What is your full marathon "sub 4" training menu and monthly mileage?


What is sub 4 for a full marathon?

How difficult is it?

How can I achieve it?

We'll help you solve these problems.


Contents of this article

  • What is sub 4 for a full marathon?
  • What kind of person aims for sub 4?
  • How to train
  • How to achieve it

Many people would like to run a full marathon at least once in their lives.

At a large scale full marathon event, traffic regulations are enforced and the entire city has a festival-like atmosphere.


You can brag to your family and friends just by finishing a full marathon.

Sub 4 in a full marathon will be explained in detail later in this article.

I will explain it in order.

What is Sub 4?

In marathon running, "sub xxx" means to complete a full marathon within fat hours.

Therefore, sub 4 means to complete a full marathon within 4 hours.

The next goal for those who have achieved sub 4 is to complete a sub 3:30 marathon within 3 hours and a half, and sub 3 is to complete a sub 3 marathon within 3 hours.

How great is sub 4?

You know what sub 4 means, but you may not actually know how great it is.

This is a chart of the distribution of times for the Tokyo Marathon, one of the largest marathons in Japan.

As you can see, the top 30% of male finishers and the top 16% of female finishers complete a full marathon in less than 4 hours.

Finishing a full marathon in less than 4 hours is known as sub 4, and is considered a medal of honor for a full-fledged runner.

It is a major barrier that changes you from a beginner runner to an intermediate runner, and is difficult to achieve without a lot of practice.

It is no exaggeration to say that many people who start running marathons are training for the sub 4 goal.


What is a sub 4 pace?

To achieve sub 4, you need to be aware of pacing, not just running blindly.


It is to run at a constant pace, with the pace in the first half being the same as the pace in the second half. This is the ideal way to run because there are no ups and downs in pace.

Also, because you are always running at a constant pace, there is less strain on your legs. To achieve sub 4 in a full marathon, the required pace is 5 : 40 / km.

I will also include the lap and passing times when you run out at 5 : 40 / km for reference.

  Pace Lap  Transit time
5 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 0:28:20
10 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 0:56:40
15 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 1:25:00
20 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 1:53:20
Half 5:40 / km   1:59:33
25 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 2:21:40
30 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 2:50:00
35 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 3:18:20
40 km 5:40 / km 0:28:20 3:46:40
Full 5:40 / km 0:12:26 3:59:06

Thus, if you can run the full marathon in 5:40 / km, your time will be 3:59:06, which is an excellent sub 4 achievement.

However, if you are a full marathon beginner, it is difficult to run at a constant pace. Especially at the 30km mark, it is common for the legs to stop moving.

Therefore, we have written the pacing in this article. If you would like to know the detailed pacing, please click here.

Pacing to complete a full marathon in sub 4 (4 hours).

Who is aiming for sub 4?

It is someone who has achieved sub 4:30 and is looking for their next goal or someone who exercises regularly and is confident in their fitness.

For those who do not exercise regularly, it is difficult to achieve.

If this is your first marathon, your first goal should be to finish the race.

What is the monthly mileage required for sub 4?

The monthly mileage required for sub 4 is generally 120-150 km. If you can afford to run more than 150km per month, you will have a much better chance of achieving your goal.

It may be difficult for some people to imagine running 150 km per month.

Running 150 km per month means running 37.5 km per week. If you run three times a week, you will need to run 13 km each time, and if you run four times a week, you will need to run 10 km each time.

It is not enough to just run in the dark; what is important is quality rather than quantity. Next, we will explain the training methods.

Training for sub 4

Most people aiming for sub-4 are those who have already achieved sub-4.5 and are looking for their next goal, or those who exercise regularly and are confident in their fitness.

For those who do not exercise on a regular basis, it is difficult to achieve. However, with continued proper training, it can be done.

Here are the strengthening items for achieving sub 4.

Strengthening items to achieve sub 4

  1.  Stamina
  2.    Speed Endurance
  3.    Speed


In order to achieve sub 4, you must not lack even one of these.

If you are a marathon beginner and suffer from a lack of stamina after 30 km, it is important to be conscious of strengthening your weak areas by doing more stamina practice.

Also, those who have stamina but missed sub 4 due to lack of speed should do more speed practice.

Many people may be able to run a half marathon at sub 4 pace, but may not have the stamina for a full marathon. Many beginner runners slow down and walk after 30 km.

The number one reason for this is lack of stamina and lack of familiarity with long distances. Therefore, by running long distances and building up stamina beforehand, you can aim for sub 4.


120-180 minutes LSD (6:00 / km to 6:30 / km)

A full marathon must be run over a distance of 42.195 km at a time. For this reason, you need to get used to the distance. Running the distance slowly over a long period of time is called LSD (Long Slow Distance).

A distance of 20-30 km is recommended. Running for at least 90 minutes will give you the best results.

LSD will develop capillaries throughout the body and allow the body to take in more oxygen. This is good news for those who have difficulty running long distances. This LSD can also be achieved by walking. Therefore, even beginners can continue this training right away without difficulty.

However, because it is a time-consuming workout, it is more effective if you do it once a week or so on your days off from school or work, rather than every day.

To learn more about sub-4 training and bricks, click here.


Who can achieve sub 4?

In order to achieve sub 4

  1. Can run 42.195 km without difficulty

  2. Can run 5/40 km at a comfortable pace

  3. Can run more than 150 km/month

  4. Able to run at least 3 times a week

  5. Be in good shape for the event

If you meet these requirements, you will have a good chance of achieving sub 4.

To do so, you need to work hard. Runners who skip practice will not be able to achieve sub 4.

Mental control over the race is also important. It is no good if you are in a hurry at the beginning and run too fast, only to lose strength in the second half of the race. For this reason, it is necessary to prepare a pacing plan for the race well in advance.

If you prepare well for the marathon as described above, you will be able to achieve a sub 4 marathon.


This article included the following:


・ What is sub 4?

・ How great is it?

・ What is the pace to achieve sub-4?

・ What kind of person goes for sub-4?

・ What is the monthly mileage?

・ What kind of training is needed?

・ Who can achieve it?

By working towards sub 4, you will definitely achieve it someday.

Please train accordingly and look forward to the competition!


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