What is a realisitic improvement in time?

by Michael
(Antioch, CA)

How much is it possible to improve :

"Hello Marius,

Thank you again for your guidance. I followed the 4:30 plan as prescribed and finished my first marathon in March with a time of 4:29:43. I am now in Week 8 of the 3:00 plan with the hope of completing my second marathon in December with a time of 3:45 or under. That is almost a 17% improvement in time over my first marathon My question is: Is a 17% improvement in time realistic, or for that matter, safe? I heard that 6% to 10% is more realistic and safe. Your thoughts?


Answer: Hi Michael and thanks for your question.

It is (almost) impossible to predict how much improvement is possible as a runner, especially if you are not an experienced one.

But in either way, I would be VERY careful to time the goal marathon time according to the half marathon planned in week 11 of the schedule. In addition to that, you will need a 5k and 10k, in the planned weeks that somewhat correlates to at least a sub 4:00, to have a realistic chance of moving down further, towards a 3:45 at the end of the schedule.

These are just general ideas for you. If you are fairly new to running and have some talent, improvement can be quite rapid - but most runners will need some more time for such a substantial improvement of 45 minutes.

I wish you all the best,

kind regards,

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