If you want to run a 2 hour 20 marathon pace you will need to progress at 5:21 minutes per mile or 3:19 minutes per kilometer to finish in at just under 2 hour 20 minutes.
No marathon is ever easy and it’s important to respect the distance, putting in the hours of hard training to get yourself in the best race condition. Every second will count, so know your pacing, and this can be the difference between getting a sub-2:20 finish when crossing the line.
We’ve included the splits below in both miles and kilometers as we know most runners have a preference even if the race markers will usually be in miles counting up to that magical 26.2 mile finish distance.
Pacing in miles
Pacing in km
Is 2 hour 20 minutes a good time for a marathon?
Based on the table below sourced from Asics finishing in under 3 hours would put you in the top 4% of male runners and top 1% of female runners.
|Less than 3 hours||4%||1%|
|Less than 3 h 30 min||18%||5%|
|Less than 4 hours||43%||21%|
|Less than 4 h 30 min||64%||43%|
|Less than 5 hours||81%||65%|
|Less than 6 hours||97%||91%|
Just completing a marathon is a great achievement and you will be part of the 0.01% of the global population who have finished a marathon this year. What an achievement to celebrate no matter the time it takes.
Ultimately please don’t compare yourself to other runners as your finishing times will vary depending on many factors such as fitness levels, gender, age, your race experience, as well as the type of course.
Training for a 2 hour 20 marathon
You will have to be dedicated and consistent in your training if you want to achieve this time, ensuring you complete your weekly sessions of tempo runs, speed runs and long runs, with the typical marathon training build up of around 12 weeks.
As you will be on for feet for a long time during these long runs, building up endurance, both physical and mental, will be key.
Ultimately your long training runs will help you dictate what your estimated finish time will be so check out the pacing charts to see where your half marathon and 20 mile runs aline with a predicted full marathon finish time.
Tips for completing a marathon
Running a marathon is never easy and if you’re aiming for a time like sub 2 hour 20 minutes then you may encounter some mental challenges as you aim to cross that finish line, especially after spending just over two hours on your feet.
We’ve written ‘10 tips to help you complete a marathon‘ with advice and tips for the mental challenge of pushing on when your brain is telling you to stop.
What to eat before a long run
On your long training runs and on your actual marathon you will want to ensure you’re fueled correctly to ensure your glycogen stores are topped up. If you’re not fueled correctly before you head out then you’re asking for trouble and risk ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking’. Read what to eat here.
Tips for pacing London Marathon
London Marathon is arguably the biggest marathon in the world and so we’ve put together our tips and advice for it and how on-the-day elements can affect your pacing such as the weather, course elevation, and in the case of the London Marathon the sheer number of people taking part.