Now, it’s likely that most of the people reading this will never break 2:30 in the marathon.
Going under three hours puts you within the top 5% of marathon finishers in the United States. So going under 2:30 is another level completely.
But, seeing what runners did prior to running 26.2 miles in under 2.5 hours will give you some framework and guide as to what you can do to take your running to the next level, no matter what level that is.
This was a fun article to research since there is such a variety of athletes out there and their experiences are all so different but with little similarities as well.
Sasha Pachev has a web page on the subject were he details what he did
He details aspects of diet and lifestyle. Mentioning consistency with not missing more than three consecutive days of running in many years. Practice consistent moderate to high mileage (but not too high). Eat a diet of low processed food.
Two of my favorite training characteristics he mentions are his “always on the run” were he would, along with regular training, try to go out for an easy one mile jog every three hours or so to break up long periods of sitting. He also did something I’m a big fan of, downhill speedwork. His favorite was 20x400m down a 1% grade with 200m jog recovery.
On Reddit, user Distance_Runner gave a detailed response to this question.
You can read his full answer here, however in short he said
- Run more than 80 miles per week.
- Do some double run days throughout the week.
- Longer long runs
- As well as nutrition, body weight, adequate sleep, very easy easy runs, etc.
Next up comes a thread on LetsRun.com and a specific comment from an anonymous user who brings up three great points.
- Practice Race Pace: Incorporate workouts done at 90-95% goal pace and at 105-110% goal pace.
- Easy Long Runs: If your goal is 2:30 or 3:00, run easy long runs of 2:30 or 3:00. You don’t have to cover the distance, but simply being on your feet for that long at once will make that duration on race day more tolerable.
- Run Goal Pace when Tired: This can be done in a number of workouts, the most simple being a progression run. Doing an easy 10 miles + 10 near marathon goal pace or a long run where you alternate easy mile segments of 1-3 at an easy pace and 1-3 miles at marathon pace for 15-20 miles.
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