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Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan

Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan Buffalo NY 2021

My 2022 New Year’s plan is sub-4-hour training for my first marathon. On January 2, 2022, I purchase a $79.99 VDOT 18 week marathon training plan. My custom plan is based on my Buffalo Marathon goal, a sub-4-hour finish on May 29, 2022.

What is VDOT?

VDOT is the amount of oxygen you consume during a minute. You can calculate your VDOT score using Jack Daniels’ running calculator. For example, my half marathon personal record of 1:52:11 calculates a VDOT score of 39.5. You can also download the VDOT calculator on your smartphone.

The VDOT marathon training plan updates race and training paces based on recent personal records. For example, weeks after receiving my VDOT marathon training plan, I ran a half marathon Personal Record (PR). My finishing time improved by over 2 minutes and my VDOT score rises to 39.5. As a result, my marathon training pace as well as predicted finishing time gets a little faster.

Watches and Phone Apps

VDOT training plan is not compatible with my Polar Vantage M watch. So I purchase a compatible Garmin Forerunner 55 watch. Then I connect my Garmin watch via Bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app. After I run, Garmin data sync from the watch to my iPhone.

I purchase my VDOT marathon training plan using the V.O2 app on my iPhone.Then I connect the V.O2 to the Garmin Connect. As a result, running data that syncs to Garmin Connect also syncs with V.O2. It automatically updates my marathon training calendar showing:

  • Google map with my run route
  • Distance, Pace, and Time
  • Heart rate (bpm) and Cadence (spm)

My Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan

I purchase a VDOT marathon training plan with a sub-4-hour race goal. The 18-week plan is customized based on the following:

  • Date of my race
  • Days of the week I want to run
  • Preferred day for long run

After about a week, I finally receive my training plan calendar on the VO.2 app. My first training run starts on Friday, January 21, 2022. I run 6.55 miles at 9:33 per mile pace in 1:02:36 with an average heart rate of 128 bpm and cadence of 150 spm.

Then I run my first marathon training long run on Sunday, January 23, 2022. I finish an easy 8-mile run in 1:27:10. My pace is 10:54 per mile, heart rate 118 bpm, and cadence 146 spm. I run 2 miles less than the plan’s 10-mile long run because I begin tapering to prepare for my upcoming half marathon race.

The last week of February I continued to taper my training mileage, running only two easy 3-miles runs. I skipped the planned 8 x 200m and 2 x 400m repetitions. Instead, I rested for 3 days and raced 13.1 miles on Sunday, January 30, 2022. This half marathon replaced a planned 12-mile easy long run.

Second Week of Marathon Training Plan

After achieving a half marathon PR at the Clearwater Running Festival, I take two rest days, skipping a 5-mile easy planned training run. Then I continue the marathon training plan:

  • 1.5 mile wam-up
  • 6 x 2 min @ 7:38 / mi with 1 min jog recovery
  • 1.0 mile cool-down

I run hard repetitions to improve VO2max. Reviewing my splits, 4 intervals have max paces over 8:00 and only 2 intervals achieve my target max pace. My total running distance is 4.54 miles in 44:15.

The next day I run five easy miles at 10:29 per mile pace within my planned pace of 9:56~10:55 / mi. I finish this easy run in 52:30 with an average heart rate of 126 bpm.

The plan for the fourth run of the week is another 3-mile easy run. However, I run a 9:40 per mile pace, faster than my planned easy pace. I feel good running trails at the John Chestnut Park, so I run my last mile in 9:13.

In my fifth and final run of the week, I run ten easy miles with intervals in the 11th mile: 6 x 45 sec @ 7:38 / mi with 1 min jog recovery. Marathon training to learn how to finish strong.

14 Mile Marathon Training PR

14 mile marathon training run Brian Kondas copy

Week three: only four training days. However, the long run on Sunday is a Personal Record (PR). The week starts with a planned 5-mile easy run. I run a perfect 10:00 per mile pace, finishing in 50 minutes with an average heart rate of 130 bpm.

The next day I run a 1.5-mile warm-up, 4 x 1-mile repetitions at 8:18 per mile with 1 min and 30-sec jog recoveries. Then a 1.5-mile cool-down. My training distance is 7.54 miles at an average pace of 9:15 per mile. I finish the training in 1:09:43 with an average heart rate of 135 bpm and cadence of 152 spm.

The next day is a 6-mile planned easy run. I run a pace of 10:06 per mile and finish the training in 1:00:39, and my average heart rate is 123 bpm.

Sunday, February 13, 2022, I run a 14-mile long run and keep the pace very easy at 10:55 per mile as planned. I run the first 7 miles consuming 2 x 8 ounces of G-Endurance drink and 2 x G-Endurance gels. Then I have a bathroom break and refueled.

The last 7 miles I consume the same nutrition, achieving a 14 miles marathon training PR in 2:35:55.

Marathon Training Feel the Weakness

Running Slow

In week 4, the sub 4-hour marathon training plan is to run another 32 miles in 4 days. The first training day is 5 easy miles. I run this at an average pace of 9:50 which is slightly faster than the planned easy pace between 9:56 and 10:55. My average heart rate is 121 bpm (low for this pace) with a cadence of 146 spm.

The following day I run 9 miles at a 9:19 per mile pace. First, I run an easy 1-mile warm-up at a 10:10 pace. Then I run 4 miles. My planned marathon pace was 8:52.

However, my actual pace for these 4 miles was a bit slower averaging 9:04. Then 1-mile easy recovery which I run in 9:52, slightly faster than the planned easy pace.

Finally, I run the last 3 miles. However, I run much slower than my planned marathon pace, averaging 9:12 per mile (20 seconds slower than my target pace).

Interval Struggles

On the third training day, I run 6 easy miles at an average pace of 10:05 per mile. This pace is within my planned pace. I finish the run in 1:00:34 with an average heart rate of 126 bpm and cadence of 146 spm.

The last run of week 4 was a 12-mile long run with intervals in the final mile. This run trained me to “finish strong!” After running 11 miles at an easy planned pace, I totally forgot about the intervals.

I struggle to run at the planned pace of 7:38 per mile. On all 6 x 45-second intervals, I run slower, averaging 8:08 (31 seconds slower than my target pace).

I will need to work on increasing my speed. My total 12-mile run time was 2:04:46. I do keep a low heart rate averaging 125 bpm with a cadence of 149 spm.

Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan PR

In week 5, I accomplish another milestone in my sub-4-hour marathon training plan: running 16 miles! Before getting into the details of this Person Record (PR) this week starts with an easy 5-mile run. I run a perfect 10:00 per mile pace, finishing 5 easy miles in 50 minutes with an average Heart Rate (HR) of 124 bpm and cadence of 147 spm.

The next day the plan is a 1.5-mile warm-up and 8 x 200m @ 0:54 per rep with a 200 m jog recovery. However, I complete most of my reps in 55 seconds. Then I run 4 x 150 m with 150 m jog recovery. Finally, I run the planned 1.5-mile cool-down. My total run distance is 5.74 miles in 55 minutes with an average HR 128 and 150 cadence.

On day three, I run a planned 6 miles easy. My pace is three seconds faster than planned at 9:53. I complete the six miles in 59:22 with 124 HR and 148 cadence.

On training day five, I run on different terrain. Normally, I run on the road. However, today I run on mud and mulch (wood chips) in the dog park. With every step, I sink into the soft ground and deep mulch.

Running on this terrain, I work different muscles. As I run, a short collie dog continuously runs out in front of me, and a bigger collie nibbles at my ankles. This 4-mile planned “easy” run is stop-and-go, I weave between trees to evade the chasing dogs. As a result, my pace is 12:30 per mile, HR 134, and cadence 128 – not an easy run.

On the 5th and final training day, I run a new PR, running 16 miles in 2:44:59. During the run, I consumed 32 ounces of G-endurance drink, 3 G-endurance gels, and a Spring Energy hill aid gel. My pace is 10:33 per mile with an average HR 124 and cadence of 148.

Longer Marathon Pace Training

By the end of week 6, I will have completed 33% (1/3) of my sub 4 hour marathon training. This week’s long run is 13 miles with the last 9-miles at my marathon pace! The training week is 5 days with 2 days of rest.

Day 1 is 5 miles easy. My planned easy pace is 9:56 to 10:55 per mile. I’m feeling good and run 24 seconds faster at 9:30 per mile. I finish the 5 miles in 47:35 with an average heart rate of 127 bpm and a cadence of 151 spm.

The plan for day 2 is a 1.5-mile warm-up, intervals 7 x 2 min @ 7:38 / mi with 1 min jog recovery, and a 1.5-mile cool-down. My interval pace is slightly slower than planned. I run most intervals between 7:40 and 7:50 pace. Next time I will run the intervals faster!

Training day 3 is the same as Day 1. However, this time I run within the planned pace at 10:33 per mile. My average heart rate is 120 bpm with 146 spm.

On the 4th run, I’m back at the John Chestnut Park running gravel trails and boardwalks. It’s a planned 4-mile easy run. However, I run a little farther 4.3 miles. I also run 23 seconds faster than my planned easy pace. I finish in 41:29 with an average heart rate of 122 bpm and 147 spm cadence.

The 5th and final run for week 6 is the 13-mile easy run. I drive an hour with my wife and two dogs to Fort De Soto Park. After paying a $5 entry fee, we arrive at 10 AM and we walk to the dog beach.

At 10:36 AM, I start my half marathon. I run on sandy gravel trails mostly in sunny 80-degree heat. The 13-mile plan is 4 miles at an easy pace. However, I run the first 3 miles mostly downhill at a faster pace between 9:18 and 9:45. Then the 4th mile at 10:24 pace.

The plan for the next 9 miles is at my marathon pace of 8:52 per mile. However, because of the heat and terrain, I run slower and finish in 2:11:35.

37 Miles of Trail Running

In marathon training week 7, I run over 37 miles off-road on trails. Over the next 5 days, I run at the John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor, FL. Discover the secrets of the world’s fastest long-distance runner, and how I run like the Kenyans.

The plan for the first training day is a 6-mile easy run. In 1:00:23, I run 6.18 miles at 9:46 pace (10 seconds faster than planned). My average heart rate (HR) is 127 bpm and cadence 147 spm.

The plan for training day two is a 1.5-mile warm-up. Then 4 x 1 mile @ threshold pace (8:18) with 1:30 jog recovery. Finally, 1.5-mile cool-down. I perform the 3 x 1-mile intervals at or slightly slower than planned. However, I run the last mile interval very slow at 9:56.

The third training day plan is another 6-mile easy run. I run the distance in 1:05:37 at an easy 10:56 pace. My average HR is a slow 113 bpm with a cadence of 149 spm.

The fourth planned run is a 4-mile easy run. I complete it in 41:28 with a pace of 10:20. My average HR is only 117 bpm and cadence 149 spm.

The final training day plan is 12-miles easy. Then 6 x 1-minute intervals at 7:38 pace with 1:30 jog recovery. I ran 7 of the 12 miles faster than planned between 9:34 and 9:54. The other 5 miles I ran within planned easy pace.

During the run, I had stopped twice for bathroom breaks. I also stopped once to refuel, filling up two 8-ounce bottles from my hydration belt. I consume three Spring Energy gels (Hill Aid) as well.

This is my strongest 13.6-mile training trail run. Running at 9:49 pace, I complete this final run in 2:13:27 with a 126 bpm average HR and 152 spm cadence.

40 Mile Marathon Training Week PR

8 Miles at Marathon Pace

Sub 4 hour marathon training plan for week 8 is 40 miles. The distance I run will be a new Person Record (PR)! This week’s plan is 3 days of easy runs, 1 day of marathon pace training, and an 18-mile long run.

The first training day is 4 miles at an easy pace from 9:56 to 10:55 per mile. However, I run 4 miles on the road at a slightly faster pace of 9:44. I complete the run in 39:02 and my average heart rate is 123 bpm and cadence 151 spm.

The second planned training day is 2 x 1 easy pace mile and 4 miles at marathon pace (8:52). In the first interval, I run at the planned easy pace (10:30). The next mile I run an 8:49, slightly faster marathon pace. Then the next three miles, I run much slower than planned from 9:51 to 10:28.

In the last interval, I run at the planned easy pace 10:20. Then for the next three miles, I run faster at 9:32, 9:35, 9:28, and 9:40. However, these are still slower than my planned marathon pace. In total, I run 10 miles at an average pace of 9:50 per mile. My total running time is 1:38:23 with an average heart rate of 127 bpm and cadence of 152 spm.

Spartan Super 10K then 18 Miles

Training days three and four are two easy runs: 5 miles and 3 miles. I run the 5 miles at the planned pace, averaging 10:11. My average heart rate is slow at 117 bpm and cadence 153 spm.

However, instead of running the planned 3 easy miles, I run the Spartan Super 10K race in Conyers, Georgia, and complete 6.2 miles at race pace (not easy). Later that day, I hike a mile to the summit of Stone Mountain. Then I run down barefoot, jumping from stone to stone.

The next day, I run the planned 18 “easy miles” on the road at 10:55 pace. In the first 11 miles, I run faster than planned from 10:07 to 10:50 per mile. Then I start feeling pain and run slower than planned for the next 7 miles from 10:58 to 12:17. Also, my average heart rate increases from 123 bpm to 131 bpm.

At the end of the 18-mile run, my perceived effect is 9/10 and I feel very weak. However, this long training run is a new PR for distance and running time. I finish the 18 miles in 3:16:31.

Lastly, my 8th-week distance is over 43 miles and the longest distance I have run in a week.

Deload Week Marathon Training

New Lighter Running Shoes

Sub 4 hour marathon training week nine is a deload week. Having run 40 miles last week, I recover this week by running 33 miles. The plan is three easy-running days, a day of repeats (speed work), and a 13-mile easy long-run with repetitions in the 14th mile.

The first easy run is 4 miles, and the planned easy pace is 9:56 – 10:56 per mile. However, I run faster than planned, averaging 9:42 per mile. I complete 4 miles in 38:55 with an average heart rate (HR) of 127 bpm and 149 spm cadence.

The next training run has a 1.5-mile warm-up, 8x400m at 1:48 per rep (7:14/mi pace) with 400m jog recovery, and a 1.5-mile cool-down. I run these reps wearing a new pair of Salomon Predict SOC shoes that weigh 96 grams less than my New Balance 880 shoes. Even with these lighter shoes, my average rep time is 5.3 seconds slower than planned.

Painful 14 Mile Long Run

My third and fourth training days are easy runs. Day three is 5 miles which I run at a 9:45 pace. My pace is 11 seconds faster than my planned. I finish five miles in 48:51 with an average HR of 122 bpm and a cadence of 150 spm.

The last easy run is only 3 miles. I complete the run at the planned easy pace of 9:59 per mile, finishing in 30 minutes. My average HR is 125 bpm and cadence 150 spm.

Week nine is a 14-miles long run. On trails at John Chesnut Park, I run in New Balance 880 shoes. My tight leg tendons hurt as I run. During the first six miles, the pain continues to grow. I stop to stretch my legs. After running twelve miles, the tightness in my ass and hips hurt. So I stop again to stretch.

The last mile is 6×45 seconds at 7:38 pace with a 1-minute jog recovery. For half of these reps, I finish faster than planned. However, running at this speed hurts!

10 Miles at Marathon Pace

Marathon Training Tip #1

Week ten of sub 4 hour marathon training plan is to increase mileage and run 36.6 miles. Specifically, the week has 3 easy run days, an 800-meter interval session, and a 13-mile long run.

The plan for the first run is 6 easy miles at 9:56 to 10:55 per mile (easy pace). With a moderate perceived effort, I feel strong running these six miles and run faster than planned at 9:41 per mile. I complete the six miles in 58:08 with an average heart rate (HR) of 128 bpm and a cadence of 151 spm.

The next planned run is a 1.5-mile warm-up, 5x800m intervals at 3:48 per rep (7:38/mi pace) with 2 minute and 30-second job recovery. Then a 1.5-mile cool-down. I consistently run all five intervals between 3:50 and 3:56. My average interval pace is 5 seconds slower than planned.

Marathon training tip #1: use a watch that can record your interval splits. For example, use the Garmin Forerunner 55. Then after running, review your interval splits. Did you run too slow, too fast, or just at pace?

Marathon Training Tip #2

The Garmin Forerunner 55 alerts me when I run below, above, or at pace. Despite receiving this feedback, I still run slower than the planned pace. However, running on a treadmill allows you to run at the speed you set.

The third run is 6 miles at an easy pace. I run on a treadmill at 6.0 mph or 10:00 per mile. The fourth run is 5 miles at an easy pace which I run on a treadmill at 6.0 mph.

The fifth and final run is a 3-mile warm-up at an easy pace. Then 10 miles at my marathon pace (8:52/mi). Estimating I calculate a treadmill speed of 6.8 mph. However, the pace is slightly faster than my marathon pace at 8:49 per mile.

Running the 3-mile warm-up feels easy. The next 7 miles feel moderately difficult. The last three miles elevates my heart rate and breathing. I feel pain and tightness in my left glute and down the side of my left upper leg.

Marathon training tip #2: run on a treadmill at your marathon pace. Manually enter your marathon training time and speed.

Deload Week 11

In week eleven, the sub 4 hour marathon training plan is 28.3 miles. A deload week that is 8.3 miles less than last week. The plan is 3 easy run days, 1 day of threshold training, and a 10-mile easy run.

The first easy run is 4 miles. I run it at the planned easy pace averaging 10:50 per mile. It’s a warm 77 degrees F. However, my average heart rate (HR) is 119 bpm.

The next training day is also warm at 77 degrees F. Threshold training is a 1.5-mile warm-up, 2 x 2 miles at 8:18/mi with a 2-minute jog recovery. Then 1.5-mile cool-down. My pace per mile is slower than planned. I run these threshold miles: 8:50, 8:29, 8:42, and 8:35. The training is hard. In the end, I feel weak.

The next two training days are easy runs: 4 miles and 3 miles. I run 4 miles in 41:05 at the easy pace of 10:15 per mile. My effort feels light and I finish the run strong with an average HR of 119 bpm.

I run 3 miles on the shady trails at John Chestnut Park. My average pace is 9:26 per mile (30 seconds faster than planned). However, my average HR is still in the aerobic zone at 127 bpm and a cadence of 152 spm.

The last training day is a 10-mile run at an easy pace. At an average HR of 120 bpm, I run 10 miles in 1:46:05. Discover how I fuel and protect my joints on this easy 10 mile run. You can also watch videos of me running at John Chestnut Park.

20 Mile Run Week 12

In week 12 of the sub 4 hour marathon training plan is two easy run days, marathon and threshold pace run, and a long 20 mile run.

The first run is 4 miles at an easy pace 9:56 to 10:55 / mi. Feeling strong I run at 9:56 pace with an average heart rate (HR) of 126 bpm.

The next run is 1 mile at easy pace. Then 4 miles at marathon pace 8:52 / mi, and 1 mile at threshold pace 8:18 / mi. Finally, the last 4 miles at marathon pace. I run the first set of marathon pace miles slower than planned. Then, I run the threshold mile at 8:10 / mi, and the second set of marathon pace miles faster than the first.

The second easy run is 6 miles. I run an average pace 6 seconds faster than planned at 9:50 per mile. My average HR is 130 bpm.

The last run of week 12 is a 20 mile easy run. However, running twenty miles is not easy! After thirteen miles, l develop painful pressure sores on the sides of my feet. Since the Salomon shoes hurt my feet on long runs, I will go back to New Balance 880 shoes.

Discover my fueling plan for this 20 mile run, including when I drink and consume gels. Find out my mile splits, how long it takes, and how I feel after running twenty miles.

Sub 4 hour Marathon Training Plan Week 13

Deload Training Week

After last week’s 40 miles, this week’s training deloads with 32 miles. Week 13 sub 4 hour marathon training plan is 2 easy runs, a speed repetition workout, and a long 14 mile run with speed intervals at the end.

The first run is 4 miles at an easy pace of 9:56 to 10:56 per mile. I run all 4 miles faster than the planned pace. My average pace is 9:27 per mile with an average heart rate (HR) of 131 bpm. During the run, I feel strong and my effort is light.

Next, I run a planned speed session: a 1.5-mile warm-up, four sets of 4 x reps with jog recoveries, and a 1.5-mile cool-down. The repetitions include:

  • 200 m x 4 at 0:54/rep (7:14/mi) with 200 m jog recovery
  • 400 m x 4 at 1:48/rep (7:14/mi) with 400 m jog recovery
  • 200 m x 4 at 0:54/rep (7:14/mi) with 200 m jog recovery

First Repeat Splits

  • A second fast at 0:53 (7:09/mi)
  • A second slow at 0:55 (7:25/mi)
  • At plan pace 0:54 (7:14/mi)
  • Four seconds slow at 0:58 (7:46/mi)

Second Repeat Splits

  • 4 seconds slow at 1:52 (7:30/mi)
  • 2 seconds slow at 1:50 (7:23/mi)
  • 3 seconds slow at 1:51 (7:25/mi)
  • 3 seconds slow at 1:51 (7:25/mi)

Finish Strong in Week 13

Third Repeat Splits

  • 55 seconds (7:23/mi) a second slow
  • 56 seconds (7:30/mi) two seconds slow
  • 52 seconds (7:02/mi) two seconds fast
  • 55 seconds (7:20/mi) a second slow

I run 6.98 miles in 1:05:06. My average pace is 9:19/mi, my average HR is 137 bpm, and my running cadence is fast at 155 spm.

Next, the plan is 6 miles at an easy pace. However, I feel very strong and run every mile faster than planned. My average pace is 9:28 per mile (28 seconds faster). I complete the run in 56:54 with average HR 131 and running cadence of 153 spm.

The last planned long run is 14 miles at easy pace. Then 6 x 1 minute at 7:38/mi repetitions with 1:30 jog recovery. Because my average pace for the first 14 miles is 3 seconds faster than planned at 9:53 I run 14.71 miles in 2:25:29.

One-minute Interval Splits

  • 8:35/mi (1:03 slow)
  • 9:02/mi (1:30 slow)
  • 8:40/mi (1:08 slow)
  • 8:46/mi (1:14 slow)
  • 7:54/mi (0:16 slow)
  • 7:38/mi at planned pace

I run 15.35 miles in 2:34:38, and my average HR is 132 bpm.

Running Strong in Week 14

Garmin Watch Training Error

The sub 4 hour marathon plan for week 14 is three easy run days, one interval speed session, and a 17-mile long run. The planned weekly mileage is 40.

The first run is 6 miles at an easy pace. However, I run an average of 27 seconds faster than planned at 9:29 per mile. My average heart rate (HR) is 132 bpm. During the run, I feel strong and my perceived effort is light.

The second run is supposed to be interval training: 6 x 800 m at 3:48/rep (7:38/mi) with 2:30 jog recovery. However, the Garmin watch training I select is wrong. Instead of running 7 miles, I run 7.59 miles. My average pace is 9:23/mi and my average HR is 130 bpm.

The third run is 6 miles at an easy pace. I run 10:06/mi average pace with a low HR of 122 bpm.

Running Fast and Strong!

With only five weeks out to the Buffalo Marathon, I’m running fast and feeling strong! My last easy run of week 14 is 4 miles. However, something goes wrong again with my Polar watch and it directs me to run 6 miles. I run at an average pace of 9:19 per mile (37 seconds faster than planned). With an average HR of 136 bpm, I feel strong finishing six miles in 55:58.

The last long run is 17 miles at an easy pace. However, I feel strong and run on average 13 seconds faster than planned at a 9:43 pace. I finished the 17 miles at 2:45:11 with an average HR of 134 bpm.

I wear a Nathan hydration vest and run the 17 miles at the shady trails of John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor, FL. Discover why you need a fueling plan to perform well on long runs.

Sub 4 Hour Marathon Training Plan Week 15

The plan for week 15 is 3 easy runs, a threshold session with repeats, and a long run at a sub 4 hour marathon training pace.

The first easy run is 5 miles at 9:56 to 10:55 per mile pace. I run faster than planned with an average pace of 9:23 per mile, and an average heart rate (HR) of 135 bpm. I ran this easy run too hard.

The second threshold workout with repeats starts with a 1.5-mile warm-up. The threshold session is 4 x 1 mile at 8:18 per mile with 1:30 jog recovery. I run the first interval two seconds under at 8:16. However, the next three intervals average ten seconds over at 8:28.

Next, is 4 x 200 meters at 54 seconds (7:14/mi) with a 200-meter jog recovery. I run these intervals with an average time of 53.5 seconds. Finally, a 1.5-mile planned cool-down.

The next two easy runs are 6 miles and 5 miles. I run the five miles at the planned easy pace at 10:04 with an average of 128 bpm HR. The six miles I run at 10:11 with an average of 125 bpm HR.

This week’s planned long run starts with a 20-minute warm-up at an easy pace. Then 1 hour and 30 minutes at marathon pace 8:52 per mile.

At the end of the long run, I feel weak and my perceived effort is hard. The terrain is flat and the temperature is 75 degrees. I run in the shade of mature trees at John Chestnut Park on gravel trails and boardwalks.

Unfortunately, I run slower than planned. Only one of the ten miles is at or below marathon pace 8:32. The other nine miles range from 9:02 to 9:45, and my average for all 11.7 miles is 9:25.

The Last Hard Training Week 16

The sub 4 hour marathon training plan for week 16 is 3 easy run days, a threshold workout, and a 12-mile easy run. My total mileage for the week is 36.3 miles.

Day one is an easy 6-mile run. My pace is two seconds faster than planned at 9:54/mile. I complete six miles in 59:29 with an average heart rate (HR) of 119 bpm.

The plan for the threshold session is a 1.5-mile warmup, 2 x 2 miles @ 8:18 per mile pace with a two-minute jog recovery. Then a mile at the same threshold pace. Finally, a cool-down of 1.5 miles. I complete the threshold reps on average 13.6 seconds slower than planned. My effort is somewhat hard with a max HR of 149 and an average HR of 131.

The next planned run is 6 miles at an easy pace. My average pace is 10:02 per mile for six miles with a low average HR of 121 bpm.

The third easy run is 4 miles. My average pace is 19 seconds faster than planned at 9:37 per mile. I’m running my easy runs too fast and my hard runs too slow.

The final 12-mile long run is at a planned easy pace of 9:56 to 10:55 per mile. Looking at my mile splits, I run miles 8, 11, and 12 faster than planned. However, I run the other nine miles at the planned easy pace. My average pace is 10:14 per mile with a cadence of 152 spm. I feel strong after running the twelve miles, and ready for the Buffalo Marathon on May 29, 2022.

Week 17 and the Last Hard Workout

Training volume is reduced to 27.3 miles in week 17. This week’s plan is 3 easy run days, a hard threshold workout, and an easy long run.

The first easy run is 4 miles. I run it within the planned easy pace and my average pace is 10:05 per mile.

The threshold workout plan is a 1.5-mile warm-up, 5 x 1 mile at 8:18 to 8:33 per mile pace with 1:30 jog recovery. Then a 1.5-mile cool-down. It took me a while to figure out, the planned intervals only show you the 8:18 (fastest time).

However, the actual interval is the range from 8:18 to 8:33. Reviewing my splits, I hit all the planned intervals. After finishing the last interval at 8:24/mile pace, I feel weak and completely exhausted.

The next easy run is 5 miles. I run within the planned pace with an average of 10:34/mile. My average heart rate is low at 122 bpm.

This week’s last easy run is only 3 miles. I run within the planned pace with an average of 10:08 per mile. My average heart rate is even lower at 118 bpm.

Falling Down While Running

The final long run of week 17 is also the last long run of the sub 4 hour training plan. The planned run is 8 miles at an easy pace. However, at .72 miles I trip while running and fall down. I land hard on the ground, scraping my hands and hip.

As a result of my fall, the Garmin watch detects the “incident” and automatically sends a message to my emergency contact. After this occurs, Garmin completes the training run. However, I am not finished.

I run 6.72 miles at an average pace of 10:22/mile. Even after falling down, my average heart rate is 122 bpm.

Week 18 Tapering Before the Race

In Week 18, the sub 4 hour marathon plan is to significantly reduce mileage so you fully recover and feel fresh on race day. The last week of training is 2 easy run days and a threshold interval session.

The first easy run is 3 miles. Since I am recovering from a fall on Sunday and the bottom of my foot needs time to heal, I skipped this easy run.

The threshold workout is a 1.5-miles warm-up, 3 x 1 mile at 8:18 / mile pace with 2-minute jog recoveries, and a 1.5-mile cool-down. The threshold pace is between 8:18/mi and 8:33/mi. My threshold splits are 8:15, 8:30, and 8:29. This workout takes me an hour and eight minutes.

The last easy run is 4 miles. My average pace is 10:02 per mile with an average heart rate of 126 bpm.

The marathon plan is 2 full days of rest before race day.

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