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Break 4 Hours With Our Marathon Training Plan

Christine Hinton /

Completing a marathon in less than 4 hours is a magical, attainable and popular goal among 26.2-mile runners. Based on recent data, the median finishing time for women is 4:41:38— so a mere 20 percent of marathoning ladies belong to the covered sub-four hour crowd. The good news is that becoming a member of that select group is doable for many runners, with the right training.

If you have at least one round of marathon training and racing under your legs and are striving for that 3:59:59 mark during your next one, our plan will get you there. (New to marathons? See “Marathon Virgins” on page three for how to make this plan work for you.) Before lacing up your shoes, you should have a solid foundation of at least six months of consistent running, with roughly 25 or more miles per week, and be able to complete a 10-mile run.

This four-month program will build your endurance while increasing your intensity to prepare you to run the pace needed to dip under 4 hours on race day. Flexibility is built in to allow you to customize the plan to suit your individual fitness level.


Related: Get A Half Marathon PR With Our Plan

Training Paces

If your goal is 3:55:00…
Easy: 8:55-10:30
Long Run: 8:55-10:15
Tempo: 7:50-8:15
Marathon Pace Run: 8:53-8:58

If your goal is 3:58:00…
Easy: 9:00-10:45
Long Run: 9:00-10:25
Tempo: 8:05-8:25
Marathon Pace Run: 9:00-9:05

If your goal is 4:00:00…
Easy: 9:05-10:55
Long Run: 9:05-10:35
Tempo: 8:10-8:30
Marathon Pace Run: 9:05-9:09

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