Sub 3hr Marathon Training with TrainerRoad



I’m aiming for a sub 3hr Marathon at Boston in 2019 - what trainer road programme/workouts would you suggest to support this?

I’m a triathlete and ran a 3.10 in London this year during the low volume LD plan so I’m keen to support my run training with cycling (which is my favourite) & swimming again to keep things interesting and reduce the chance of injury.




I’ve got the same goal essentially. My best marathon is 3:09 and I’m targeting a 2:50 at the end of February to get a BQ.

I didn’t even know TR had run plans :joy:

I personally have been using the jack Daniels Vdot o2 plan… has me running 40-50 miles a week, 5 days a week. I’m a little worried it’s not enough for my goal so I plan to start doing 6 days a week to try and bring it closer to 60 miles.

The current plan has been working well though. I PRed in a half marathon with a 1:23:12, and also PRed in a 5k with a 17:23.


I did a 2.56 following Jack Daniels Marathon programme (closely) and used to cycle a couple of times a week. I cycled a couple of times a week without any particular focus. Just to keep ticking over. I remember being surprised at how well I still cycled (rode Flanders sportif a few weeks before my marathon)

So I can confirm Jack Daniels marathon programme works and unstructured cycling will keep your hand in.


Whenever I try and follow a Jack Daniels program, it turns out pretty messy… :tumbler_glass:



I’m a current sub-3hr marathoner (55yo) and I wouldn’t recommend spending too much time focused on cycling or TR plans. Maybe…maybe…use TR for easy recovery now and then. But, if you are truly putting in the work and mileage to go under 3hr, you won’t feel much like working out beyond your run training. Your mind and body need the rest and recovery between workouts to fully benefit and build towards your goal.

See you in Boston!


Agree with this. Sub-3, BQer here as well, and when marathon (or any strictly run race) training, I don’t ride with any real intent. It’s recovery or just to shake things up. If you’re trying to cut 10-15 minutes off of your marathon PR, you’ll want all of your intensity coming from running. I did 30-45 minute trainer sessions exclusively in zone 1 on days where I wanted to be off my legs a little bit for added recovery, but ultimately the only way to run faster is to run. TR would just detract from your ability to complete your key running sessions and still recover.


So…how do you think us triathletes manage it?? If there’s a will, there’s a way. You can do both if that’s what you want. Correct/structured straining, patience, good planning, time management, motivation, nutrition, hydration, sleep etc etc etc. It’s possible.


Short of the pros, there are almost no triathletes doing sub 3hr marathons in a IM. That list is extremely short.


Yeah, as a sub-3:00 marathoner and triathlete, I know what you mean. That said, OP is looking to PR by 10-15 minutes as his stated goal and asked which TR plan will help with that. The answer is “none”. If he’s willing to compromise his run training to maintain some bike fitness and just hope for the best, then he’s got some options. But trying to do a bunch of different stuff as well as you possibly can, in this case better than he ever has, usually leads to disappointment.


This is true, and while longer, the list of triathletes who can run a 3:00 straight Mary while training is still pretty short. I doubt I could do it. Moreover, why would I want to since it would compromise some aspect of my training. It makes way more sense to focus on the quality run workouts and use the bike and swim for recovery sessions.


The three hour thing is relative. I can comfortably knock out a sub-3 hour marathon on relatively minimal run training assuming the bike training is endurance-focussed. In fact I did that a few years ago due to an injury that prevented me from running until a few weeks before the marathon. To some extent the lungs and heart don’t need to know what the legs are doing if you have a long enough history as a runner.

When you’re looking to PB however, that’s a whole different thing. That takes true dedication to the running as @nash031 said. I’m off the bike other than a few times a month at the moment to focus on getting a PB in my February ‘19 marathon. I use an adapted version of the Jack Daniels’ method.

I have every confidence in TR’s bike plans, but for an open marathon I’d probably opt for one of the well-known author’s plans, or a variant of one.

One of the hardest parts of marathon training for me is the knowledge that my bike power is almost certainly declining - in fact I’ve noticed my leg muscles becoming visibly leaner. I do commute between 10 - 25k five times a week, which may go some small way to maintaining bike fitness.


what’s your PB in the open marathon? also, whats your bike power/weight?

I seem to have the opposite results as you. I’ve been a running from when I was in high school and some college, and got back into it again about 2 years ago. this year is the most ive run in 20 years though… im at around 1300 miles so far. I would be ecstatic if. I hit 2:50, but sub 3:00 should be in the bag and would walk away happy with a BQ.

I haven’t biked in about 5 months where I was at around 300w FTP, and a 4.0w/kg. I would think with a week or two of spinning I could come close again. Ive got a month to get warmed up before I begin the build toward Leadville so hopefully all this running helps :stuck_out_tongue:


My marathon best is 2:42; I’m looking to break 2:40 next year.
I’ve been running for almost 20 years - did my first sub-3 back in 2002.
My biking came later, when I started triathlons about 7 years ago. My FTP `PB is 275 in spring this year, which put me at about 4.5W/kg. It’s currently set at 260W for when I do recovery rides.