4 hrs for the marathon - in 12 weeks

Experienced 12 weeks 3x/week
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Running a marathon in 4 hours means that you have to be capable of maintaining a pace of 10.6 km/h (5 minutes 40 per kilometre).

To follow this program, you need to be able to run a half-marathon in 1 hour 50 minutes.

This 12-week plan is split into 3 rounds.
During the first round, you ideally train on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, to spread the sessions evenly over the week.

Over the following rounds, you ideally train on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in order to rack up the km over a short period of time.

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

Week 1 - Round 1: we begin gradually.

Initially we will keep at least one day of rest between each session, to get the body used to this new training load.

  • 01. 1 hour jogging on flat ground
  • 02. 1 hour jogging on hilly ground
  • 03. 1 hour 30 min long run on the road

Week 2 - Round 1: Finding your training pace.

Your speed over the sessions at a specific pace, will be 10.75 km/h (5 min 35 sec per km) i.e. a little faster than your race pace.

  • 04. 1 hour jogging on hilly ground
  • 05. 3 x 2 km set pace
  • 06. 1 hour 45 min long run on the road

Week 3 - Round 1: run lengths continue to increase

Try to start you training plan with a pair of shoes which has not been used too much, so that you don't have to change shoes while preparing.

  • 07. 1 hour 15 min jogging on hilly ground
  • 08. 3 x 3 km set pace
  • 09. 2 hours long run on the road

Week 4 - Regeneration week

This week training becomes much lighter in order to recover from the endurance levels of the first training round. Only 2 training sessions are retained, preferably on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • 10. 1 hour jogging on flat ground
  • 11. rest
  • 12. 1 hour jogging on hilly ground

Week 5 - Round 2: we bring together 2 sessions over the weekend to form a training block.

On this second round you will ideally train on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in order to be able to build up the km over a short period.

  • 13. 1 hr 30 min on hilly ground
  • 14. 5 x 2 km set pace
  • 15. 1 hour 40 min long run on the road

Week 6 - Round 2: linking runs at a set pace and a long run over 2 days.

With 2 session over the weekend, the long run may be difficult. Whatever the speed, what is important is to run for the requested time.

  • 16. 1 hr 30 min on hilly ground
  • 17. 3 x 4 km set pace
  • 18. 1 hour 50-min long run on the road

Week 7 - Round 2: maximum training load before a well deserved break!

The training sessions, and effort you put in, mean that you may start to get tired.

Look after yourself, put on dry clothes after running, follow our nutritional advice, monitor your lifestyle and everything will be fine!

  • 19. 1 hr 30 min on hilly ground
  • 20. 3 x 5 km set pace
  • 21. 2 hours 15 min long run on the road

Week 8 - Regeneration week

This week training becomes much lighter in order to recover from the endurance levels of the work of the second round. Only 2 training sessions are retained, preferably on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • 22. 1 hour jogging
  • 23. rest
  • 24. 1 hour jogging

Week 9 - Round 3: starting back with a heavy training load.

On this third round you will ideally train on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, in order to be able to build up the km over a short period.

  • 25. 1 hr 30 min on hilly ground
  • 26. 4 x 3 km set pace
  • 27. 2h 15 min long run

Week 10 - Round 3: gradually lightening the training

The deadline is approaching, we maintain the quality of the training but gradually reduce the amount.

  • 28. 5 km at a fast pace
  • 29. 2 x 4 km set pace
  • 30. 1 hour 30 min long run on the road

Week 11 - Round 3: a light week to arrive at your goal rested. We take a rest day between sessions.

The last week of training before the marathon. This week of preparation is lighter than those that you have done the previous weeks. You are starting to "feel fresher" physically and mentally. Your training days must change, they will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, in order to avoid tiredness building up over the weekend.

  • 31. 1 hour jogging on flat ground
  • 32. 2 x 3 km set pace
  • 33. 1 hour jogging on flat ground

Week 12 - Recovery and competition

The training gets lighter so that you are fresh at the start line of the course. Only one running session on Wednesday, just to get your legs moving.

  • 34. 1 hour jogging on flat ground
  • 35. rest
  • 36. warm-up for day of race

Coach advice

"You want to run a half-marathon within four hours. It's a massive goal that requires rigour and a significant investment in terms of time on your part. However, with the will, determination and regular exercise, this training plan will help you achieve success."
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