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Breaking 4 hours at boston - Mark
My goal is to run Boston in under 4hrs. I have done it twice before and not achieved the goal. I'm minor injury/muscle imbalance prone and 43. Question is, how am I supposed to run sub 4 when my training plan long run pace is 30-90 seconds slower than marathon pace? I feel like I am training so slow I lost the speed. I usually run 5k under 20 minutes no problem but have never run a sub 4 marathon. Thanks!,
Reply - Coach Janet
The most common reason in my experience that runners fail to achieve their time goal is that their weekly mileage just isn't high enough to support the training needed to get the speed. There's a big difference between a 5k and a marathon as you already know. Your sub-20 min 5k definitely predicts a sub- 4 hour marathon. What weekly mileage were you running in preparation for your previous marathons? How many runs of 20 or more miles did you complete in the training cycle. If you were less than about 45-50 miles a week in training at your peak then perhaps you were simply under trained going into the race.
Each pace in training has a physiological purpose. Most of your training should be done at a conversational/aerobic effort to build the necessary infrastructure to support aerobic energy production over a long duration -- that means easy effort! There should also be some runs during the week where you focus on hills to build strength, and a run each week that pushes your capacity a little in the form of some speedwork. I'd be happy to help with this but I'd need to know a lot more about your previous training and injury history in order to plan appropriately. Let me know if I can be of assistance! Rest assured that your long-run training pace was not likely the cause of your sub-par performance... it was likely more related to your general endurance and fitness level. Build that... then fine tune the speed.
Best regards, Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1 coach, RRCA-certified coach
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"Janet's education, experience in patient care & as an educator give her a credible resume for advising runners. More importantly to me, she is able to reach out and see where I need a boost - nutrition, race day preparation, etc. She is intuitive in reading my running log and tweaks my training accordingly. I have worked with Janet for several years and I have been injury-free while snagging half marathon PRs."
Over the years my running goals have evolved, and, thanks to Janet, I’ve achieved them all! Janet’s background in physical therapy and biomechanics was invaluable to get me back on my feet after a bad hamstring injury. Janet uses her knowledge of the latest scientific evidence to optimize performance. With Janet’s help, I’ve reached the podium for races from the 5K to the marathon and qualified for Boston. Most importantly, Janet has a positive, supportive coaching style, and is a pleasure to work with!
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