Marathon Level 1 of Level 2


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    Hey everyone!

    Im having trouble choosing between level 1 and 2 marathon plans. Before heading into the military i am setting the goal of running a sub 3:30 marathon.

    Only have the one organised run under my belt( Used the level 1 50m plan) which was on 15th October 2022
    – 50M ultra – 3000m elevation Time: 14:05:58

    Since then my running volume has ranged from 10km to 35km. Most of which was zone 2. Will also add that have strength train at least 3x a week for the past few years.

    Any advice would be much appreciate.


    As far as level choices go, it’s really going to depend on which level you have yhe time to consistently complete the program. Either one will prepare you well for the race.

    I’m more concerned about your projected time line for that sub 3:30 marathon goal. You gave a race time from October that was 16:55/mile. Your equivocal marathon pace would be around 14:33/mile. To hit a sub 3:30 you would need around a 8:00/mile pace. That’s over 3 min/mile faster than your current predicted mile pace. I’m concerned that if your goal is to reach a sub 3:30 marathon in the very near future you will either be disappointed or worse, injured. I’d personally recommend a sub 6 hour goal time for an immediate marathon goal and look at a sub 3:30 as a 3-5 year goal minimum.

    Since you will definitely need to work on speed and then endurance, I’d step back and focus on the 5k/10K and then work up to the ½ Marathon. If looking for a sub 3:30 marathon you need to be in shape to run a 21:30 5K and a 1:39ish half. I’d focus on no more than 1 full or half a year as a benchmark race and work on 5K/10K ik between.

    In addition, I’d recommend focusing on proper nutrition and strength training.

    80/20 Certified Coach.


    Hey Gerald,

    I appreciate your response. Should note that the pace from the ultra marathon was due to the elevation and having zero experience of ultra marathon and long distant trail running(It was also raining).So the pace from that run is not indicative of flat, on a tarmac surface( As the marathon will be). So in my belief the sub 3:30 pushing it, but still realistic.

    My current PBs for flat runs on paved surfaces:

    5K 22:04
    10k 47:34

    Also weigh 89kg so I think those times are half decent.



    Thanks for the follow-up. Yes, that definitely looks like a sub 3:30 is more atainable in the short term.

    It just then becomes a question of if you could consistently run the extra hour a week. The level 1 starts at 4 hours vs 5 hours for level 2. They are pretty much the same plan with just little longer time. I’d recommend starting with level 2 and utilizing the free level guarantee if it’s too much.

    80/20 Certified Coach

    David Warden

    And don’t forget our Level Guarantee! you can always switch levels for free if the plan you chose was too easy or too hard.

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