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Sub 4-Hour Marathon - 16 Weeks

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Sub 4-Hour Marathon - 16 Weeks

Includes Structured Workouts

Structured Workouts automatically sync with compatible devices and guide you through workouts in real time.

Learn More about Structured Workouts.


Dan Weekes

All plans by this Coach


16 Weeks

Includes Structured Workouts

Structured Workouts automatically sync with compatible devices and guide you through workouts in real time.

Learn More about Structured Workouts.

Plan Description

This is a straightforward marathon plan which includes some strength and maintenance. Over the 16 weeks, the volume does reach over 4 hours per week so it is suggested that the athlete has completed at least two half marathons and has been running at least 3 times per week for the preceding two months. To use the heart rate zone function within TP and a sports watch, the athlete should conduct a time trial to establish the correct zones. Athletes will need a Zone 2 pace of close to 5:40/km to achieve a sub-4 hour marathon. That's a shade over 9-minute miles... Following your Time Trial below, you should be able to gauge how achievable that is! You can of course allow for some improvement over the 16 weeks, so assume your start date is around 95% of your end potential.

The Method of conducting a run time trial is suggested as follows:
Walk for at least 5 minutes and then ease into some slow running for 10 minutes.
Use a further 5 minutes to slowly increase the intensity to the point that the breath can be heard i.e. being "puffed out".
Carry out some activation exercises (refer to below) for 5 minutes.
Conduct 5 repeats of this strides warm-up:
Start by running slowly for a few seconds, gradually build speed before reaching a pace which is almost flat out then complete 30 foot strikes full gas (count 15 on one side - left or right).
Walk back to the starting point each time.
Start your sports watch and run 30 minutes as hard as you can.
Begin conservatively, and use the lap button on your sports watch when 10 minutes have passed to record the 20 minutes we need data for.
Your average heart rate and pace for the 20 minutes will be your threshold HR and Pace. These can be entered into TP to find your training zones.

Activation exercises can be anything that challenges single leg balancing. These can be a choice of:
1. Slow calf raises with one leg raised
2. Raise one knee while balancing on the other foot (add in calf raise?)
3. Lift one heel to the butt while standing on the other leg then lean forward to look at the ground while stretching the raised leg straight out behind you.
4. As above but hold arms out parallel to the ground before bending forward.
5. Butt kicks.
6 High knees.

For anyone doing the HR based workouts without knowing their training zones, here's a brief description on each zone using RPE instead:

Zone 1 = 1-2 RPE (Walking and warming-up for example)
Zone 2 = 3-4 RPE (Aerobic fat burning workouts)
Zone 3 = 5-6 RPE ("Tempo" workouts for longer intervals)
Zone 4 = 7-8 RPE ("Threshold" workouts i.e. your best 20 minute effort)
Zone 5 = 9-10 RPE ("VO2 max" or shorter intervals)

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x5
04:40:00 03:10:00
Strength x1
00:19:00 00:20:00
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
04:40:00 03:10:00
00:19:00 00:20:00
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • GPS

All supported devices

Dan Weekes - Process 3


I am based in Bayside Melbourne and offer cycling, running and triathlon programmes direct to athletes. As well as 1:1 coaching, I run swim programmes and stroke correction workshops at two levels for both beginners and intermediates, both of which run for 6 weeks each. I began coaching in 2016 and love to work with self-coached athletes happy to dissect and operate with data.

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  • Completed workouts sync with popular apps like Garmin and Wahoo. Learn More
  • If plan includes Structured Workouts, then planned workouts sync to compatible devices and guide you through workouts in real time. Learn More

Refund Policy

This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

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