Which plan to follow for marathon time goal

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    Having never really followed a structured training plan previously, I started using the 80:20 plans this year and absolutely love them. It’s completely transformed my running performance.

    For context this year I followed two plans:

    – Half Marathon Level 1 – and ended with a 1:34:47 half marathon time in May.

    – Progressed to Half Marathon Level 2 and did a a 37:59 10k B race and 1:23:26 half marathon A race in October.

    Next year I am doing a marathon in April, I’ve purchased the Marathon Level 2 plan for this. My goals for this cycle will be a sub 80 minute half marathon B race and sub 3 hour marathon A race. I read somewhere that the level 2 plan may actually be more targeted towards 3:10-3:20 marathon times.

    My questions are:

    – Based on my October half marathon times, would you expect the Level 2 plan to be reasonable preparation to get me to a sub 3 Marathon?

    – If not, is the level 3 marathon plan a reasonable step up from someone who’s just completed half marathon level 2 or would a tailored version of level 2 be more sensible? As I noticed the training hours are a decent jump.





    Just following up for any feedback on the this query.




    A lot of this will be dependent on your level of fitness and training consistency. I think that your goal of an 80min half might be resonable, but that does not guarntee you will be able to hit a sub-3 full. Firstly, your half marathon pace will be faster than your marathon pace. Basically Marathon pace is zone x which is faster than a foundation run but slower than everything else. Additionally, while the math says that a full marathon is just 2x a half marathon, they are completely different beasts. The full marathon is much more difficult and is especially so for the last 12km or so.

    It’s hard to say what plan will be best for you. It’s best to choose a plan that you can complete consistently while avoiding injury. If you are a subscriber you could start with the Level 3 plan and see how it goes. If the time commitment or training load is too much you can always drop back to the level 2 plan. Both plans are a lot of time on feet and a daily commitment to training (you get one rest day every 3 weeks in the level 2 plan).

    I’ve just finished the level 2 plan (Pace based) and ran my marathon and felt very well prepared and hit my A goals. I’ll be repeating it again in the lead up to a February marathon as well and expect that my fitness will increase and the next one will be better as well (all things being equal).

    Best of luck with your training!

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