Marathon Training & Racing from
Joe Bowman
All 50 States & DC under 3:00

A Long Run

Time on your feet is very important for any
marathoner.  HOWEVER,  I don't see the need for
more than a 2:30 long run for a 3:00 marathon.  
For me, because I run so many marathons, I tend
not to run longer than 2 hours in a training run,
but I do this run on a pretty toug
h 16 mile trail
and at a good clip.  If I'm consistently under 2
hours, I'm in sub three shape, so find a 16 to 17
mile rolling terrain course and get to work.  One
time doesn't count; this is something you need to
be able to do almost any day of the week.

A Medium Long Run

A 12 to 14 mile mid-week run is always a good
base booster, but can you make time for it?  
Great if you can, but if not, it may mean a
Saturday/Sunday that's 3.5 hours and 30 miles.  
That's OK, in fact it's better than OK; I do it all
the time.  You need this medium long run for
marathon strength so don't skip it!  You're
getting into sub three hour shape if you can do
this workout at 7:00 pace and it doesn't zap your
legs the next day.  Breaking it into two runs is
OK, but if so, one run really needs to incorporate
faster turnover.
Mile Repeats

Mile repeats build speed and stamina and I can't
make this one any simpler.  Run a mile every 7
minutes whether you want to or not.  These are a
must for consistent sub three marathoning.   I like
doing at least 5 at roughly 6 minute pace, which
allows for a one minute rest.  I'm not a fan of the
slow jog in between because I don't want my legs
to forget the turnover they just had, but do what
you want as long as you're back up to speed
every 7 minutes.  The key to marathon-based
mile repeats is not the speed of the interval but
the restriction of rest.  With this workout, even
when you're not as fast as you need to be (6
minute pace), you're working your way there by
having less than a minute to rest.  And if you
don't have a track, find a quiet road.  Once your
speed starts to suffer, call it a didn't
come to the track to run at training pace.

Balanced Pick-Ups

I don't believe much in 800 meter repeats for
marathoning.  They don't provide enough
consistent leg fatigue (unless you barely rest)
and to me they make mile repeat workouts
harder to complete because your brain starts
liking two less laps. That doesn't mean I don't
believe in faster-than-mile-pace running; I just
prefer doing it on a road or a trail.  Set your
interval timer on 2 minutes 30 seconds, skip the
first beep (so you'll get a 5 minute warm-up),
then hit the pace hard (90% of max) at the next
beep....then easy for 2:30...then hard.  A rolling
terrain course means you can't control the timing
of the huh?!  I like doing the same
amount of rest as's easy to set
your watch for and if you do 2:30s, you'll know
there's a hard one
the 5s (5,10,15 etc).              
1 hr = 11 fast ones.
3N5s aka The Catch All

This is not a track workout; it's a long marathon pace type tempo run, but requires a track.  I started
using this one when I got banged up doing non-marathon training.  If your 6 minute miles are a bit
slow, hit the track with the goal of running 3 laps in 5 minutes.  The math is 1:40/lap, 6:40/mile and a
2:55 marathon...but only focus on 3 lap/5:00.  My norm is 3N5X8 (or 6 miles in 40:00...again with no's a long tempo run).  I've gone as long as 3N5X16 (12 miles in 1:20).
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Core Training