What Pace Is a 4 Hour Marathon - Nutrition Geeks (2023)

Are you wondering what pace is a 4 hour marathon? If so, I am happy you made it here to Nutrition Geeks. I created both this site and rundreamachieve.com, to discuss running. In addition, I am a 2:19 marathoner. So, do understand what it takes to sustain goal marathon race pace longer. You will need to sustain 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer in order to run a 3:59.59 marathon time.

Pace sustainment is one of the biggest hurdles for most runners. Of course, many runners can sustain sub 4 hour marathon pace for a number of miles or kilometers. It is an entirely different task to sustain it for 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers. I am a firm believer that a longer, rather than a shorter, build up is best. Remember, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to the stresses being placed on it.

So, the longer you focus on your build up being the higher your chances of success. You will not be in a rush to get into great shape versus a shorter build up. The optimal time frame to train for a marathon is between 16 to 24 weeks in length. Of course, some runners can get into descent shape in a matter of 8 to 12 weeks though.

(Video) How To Run A Sub 4 Hour Marathon Race! | Running Training & Tips

Is 4 HRS a Good Marathon Time?

Yes. A sub 4 hour marathon is a highly competitive time. The key focus to achieve it is to spend a higher percentage of your weekly mileage training at higher intensities. The world's top middle to long distance runners train between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold. We run between 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate at this intensity. So, of course, they make it look easy.

What pace is a 4 hour marathon? 5:41 per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers or 9:09 per mile for 26.2 miles is what you need to sustain. I would focus on a 4 to 8 week base-building phase. The reason for this is you will strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments. In addition, significantly lower the chances of you getting injured. Remember, you need to plan properly to run a sub 4 hour marathon.

I have created training plans for athletes seeking to break this time barrier. In addition, created a running course specifically for athletes seeking to run 3:59:59 or better. You can click the button below to learn more about these running courses.


How Do I Pace Myself for a 4 Hour Marathon?

I would focus on doing longer tempo runs. That being said, you have to adapt to a 3-mile tempo run before you can extend it to 10 miles or longer. I would also focus on a negative split. So, aim to run through the first half marathon point in 2:04 and come back the second in 1:55. The end result is you will have run a 3:59 marathon time. I see far too many runners going out too fast and suffering in the latter stages of the race.

(Video) How To Run A Sub 4 Marathon

It is a much better plan to run conservative early on and aggressive later. You want to be passing people in the last 10 kilometers of the race, not being passed. Remember, the faster you train in practice the easier sub 4 hour marathon pace is going to feel. So, what pace is a 4 hour marathon? Sub 4 marathon pace will be much easier to sustain if you train at your vo2 max.

Speed workouts are examples of vo2 max workouts. We are running between 95 to 100 percent of our max heart rate at these intensities. So, you should be doing at least 1, vo2 max workouts per week. It is very common for many world-class athletes to do 2, vo2 max workouts per week. That being said, one per week is sufficient for most runners.

How Much Training Do I Need to Run a Marathon?

The absolute minimum time frame I would recommend is 12 weeks. That being said, the optimal time frame is 16 to 24 weeks. I would highly recommend training for 20 to 24 weeks if you really want a new personal best. I have created training plans that range from 8 to 24 weeks in length. Of course, I know every athlete is different and some many not have that much time to train for a marathon.

A 5 to 6 month marathon training plan will help to ensure you have the highest likelihood of success. I also built a running course called the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Mastery Course you may want to check out. I go in-depth on every aspect of training and racing at the top level. Have you ever considered using a heart rate monitor? If not, I highly advise investing in one.

I use the Garmin 245 regularly and it helps me to not over train. In addition, to not run too slow on hard days and too fast on easy days. Of course, you don't need to wear one for every run that you do. That being said, it can certainly help you when doing tempo runs or faster, long runs. So, you will focus more on your heart rate effort rather than splits. The splits will take care of themselves the fitter you get.

How Realistic is a Sub-4 Hour Marathon?

I don't place limits on athletes as I never placed them on myself. How badly do you want success? A sub 4 hour marathon is not going to be easily achieved. You will need to be very consistent with your mileage running between 40 to 60 miles a week to do this. More importantly, you need to run quality mileage. Higher mileage run too slow will only make you a superior long, slow runner.

(Video) How Do I Pace a 4 Hour Marathon and Earn a 3:59:59 Time

You are aiming to break the 4 hour marathon barrier. It is a time that many runners world-wide are seeking to achieve. Make sure to check out the training plans, running courses and other resources available here and on rundreamachieve.com. They were created to help speed up your learning curve. In addition, to get you better results by training smarter, not harder. I already know you know how to work hard.

Do the hardest working athletes always get the results? No. I have know many runners who ran high mileage and still never ran 3:59:59. I have also known many runners who ran much lower mileage that did. So, you have to plan your work and work your plan.


Can I Run My First Marathon in under 4 Hours?

It will depend on how well you prepared to handle the pace. What pace is a 4 hour marathon? You need to get 9:09 mile or 5:41 kilometer pace to feel easier. So, the only way to do this is to really work on your speed. As mentioned above, runners need to be doing at least 1, vo2 max workout each week. Again, this is running between 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate.

You can get a guesstimate of your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Also, start extending the duration of your tempo runs. We do our tempo runs right around 85 to 89 percent of our max heart rate. So, the longer your can spend running at your anaerobic threshold the easier sub 4 hour marathon pace is going to feel. I also think you need to really focus on your taper. I am a big believer in doing a 10-day taper. Is a 3-week taper sufficient? It depends on the athlete.

I have seen a lot of runners who feel tired and lethargic using a 3-week taper. A major problem here is they start dropping volume and intensity too far out from their main event. 10 days is plenty of time to recover from the many weeks and months of training you have done.

(Video) What A Legit Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan Should Cover So You Can PR

Closing Thoughts

I hope that this post on what pace is a 4 hour marathon has been helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I focus on making at least 2 to 3 new videos there each week to help runners such as yourself get new personal bests.

How often are you spending time training mentally for your race? Are you visualizing yourself getting across that finish line in 3:59:59, daily? If so, now is the time to start implementing this into your training routine.

The good news is you don't need to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes a day doing this. I would recommend doing mental rehearsal before going to bed at night. Also, when you first get up in the morning. Remember, it has to start in the mind first before it ever becomes real in real life.

So, you have to train the mind like you train the body. The world's top runners that I have trained and lived with combine both mental as well as physical preparation. Click on any of the green buttons on this post to learn more about our helpful resources.



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