3 hrs 45 mins for a marathon - in 9 weeks

Experienced 9 weeks 4x/week
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To run the marathon in 3 hour 45 mins, you need to maintain a pace of 11.25 km/h (5 min 20 secs per km).

In order to follow this training programme, you must be able to run the half-marathon in 1 hr 45 mins or 4 hours for the marathon.

As you run several times a week throughout the year, this programme only takes 9 weeks. It breaks down into 2 cycles separated by a light training week.

You will train on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, preferably.

You need to have Decathlon Coach application to launch this program !

Week 1 - Cycle 1: discovering the paces

Your speed for sessions at a specific pace will be 11.50 km/h (5 mins 15 secs per kilometre), i.e. a little faster than the pace you will have to maintain during the race.

  • 01. Short VO2max effort 12x (30s - 30s)
  • 02. 1 hr of jogging on hilly terrain
  • 03. 3x 2 km at a specific pace
  • 04. long 1 hr 30 min run on road

Week 2 - Cycle 1: gradual increase in the training workload

The marathon training is demanding. Maintain your healthy lifestyle (sleep, nutrition, hydration) to prevent any issues. Remember to change into some dry clothing at the end of each training session to avoid catching cold.

  • 05. VO2max 10x (1 min - 1 min)
  • 06. 1 hr 15 mins of jogging on flat terrain
  • 07. 2 x 3 km at a specific pace
  • 08. long 1 hr 45 min run on road

Week 3 - Cycle 1: heavy training schedule.

If you are concerned that your shoes might not last until the marathon, replace them now. You will break them in during the recovery week. It is risky to make such an important change within one month of the marathon.

  • 09. VO2max 6x (2 mins - 1 min)
  • 10. 1 hr 15 mins of jogging on hilly terrain
  • 11. 4x 2 km at a specific pace
  • 12. long 2 hr run

Week 4 - Week of regeneration.

The training workload drops significantly this week so that you can recover from the effort made during the previous weeks.
While sticking to 4 training sessions per week, the sessions are shorter and less intense.

If needed (fatigue, physical issue, etc.) don't hesitate to skip a session.

  • 13. 45 mins of jogging
  • 14. 1 hr with 10 mins at marathon pace
  • 15. rest
  • 16. 45 mins on hilly terrain

Week 5 - Cycle 2: heavy training schedule.

We immediately start again with a very heavy training schedule, so this is not the time to get into any bad habits: sleep, a healthy lifestyle, diet and hydration are still of utmost importance.

  • 17. VO2max 10x (1 min - 45 secs)
  • 18. 1 hr 15 mins of jogging on hilly terrain
  • 19. 2 x 4 km at a specific pace
  • 20. long 2 hrs 15 mins run on road

Week 6 - Cycle 2: maximum training schedule.

With the objective 4 weeks away, this is the toughest week of the programme. Stick as close as you can to the paces, do not go too quickly and don't overdo it; the following week is still quite intense!

  • 21. VO2max 3x (5 mins - 2 mins 30 secs)
  • 22. 1 hr 15 mins of jogging on flat terrain
  • 23. 3 x 3 km at a specific pace
  • 24. long 2 hr 30 min run on road

Week 7 - Cycle 2: slight decrease in the training workload

Even if the training intensity drops a little, this week will still be challenging. Hang in there, this is the final week of intense training.

  • 25. VO2max 5x (3 mins - 1 min 30 secs)
  • 26. 1 hr 15 mins of jogging on flat terrain
  • 27. 2 x 5 km at a specific pace
  • 28. long 2 hr run

Week 8 - Cycle 2: start of the relaxation phase

With the marathon 2 weeks away, it is time to lighten the training schedule to be fully rested at the start. We will stick to 3 sessions this week, without exceeding an hour of running.

  • 29. 1 hr jog
  • 30. 2 x 2 km at target race pace
  • 31. 1 hr jog
  • 32. rest

Week 9 - Regeneration and competition

The workload drops so that you feel fresh for the start of the race. The programme includes just too short running sessions, which is just enough to stretch the legs.

  • 33. 40 mins with 10 mins at marathon pace
  • 34. 30 mins of jogging
  • 35. rest
  • 36. warm-up for the day of the race

Coach advice

"You want to run a marathon in 3 hrs 45 mins. This is a massive objective that requires discipline and a big time commitment. However, with a little resolve, determination and regularity, this training plan will lead you on the pathway to success."
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