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Running a Sub 3 Hour Marathon with a Go Pro

By January 2, 2015April 14th, 202217 Comments

Happy New Year!! I wanted to start the new year by sharing some marathon running tips. I brought a little Go Pro camera on my sub 3 hour marathon to discuss the marathon racing process. Many details are being discussed in this video, such as pacing strategies, watch settings, hydration, nutrition, race gear, mindsets, battling tough spots, and much more.

The video may be a bit shaky at points with some wind in the microphone. Below the video is a transcript of the video. All the run details can also be found on my Strava. Hope these tips can help you improve your next marathon!

Video 0:00: Hello I’m Floris Gierman, here in Newport Beach, California. I’m about to run a solo sub 3 hour marathon and I’m bringing a little Go Pro to share a few marathon running tips along the way. Hope you’ll learn a few things.

Today I’ll try to run a 2:57 marathon. That’s a 6:45 min / mile pace or 4:12 min / km pace. I’m trying to have 3 minutes extra there just in case the course is a bit longer when you try to run a marathon, or if you have to zigzag in between people. Its also nice if there is a little room for error in case you get it really tough at the end. Let’s get started here!

Video 0:50: I started my run this morning at 7am. I woke up at 5.30am, that gave me 90 minutes to eat some breakfast, get ready, put all my gear on and have a proper warm up.

Last night I ate a regular dinner of what I normally eat. I wouldn’t try anything different on race day or the day before. I ate a normal dinner with veggies and a steak. It works well for me, I trained with that, and it works good. This morning I just ate 3 baked eggs, with a banana and some water. That’s my magic formula. Try to see what works for you and eat that before your race.

Video 1:46: First mile in 6 minutes 43 seconds, that’s about right on target. A lot of people start very fast, especially at the beginning of the race. They see other people start fast. They have all their race excitement kick in, probably have done some sort of taper so you’re really hungry to run. Start slow! If you shave 1 minute off at the beginning, it might cost you 5 minutes later on if you start cramping.

Running a marathon with Salomon hydration water pack, floris gierman, extramilest

Running with a Salomon hydration water pack

Video 0:00: I’m running with a water pack. For any marathon race, I always recommend drinking at the aid stations. A water pack is very heavy and I wouldn’t recommend it. But I’m running solo, so it’s the best option. AIRPLANE!!

You might want to practice with some water stations because for a lot of runners it’s new. Try to grab a water without choking. Maybe set up a little table in your front yard, get some weird looks from your neighbors, wondering what the hell you’re doing. But yeh give it a go.

I see a lot of runners wearing very warm clothes. I like wearing not too many warm clothes, I’m rather cool at the beginning, kind of cold even. So later on in the race when I’m properly warmed up, I do not overheat.

This morning it was 44 fahrenheit when I started, that’s 4 degrees Celsius, so that’s pretty cold. So I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt and later I can roll up the sleeves, I’m wearing shorts as well.

Garmin 310 XT gps watch with heart rate monitor, floris gierman extramilest

Garmin 310 XT running watch, connected to heart rate monitor

Video 3:34: The 4 settings I have up on my watch display are overall time, overall distance, HR and average pace per mile.

3rd mile in 6 minutes 46 seconds. Pace per mile is a great function, it gives you a great idea how you break down each of your miles. You can really tell how you’re on schedule. If you’re trying to run somewhat of an ever split, like right now I’m pretty close in range of my target goal of 2:57, because I’ve run 3 miles around 6:45. Now I just have to keep that going for another 23 miles :)

GU gels, plain flavor for marathon nutrition

GU energy plain gels, my favorite marathon nutrition

Another great watch setting I’d like to use is the time alert, that was the time alert right there. That way I can tell myself, every 25 minutes I should be taking a gel. When the alarm goes of, it reminds you. 

Video 3:34: When there are hills on the course, I try to go not too fast up the hills, so you keep your heart rate under control and not burn too much energy up the hills. When you go down, you can really let go and make up for some of that time. Right now I ran about 7 min / mile up hill and I can run 6:30 min / mile down hill, so use those hills to your advantage.

I have my virtual pacer set to 6:45 min / miles. If I now click here, I can see I’m 6 seconds ahead of my virtual pacer. So especially for further on in the race, you can see if you’re still on goal or not, so it’s a very handy feature.

SaltStick Electrolyte Salt Capsules from REI or Amazon to limit cramping

SaltStick electrolyte salt capsules to limit risk of cramping

Every 50 minutes or every hour I take a salt and electrolyte pill, in my mind this helps me against cramping later in the race.

Video 5:57: I think marathons can be split up in 3 parts. The first part is mile 1 to 13, this is really the part where you have to hold back, you’re very excited to race, but just hold back for a bit. Mile 13 to mile 20, is really that getting to work part, focus on your nutrition, focus on your pace and your form. Mile 20 to mile 26 is where the race really starts. Up to mile 20 is really foreplay, then mile 20 and on is where it’s getting to work. It’s the part where people either fall apart, or where people can run through and run a good race. This last part of the marathon is tricky to train and for many runners this is a pretty unknown territory.

Video 5:57: I just passed the half way point in 1:28:26, 4 seconds ahead of schedule. The half way point is always good to give you an idea of where you are, how you’re doing and what you need to be doing the second half. I’m on schedule so we’re going to keep it going.

In a race, don’t try anything you haven’t tried in training. So don’t try any new gear, no new shirts, new shoes, new belt pack or whatever, run what you trained with, so you don’t get any surprises.

Video 7:20: I just finished mile 18 in 6 minutes 44, this is the part where your mind start the play tricks. To run a marathon you have to be strong physically and mentally. Mentally I think is pretty underestimated. When things get tough, I usually start talking to myself and focus on the little things. Run the next mile really good, run to the next aid station and you’ll be fine. Or just little pep talk, like “you’re doing good, come on, you got this!” Anyways, it’s going well, 6:44 last split, let’s see how it goes.

Video 8:00: Mile 20 in 6:47. One thing to accept in advance when you run a marathon is that you are going to hit tough spots. At some part your mind is going to start playing tricks. You might start to feel some aching, just take it step by step. Don’t think about the long distance you still have to run. Just think about the next 500 meters or ½ mile and you’re totally going to work through it.

Mile 22 in 6:46, still on schedule for a 2:57 marathon so all good. This is mile 22, the part that is make it or break it. If you feel shit, just smile, laugh, slap a high 5 to a volunteer or someone in the audience, you’ll instantly feel better. So give it a go, smile and keep going!

Mile 24 in 6:45, this is the part of the race where you have to dig deep, this is where you have to go into those reserves and really go for it. 2 miles to go and a little bit.

Mile 26 in 6:46, almost there, so I’m just going to go for it now.

Video 9:20: Yaaaaa, timer stopped, so that was a marathon in 2:56:59, about 1 second off my goal, but I’ll take it!

Recovering from my sub 3 hour marathon in the Back Back, Floris Gierman

Marathon recovery in an ice cold Back Bay, feels so good!

After my races within 30 minutes I try to eat and drink. I also enjoy taking an ice bath. I know there is no scientific evidence to show really that ice baths help speed up the recovery process, but I enjoy ice baths, so that’s why I’m going to jump into the cold water in a second here. It’s going to be a cold one, AHHHHH. Well, there we have it.

Video 10:16: Marathons can be pretty tough, but at the end of the day it’s all about having fun out there. It’s totally normal to hit some tough spots, everyone has that, it’s just the mind game to get over that. As I said earlier, break the race up in little chunks and take it piece by piece. The most important part is to have fun out there. You trained really hard, believe in your training! Go out there and do it. It’s totally normal that things start messing with your mind, just stay calm and go out there and have a good time, enjoy the journey.

Hope you guys enjoyed this video. Check out my blog flotography.com for more videos and articles. I’ll be posting the Strava details of this run below. Happy 2015, later!!

——— end of video transcript ———

A lot of the advice in this video is from trial and error and from my running friends at the Coyotes, especially coaches Jimmy and Kate. If you have any additional marathon racing tips that work well for you or if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

You might also enjoy this article “How I trained to run a sub 3 hour marathon


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  • huphtur says:

    Where’s the Strava data of the swim?

  • chris wilson says:

    Good suggestions re getting over tough spots, regular salt intake, regular nutrition and hydration, not starting off too fast, finish with cold bath, etc.

    We like fancy English sea salt in little plastic bags, with a bit of potassium mixed in, for electrolyte boosts.

    We like a couple aspirin to start, plus a caffeine pill after say 19 miles. Hat with a zipper pocket is handy for meds. We bring along some Tums in case the stomach gets sour.

    Not so keen on 6 Gu’s or 3 eggs before the run or steak the night before – your GI system may be more resilient than most.

    Gu is 20% fructose and 80% dextrose. Might be better for the average runner to just buy dextrose (off Amazon) and take in the 500-600 race calories just from Dextrose (aka Glucose).

    Average runner might also consider eating say 2 bagels before the race versus 3 eggs – maybe easier on the GI system.

    Lunch and dinner the day before – average runner might want to shoot for 2/3s carbs, 1/6 protein, 1/6 veggies.

    Sorry to say the concern about food may seem sort of mundane, but having to stop for a bathroom break is no fun.

    Would love to have enough ability/training to say with confidence at the start of a run that today my distance will be 26.2 miles in under 3 hours.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Kelly jablonski says:

    Listen to this guy, he knows what he is doing!

  • Sanjay Dalal says:

    Another great run and great article. Your MAF HR is 150 and you ran at an average heart rate of 157 from your starve data. So i guess its okay to be 7 beats over or is that too anaerobic? Phil talks about going only 3 beats over. Whats your opinion.

  • Matt says:

    Thanks Flo, fun read.
    Weirdly, I know all this stuff but just can’t seem to execute it. 1/2s are fine but fulls are my white whale.

    Will give it another try at Ventura marathon in May

  • Flo says:

    #stravaoritdidnthappen haha, I knew there would only be 1 guy asking for the Strava swimming data. Hope you’re recovering well Apple!

  • Flo says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your tips and input. That sounds like a magic formula right there for the electrolyte boosts.

    The tums can definitely come in handy in the race if your stomach starts acting up.

    I’m not a fan of taking aspirin, because I won’t recognize my real body signals to push until my limit and not further. Many runners like eating bagels, I eat very little processed carbs (no bread, no pasta, no pizza, etc) I prefer running mostly at a low Heart Rate and use primarily stored body fat for energy vs sugars.

    The eggs for breakfast is definitely not for everyone, it works well for me since I’ve been eating that for a few years now and my body has gotten used to it.

    Have a good one out there at your next races!



  • Flo says:

    I’m trying Kelly, still learning many new things every day! Hope all is well is Vancouver! Cheers

  • Flo says:

    Hi Sanjay, glad you enjoyed this post. Almost all my training runs are based on low HR runs, however I ran this purely on pace and not on Heart Rate. This wasn’t a training run but more like a race. For races it’s totally fine going over Max Aerobic HR. I typically train in the zone of MAF and 10 beats below MAF, so for now that’s 138 – 148. Cheers!

  • Flo says:

    Hi Matt, have you tried training with a Heart Rate Monitor yet, at a low HR? Many runners train at a HR that’s too high for them, so their body uses a lot of energy. If you slow down your training pace, you’ll run at a low HR and your pace will increase over time with the same low HR. That’s what I did as well. At my first few marathons I had a hard time after mile 15, but now my HR stays low, even at a pretty fast pace, and I don’t run out of energy. Check out this article http://philmaffetone.com/180-formula and give it a go.

    Have fun with your Ventura training and race! Cheers, Flo

  • John Langton says:


    I stumbled onto your video on YouTube and loved it. I lost 100 lbs a few years ago and immediately decided I wanted to try to run a fast marathon. I’ve spent the last three years learning how to run long and fast without getting injured. After several muscle pulls I think I finally have a system that works for me. My training times have really dropped and I plan to test it out at the Hyannis Marathon in Massachusetts in three weeks.

    First goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon and then, hopefully next year some time go under 3 hours for the marathon. Your video puts a human face on that goal for me. We saw you hitting the goal pace easily in the beginning and we saw you having to dig deep in the last 6 miles. Then of course, you brought it in under 3 hours, just as you planned, just as you trained to do. It was a great power of example and you shared some really helpful advice too.

    So congrats on another marathon under 3 hours and thanks for posting the video.

  • Matt says:

    I will try to start working that aerobic end of my training a lot more! I have in past always had speed over 5 or 10k as more my primary focus, hard to break that habit.

    what’s ur next race? go longer still?

  • floris says:

    Hi John,

    Great job on losing so much weight and for running the last 3 years injury free while dropping your times! Today it looks like you were supposed to run your Hyannis Marathon in Massachusetts, but I saw it was canceled due to the bad weather, bummer!! Hope you find another race soon to try to qualify for Boston.

    The last few miles in my video definitely took a bit of digging. It was a tricky combination to talk in the camera and stay on pace, glad you found the advice helpful. If any questions come up at all, just let me know!

    Have fun with the rest of your training and upcoming races!



  • Tom says:

    Hi Floris,

    really inspirational video! I watched this before my London Marathon attempt and I tried to take some of your advice on board. I was hoping for as close to 3.00 as possible. First half bang on 1.30, but then slowly unravelled and finished in 3.15. I’ve been reading about the MAF techniques and I’m interested..

    What would you recommend I do now? spend a few months training below my aerobic maximum based on the 180 formula? I think my ideal heart rate would be 163 in that case. (I’m 22, and I’ve been training consistently for 2 years and i’ve been getting PBs).



  • floris says:

    Hi Tom, sounds like you were spot on the first half, now it’s only a matter of time and training to maintain that same pace for the second half!

    If you haven’t been injured in the past 2 years, 163 sounds like the right HR for you. I’d recommend improving your aerobic base. Indeed take 2 – 3 months to train aerobic only. Do monthly MAF tests to measure your progress. Once progress starts to become less, start adding in 1 or 2 intervals a week for 3 – 4 weeks, then back to aerobic only. Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, just let me know.


  • Rodrigo says:

    Thanks for the video, I found it very useful! I like the way that you frame yourself into the picture. Are you using any specific gopro accessory or just holding it in your hand?

  • Flo says:

    Haha, thanks! Wish I had a Go Pro stick, my arm was getting tired after a while! Glad you like the video Rodrigo! Cheers

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