.

This is a fundamental thing to remember. Whilst the other elements have their place, if you are going to be a good runner - you have to run, which extends to marathon runners as if you are going to be a good marathon runner - you have to run a lot!

You will need a variety of paces to your training, as all but the most novice marathon runners do, but as an elite athlete you need to target that pace quite specifically to the various sessions you are to run.

See the other sections in the Advanced Marathon Section to fill out the details.

Strength work

As a marathon runner it is important to have good strength. This doesn't mean that you need to be built like a body builder, but having light, strong muscles will enable you to be able to perform at your best. This is because you can perform each movement with less effort. It is important to ensure all the exercises undertaken a specific to running and the number of repetitions aren't going to build unwanted muscle mass.

Mobility Work

There are two components to this

Making sure you have the range of movement required to run efficiently.

Keeping your muscles in good condition (which includes good mobility) helps reduce injury risk.


Primarily this is needed at times when running aren't possible or desired. If you are injured you maybe able to work hard aerobically doing an exercise not involving the injured muscle. In a training break or early in the training cycle doing other activities is good for the maintenance of interest.

Technique work

You have now reached a level of performance where you should be concerned with how you are running technically. A regular session devoted specifically to this, or work prior to other sessions will ensure you get the best from your training.

Learn more / further reading

  1. Mileage
  2. Long Runs
  3. Weekly Plan
  4. Recovery
  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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