Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon

I won a copy of this book from Britne in a giveaway she hosted a while back (thanks, Britne!).

I read this book several months ago because it's a quick read.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book to a pure beginner, but it does give some useful tips for both training and race day.  Its goal is to get you to a 4-hour marathon, which seemed right up my alley because my PR is 4:19.

My 10th marathon will be on November 12.  While I am proud of this milestone, I am a little embarrassed that I have not been running such stellar marathon times as of late.  Of course, finishing each race is stellar, but I start wondering if people in real life and even here on the blog take me seriously because I haven't cranked out this 4-hour marathon.  Long story short, I was busy with school, life got in the way, and frankly, I stopped worrying about speed and more about getting through each race injury-free.

It has been a while since I've followed a training program.  I usually just do a couple of short runs per week, maybe a medium one (6-8 mi), and then a long one over the weekend.  I didn't do any real speed work or mind my pace besides the "must go as fast as I can hold it."  So I have decided to follow the training plan in this book, which also has plans for 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, and 5:00 marathons.

The training falls into three phases: Endurance, Stamina, and Taper.  I modified this schedule (which you will see more detail of later when I'm doing it) only slightly to accommodate some of the races I have during the training period.

The Endurance phase contains the quarter-mile repeats, Stamina phase is more about hitting a certain pace on the medium-length runs, and Taper phase... well, you all know that's the part we love!  The long runs go up to 23 miles, which is daunting, since my last 22-miler was humbling.  Fortunately, the pace for all the long runs ranges from 10:40-11:20.  But I tend to like to rumble through them more quickly because I don't want to be outside forever!  Oh well, I'll figure it out.

So my training officially starts on July 18th.  I've already got my Google calendar set up with all the runs on it, which was a feat for me.  I must really want this.  And even if not, I think it will be an interesting experiment and challenge.


  1. I'm planning on following a training plan for Philly, also for the first time in a long time. I'm interested to see if it makes a difference after so many marathons under my belt.

  2. Good luck with your training! I just recently found your blog and I've really enjoyed reading about some of your runs. I'm running my first 1/2 marathon in October and I love reading your race re-caps to prepare myself mentally! I totally take you seriously, no matter your time! (plus, you're on your 10th(!) marathon - that is outstanding!)

  3. LOL! The first we tense in my copy says " Go away and run for twomyears. Then read the next sentence."

  4. Hi Julie! I'm so glad to see that you've found this book useful. I used the same schedule, although I did push the pace during my longer runs (10:40 - 11:20 seemed too slow). Good luck on your pursuit of the 4-hour marathon!