Congrats on taking time out of your day to run! Let us help you get through this marathon and the rest of your running goals separately. whether that’s with a personalised sub-4-hour marathon training plan, a community of runners to keep you motivated or some tips, tricks or just some fun training


One of the first things we would recommend after booking a marathon is getting a training plan. There are many available, and it all depends on what kinds of goals you have. Whether you “re looking for an entry-level plan, or an experienced marathon runner, there will be something for you.” 

How to Find Your Target Time?

There are many different ways to calculate what time you want to go for a marathon, but we’ve listed some of the easiest methods below.

  1. Use a marathon predictor

One way to estimate your marathon time is by using an online marathon time predictor. Most of these use a formula created in 1977, but it’s been victorious over the decades and is still used as the basis for most calculations. 

If you’re an undercover maths guru like Peter himself and fancy playing around with the formula it:

T2 = T1 x (D2/D1) 1.06

Where D1 is the distance of a race/time trial you’ve already run, T1 is the time of the distance you’ve already run, D2 is the distance you want to predict a time for, and T2 is the calculated time for that distance.

If you’re not a fan of Excel spreadsheets and would instead use an online calculator – there are some great web-based ones available.

Here’s a slightly more technical formula for calculating your race time from the original Five Thirty-Eight articles. It employs race times and weekly mileage to provide a more up-to-date estimate of when you’ll finish.

But what are the issues with using a race calculator?

  • Marathon race predictors think that you’re going to be following a good marathon training plan. Obviously, if you download a program to run under 3 hours but don’t do any of the training, even if you run a 35-minute 10km a few years ago.   
  • As with any algorithm, there will be exceptions on either side of the 3.5-minute bracket and 4-hour bucket. The formula isn’t very accurate at times outside those ranges, but it provides a good indication of what might be happening in the middle key spaces of under 3.5 minutes and over 4 hours. 
  • Some people are natural runners who excel at the marathon, while some end up as sprinters who can’t even make it across the finish line of a 5km race. It’s all about geography and what kind of training you want. 

We highly recommend checking out the Race Calculators page before starting your marathon training (mainly because of the potential pitfalls above).

2. It is best to start by setting your sights on a shorter distance, like a 5km or 10km race. 

This way, you can build up your endurance and speed gradually.

We always tell people looking for a beginner marathon training plan to focus on a shorter distance first and use that as part of their plan. If you’re trying to learn how to run a sub-4 mile marathon and have yet to figure out your gait, heart rate and training plan for shorter distances, downloading an entire 12-week sub-4 hour marathon training plan is unlikely to help you.

Once you’ve started your training, you’ll be able to sense the comfortable pace. Check the calculators in your training plan and compare them to what feels best

3. Run with a friend

Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea, so only use this as advice.

If you don’t feel like a running community near you, then we recommend connecting with friends who run. Also, the Coopah community is active all over the country. If you download our app, you’ll be put into a group of people who are just starting out and live in your area.

The best way to predict a marathon time is by talking to a friend who has already run one or similar. They’ll know what the challenges will be and should be able to give you a realistic idea of what you can achieve. 

4. Start a training plan

We always say that a marathon time is never fixed. The specific time you’ll have in mind should be built around your training schedule, which might change midway through. You may even find yourself getting faster as you train, so switching from a slower goal to a quicker one makes more sense.

When you’ve a goal in mind, start with a beginner marathon training plan and then adjust the destination once you start getting the hang of the workout. This may be true, but if you find your Tempo Runs at a race pace too easy, it may be time to switch to a different training plan. They’ve tailored for sub-4-hour marathons and sub-3 hours, respectively. People’s schedules are often different and don’t follow a 3 or 4-hour cycle. Since training can seem like a daunting task. Sometimes you might not feel comfortable with some of the shorter sessions we’ve designed, but it doesn’t mean you should jump straight up to 4 hours on those shorter runs. You could try alternate training plans if they seem difficult.

Our marathon training programs allow you to adjust your workouts depending on how quickly you want to finish. So if you’re feeling lazy and need some shorter sessions, just edit the plan for a sub-3-hour time frame!