Sub 3 hour marathon training diary – Week 5

Week five: January 2019

I naturally awoke at 06:50 on Saturday morning.

The significance of this number is it’s the average minute per mile pace that I would need to sneak in just under 3 hours for the marathon.

Eat, sleep, dream. It’s a little disconcerting how this sub 3 reference was the first thing I thought off when I awoke and looked at my Apple Watch, as I started my preparations for my long 20 mile run.

Use the long runs to practice your fuelling

But I guess that’s what happens when you become truly immersed on a goal and it fuels you from the get go. It’s definitely not all sunrises and ice cream though. Years ago it felt like my running/training was built around my life. Whereas sub 3 training now means building my life around the marathon training.

This is difficult, as there is family and work commitments which take priority. For example my midweek run was 15 miles, but most of my workouts (this time of the year) occur before sunrise, where you have to figure out how long it will take to do it and then get to work latest by 9am.

Now there will be people that say… well your not meant to run that early in the morning, or late in the evening for double runs. However I’m not a pro athlete so running has to fit around other areas of my life. Find what works for you and stick to it.

Saturday’s long run starting in the dark wasn’t different, according to Siri, sunrise wasn’t until 8:03 which gave me time to mentally prepare for the long run, and have my usual bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

There’s people in January who maybe have set a new year commitment to themselves. As the weeks progress this is where it starts getting tough, and it’s easy to quit. But I would urge you to stay in it. Remember why you started.

Commitments take a long time to form a habit, which is why I’m grateful for the small significance of the instant 6:50 reference when I woke up, which reminds me of my why.

This week’s had its challenges, training around working, and family commitments plus life errands that need to be done.

Some parts of the week I’d find myself getting frustrated with running and that “I”couldn’t spin all the plates. Some plates dropped and smashed. I had to remind myself that it wasn’t that I disliked running, but sub 3 training is hard, and as such will have its ups and downs.

As it’s a consistent block of hard work, it’s not about a generic day to start a sixteen week training plan, it’s been about going from training block to training block, and running consistent weekly miles.

Sometimes in the daily grind of training, you can forget where you started, especially when your tired or feeling the aches.

I used to run much lower mileage or just follow generic training plans without success. Which is why when I look at my weekly miles now, I’m always humbled of how I started.

Post Saturday’s 20 mile I’ve clocked up 82 miles this week, excluding some easy recovery miles tomorrow. But it’s taken time to build up to this number safely.

20 miles ( 2 mile warmup / 16 miles at steady target pace of 7:30 / 2 mile warm down)

But when times start to get tough, you need to remember why you started, and the inner strengths that you’ve revealed as you’ve continued on this journey. Remind yourself of the wins, plus the challenges that you’ve overcome.

Be kind to yourself in having the strength to go for a goal that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, whatever that goal is keep showing up.

Manchester marathon is approximately twelve weeks away, to see my journey on Instagram follow the hashtag.



  1. Another solid week. Those early morning runs are tough at the best of times let alone in January so kudos on getting it done. I find visualisation a good technique to keep motivated, picture yourself approaching and crossing the finish line and seeing the timer beginning with a 2 as you do “TheMarcus”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the tips and encouragement mate, it’s greatly appreciated! I’m on the same page with you about the visualisation for the finish 💪🏽💪🏽


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