Sub 3 hour marathon training diary – Week 1

Week one: 12/17/2018

In the upcoming posts, I’ll be documenting my honest experience of training for a sub 3 hour marathon in 2019. My first attempt will be at the 2019 April ASICS Manchester Marathon.

My slowest marathon time is 4:55, I’m not a professional athlete. I work full time and have a family. I’m time poor… I could use these as excuses and allow the fear of going for a goal outside of my comfort zone to stop me… However I’m not arrogant enough to say these won’t have some impact on me as I’m human.

However with the time I have, I commit to doing the best that I can in each moment to achieve this goal.

At the heart of it, I want to show my daughter from a young age via my actions:

  1. To focus on the areas that she can control, whilst life happens;
  2. It’s not how you start, but how you finish.

If I achieve the sub 3 goal that is great. But if I don’t that is also great, because what will I have lost? I will have improved from where I are now, so I’d have lost nothing but gained more running experience.

Just a word of caution: To run fast takes time. It’s not just one, two or five training cycles, it may be a few years that it may click together. Then again it may not. It’s not about being talented or not. It’s about being consistent over a long period of time & doing the right things. All whilst knowing that you will fall often, but ultimately you will improve from where you started.

I’ve been working with my coach John for a few years now, and it took time for me to have any breakthroughs. 2017 was a year of “trusting the process” where your building but it doesn’t seem like that much happens!

Then it started to happen in 2018.

I won my first race (15 mile), I ran sub two 20min 5ks. I ran a sub 40min 10k, and ran three sub 90mins half marathons with a PB of 1:25:11.

However despite the progress in the shorter distances, I still have a lot of work to do to translate that pace into the marathon.

Weekly training from Coach John:

With a week before Christmas, this weeks upcoming training block consists of a six day week.

For most of last year I’ve run a seven day week. Whilst this helped get me stronger, the idea is that the rest day will help with recovery, when I introduce my double run days in the coming weeks.

This weeks training, has two key workouts for speed, and four easy paced runs to build endurance.


In the coming weeks, I will be dialling in my gel strategy (Science in Sport) and exploring what works for me.

Peak & trough from the previous week:

After finishing my recent first ultra marathon (Half Marathon Des Sables Peru) I’ve enjoyed the running break, it’s been good to recharge the body and mind, before the real work starts.

Weekly tip:

I see motivation as the spark, but the real focus should be developing habit, which through repetition becomes part of your subconscious actions.

Winter training is tough, if it’s new for you don’t jump straight into gruelling workouts, as you’ll burnout.

Instead chose your goal, then make the commitment to carry out one easy habit and build from there. This starts with priming your environment for the desired action.

This one habit could be:

1: Preparing your running kit the day before;

2: Leaving your running shoes by the front door, so you see it. If it’s in the cupboard you’ll forget it.

This weeks recommended podcast for the slow runs:

Javier Gómez interview with Dr Michael Gervais on the Finding mastery. It’s a great interview to see how a pro’s minds ticks. A big takeaway is Javier is extremely dedicated, but really enjoys the process. Click here to listen.

To follow my journey on Instagram follow the hashtag


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