How to build up from a very poor condition to a sub 3.00 marathon in 12 months?

by Per Røhnebæk
(Norway, Brumunddal)

How to build a plan from poor condition to sub 3:00 :

"Dear Marius,

Intro before question
4 months ago I smoked 20 a day (habit the last 25 years), ate poorly and had not been training for 20 years. Then I challenged my sister, who got paralyzed in January (after a brain surgery gone wrong - she has started her slow recovery!), that if she could complete 8 km in less than 3 hours, I would complete my first marathon sub 3.00. So my sister does not train very hard by herself, I should endure the same demanding training was my thought.

The situation now is that my sister manages to walk 1 km per hour with crutches, and I have started forefoot running slowly (to avoid injury), and run 4 times a week. I manage to run 3000m in 11m30s, and do 2 intervals and 2 long runs (one above 10 km and one above 15) weekly.

The question:
We'll have decided to do our "big showdown" in Istanbul 17th November 2013. I plan to prepare myself by doing one marathon in March/April 2013 and one end of August 2013.
As my target for my third marathon is sub 3.00, which plan(s) should I follow when I have approx. 330 days to prepare?
I have been looking at the 3.30 plan, and it seems not to be "hard" enough as my goal almost one year from now is so demanding.
What is best - what should I do:
1) Do sub 3.30, pause, then sub 3.15, pause then finally sub 3.00? or
2) Do sub 3.00 100 days plan X 3? or
3) Build a plan from scratch, based on the principles you communicate here?

In advance, thank you for your help.

Best regards


Answer: Hi Per and thanks for your question.

I would probably do alternative 3) in your case : build the plan from scratch - using the sessions and principles of the 100 day plan - but this can be done quite easily : you simply take away the very longest and hardest marathon specific sessions of the plan (especially those hardest ones + longest ones from week 6-7 to week 10-11) and you'll be ready to go !

Then 100-120 days away from the marathon you start using the specific plan you intend to go by :)

I wish you all the best,

kind regards,

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