Global Marathon Domination

Maybe not exactly global, or even domination, but my next goal is the marathon. It's pretty simple:

Run sub 3:00:00 in the Melbourne Marathon 2009

This means I have until October to be able to run at the same pace as my last half marathon for twice the distance. Something I believe I am definitely capable of. It will require some really good training.

My history in the marathon is a little mixed. Years ago (2000) when I first decided to really take up distance running I managed 3:20:11 in my first effort. Coming back in 2003 after really hammering triathlons I set my personal best by covering the 42.195km in 3:09:10. Otherwise I have a couple of efforts at around 3:18-19, and another couple of 3:30-3:35 which were run comfortably as training runs in the lead up to Ironman races.

From my time performing as a lab rat, the countless physiology measurements suggest my best possible performance is heading towards the 2:45:xx mark. I take this with a bit of salt. In triathlons I consistently raced above these so-called predictions from the laboratory. The marathon is a different story. This 2:45 prediction made quite a few assumptions, not the least being I train to my maximum capacity. Might be something I cannot do with full time work and a family.

This time I have chosen the 3 hour mark for the following reasons:
  • It appears realistic
  • It is unknown territory for me
  • It requires a challenging training commitment
  • There is something magic about a marathon time that begins with a two.

The Training Plan:

I'll get into more detail in the future, but for now here is a brief overview of the training.

Six phases: Base 1-3, Threshold, Specific and Peak.

Base and Threshold phases are each made of 4 x 7-9 day cycles that include 4 key sessions:

  1. Long Run
  2. Medium Run
  3. Intense Run (threshold or above)
  4. Speed work

All other runs will either be 45-75min at aerobic conditioning pace, or very easy recovery depending on how I'm handling things. The 4th cycle of each of these phases is for recovery and testing. Throughout I expect to gradually increase my average running speeds while steadily increasing volume.

Once into the Specific and Peak phases things get a little different. Here I hammer race specific pacing plus some higher intensity work before tapering.

It looks simple enough on paper. Naturally I have a few more considerations in the plan than is evident in the above table, but the most important element is:

Get out and run!


  1. Great goal Jason. I agree - realistic and achievable, but definitely not easy.

    I see there are no MP long runs until week 17. What about bringing these in earlier, or as 'part' of the long run - such as last 20 mins at MP? Also, I'm not sure about the need for the 400m TT in a marathon program. Anyway, if you can get 90% of those sessions in I'd say the sub-3 is looking good.

    By the way, I like the new header!

  2. Its a good goal. You are starting from a pretty good level of fitness. You are probaly capable of several minutes under 90 min for the half marathon at present. You have set yourself a fairly tough schedule. The specific cycle is fairly remorseless, with hefty long runs, a lot of long-medium runs at MP and some demanding intervals - but by that stage you should be able to judge how well your body is coping. I suspect that you could relax the pressure a bit in the final few weeks and still achieve your goal.


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