Marathon Training for Boston

The Boston Marathon is on Patriots day which is April 20th. It is the oldest annual marathon in the world. It began in 1897 and is probably the most famous and prestigious marathon in the world. Every year over 30,000 runners from all around the world are shuttled to a little town called Hopkinton and run east towards downtown Boston. Most of the runners who run in this race must qualify by running a certain age time standard. For example, I had to run under 3 hours and 5 minutes to qualify. In this blog I want to share what a typical training week looks like for me.

Today is Monday and I started my workout at 5a.m. in the gym doing leg strengthening exercises. I did at least 7 to 8 different leg exercises that targeted my quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. This includes lunges, squats, calf raises, and various other jumps or exercises on specific leg machines. I also did a few different core and ab exercises.

For my run I began with a 5 mile warm up. I then stretched out a bit and then went into 1 mile repeats at about 10-15 seconds faster than my goal marathon race pace. I did 7 of these. I rested about 3 minutes between sets. Next, I ran a 3 mile run at at the same pace. Yes, that last set was the hardest because it was 3 miles strung together. I then ended with a 2 mile cool down run for a total of 17 miles for my morning workout. I will go out later today and run six miles easy. The total for Monday will be 23 miles. This is considered a hard day for me.

Tuesday is a recovery day. I will do a 15 mile run at an easy pace. I run over 2 hours on this day. I keep my heart rate down while just working on my cardio. I am a believer that marathon runners should get at least one to two 2 hour runs in a week. I will also lift weight in the gym but focus primarily on the upper body and arms.

Wednesday morning is leg and core day again in the gym. I will also do a hill circuit workout that spans about 14 miles. Boston is a hilly course. It is the down hills that will trash everyone’s quads. I usually do both uphill work and downhill work to prepare my legs for Boston. For my evening run I will go out and do another hill workout. It usually consists of hill repeats up and down. I will run a total of about 6 miles. The grand total is about 20 miles on Wednesday

Thursday is an easy day. My legs are usually tired and sore because of Monday and Wednesdays workouts. I will run an easy 12 on Thursday. Again, the focus is to keep the heart rate down for me and to give my legs time to recover for Friday. I will lift upper body and arms at the gym.

Friday is my long run day. I will run 22 miles this Friday at a very steady pace (not slow but not close to race pace either). I will probably run about a minute slower per mile than race pace but my last few miles will be faster just to teach my body to go harder at the end. I will do some core work on this day.

Saturday is an easy 10 miles but I will throw in some surges or strides here and there to just elevate the heart rate a bit and to get my legs moving after having been through a long run day. Sunday is another easy day for me and I will finish off the week with 8 miles. The goal total for the week is 110 miles.

I have found that this mileage has been just about right for me for where I am fitness wise and for how long I have been training as a runner. Most runners probably should not attempt this high of mileage but there are runners out there who are experienced and have run many training cycles already and can handle this type of mileage or even more. Some of the professional runners will go as high as 175 miles a week! On the other hand, there are professional runners who only do around 90 miles a week as well. So, there is a very big difference in philosophy on mileage and how to train for a marathon. Remember, everyone is different so do not be surprised that there are a lot of different strategies and training plans out there. If you are wondering how much you should be running and what specific workouts would be good for you do not be afraid to reach out to a seasoned marathon runner or a coach. They can at least work with you to get the basic framework for what your weeks should look like.

Well, April will be here soon. My goals is to continue to be consistent with training and stay injury free. Getting to the start line healthy is important. Most importantly, I want to find “joy” in the process everyday and “love” the run. Whatever your big race(s) is this year, may you too find the journey rewarding!

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