my boston training plan

can you believe it’s almost here?  i am actually going to start my training plan for THE BOSTON MARATHON.


it’s been a long time coming and i can’t believe it’s really here now.

as you can imagine, i have thought A LOT about this race and how i want to tackle it.  for a very long time i said i would not “race” boston.  i saw too many people cross the finish line disappointed for not reaching their goal or for having a bad race and there is no way i want to cross that finish line feeling anything but absolute elation that i was crossing it.

Boston 2010 004

but things have changed and i have grown a lot as a runner this year.  i know myself well enough now and feel that i am a strong enough runner that i will be happy crossing that finish line no matter what happens.  nothing will take away from the fact that i am there and i am pretty good at taking in my surroundings while i am out there as well. 

i also know that i am going to train my butt off for this race and if i gave it anything less than my best i would be cheating myself.  why would i train really hard for it and then just go to cruise?   

i am going to give this training cycle my full dedication, hopefully it will be my best round of training and i am going to go to the start line of the boston marathon in the best shape i have been in. 

then the race will be the race and all i can ask from myself is to give it my best.  

so what training plan am i using?

after training for eight marathons and using a new plan for my last one, i have started to figure out what works well for me and what doesn’t.  i was really considering going back to a pfitz plan and i played around with his schedules for a while.  then i considered tweaking up the BAA plan i just used.  then i took a blank template and just started typing and created my own plan of everything i wanted to have in it.  it has bits and pieces of a few different plans and is going to be very similar to when i was training for big sur marathon, but just with more focus and intensity.   

speedwork – i am going back to the track.  i am finding that fire i had at the beginning of this year and i am going to try my best to go with a group again.  running with a group really helped me and i know it’s the best way to get my speedwork in.  i am pretty much going to follow the BAA advanced schedule for their track workouts or see what the group is doing that i go with.  i know this helped me get faster last spring.

tempo/lactate threshold – i missed these a lot in my last cycle.  i did a lot of “marathon tempo” but i do think there is a big benefit of training at threshold level/half marathon pace.  i always felt faster and like i got more out of these workouts when i was on the pfitz training plans.  i have these in my plan two weeks on, one week off, building in the number of tempo miles as i get further into the schedule.

marathon pace – although i really liked the constant marathon pace workouts i did for CIM, i think longer ones would be better for me.  every 3rd week i took out a tempo run and replaced it with a longer (10 mile) marathon pace run.  i will also include marathon pace in various long runs. 

medium long – i love these runs.  i call them my happy pace runs where i can just go run for a long time and not have to worry about much.  i am going to be doing one of these most every week.

easy runs – i have two of these a week at different distances, usually my shorter runs for the week. 

long runs – the base to any marathon training plan.  i plan to run at least 3 20 milers and a number of long runs with “fast finishes” where i get down to marathon pace or faster for the last few miles of my long run. 

routes – i have been coming up with routes to train on for the past year and i have talked to some members of the team i train with and they have some great boston simulator long runs.  i am definitely going to run a lot of my long runs practicing on lots of downhill at the beginning with rolling hills towards the end.

(edited to add hills! how could i forget one of the most important parts of boston training? i forget to add them in the midst of this monster post, thank you friends for the reminder)
hills – i have many hilly routes planned plus i am going to add short hill sprints/repeats to the end of runs and use hills for some of my speedwork/tempo runs as well.  boston is hilly and i have big sur soon after it as well so hills will be my new best friend.

mileage – although i hit 70 miles per week for CIM, i don’t think i am going to go that high this time.  i really like the way i feel in the low 60s and i don’t feel like i am struggling to get miles in.  that week of 70 i felt like i was running the miles just to run them a couple times.  i feel like i get the most and feel the best in the 60s.  i have included a couple cut back weeks after 3 weeks of building also.

strength/core – i know i say this every cycle but i am determined to get some strength/core work in every single week.  i am using my time wisely right now to try to get into a routine and going to use my friends as resources to get myself on a program for it.  i will definitely be doing another post focused on this and how i plan on making it happen.

length – at first i thought i should just do a 12 week program with base building before it depending on how i felt after CIM, but i really like 16 week plans and i am feeling good right now.  Pretty much when i do a 12 week plan it has 4 weeks of base building before it which is 16 weeks anyway, so i just built it all in together. 

so 16 weeks (starting next monday), starting off with mostly easy runs since i am kind of still in recovery mode (the speedwork will start in early january), peaking at ~65 miles, with lots of fun stuff in the middle. 

as always no plan is set in stone and as i get into it i may tweak things around, but for now i am very happy with how it looks.  i have so many resources and so many people to train with, i am getting really excited!  i am planning on a weekly recap post like i did for CIM so it’s easy for me to follow, i can talk about specific details and look back on it easily.

if it goes half as fast as my past training cycles the marathon will be here tomorrow, but i want to make sure to try and slow down, to soak up this cycle and to really enjoy it.  i am going to be working hard but i am going to have a lot of fun too.  this is my favorite time to train and typically when i am running my fastest, so hopefully i can capitalize on that and really knock out a great cycle of training. 

bring on boston!

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30 Responses to my boston training plan

  1. Mel -Tall Mom on the Run December 21, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    SUPER!!! I think I am going take it easy and run Boston for fun..So fun that you are developing your own plan :) See you in April

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Petraruns December 21, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    How exciting! And I like your logic about racing it – and I agree.

    Nice plan as well – good for you for working out what works for you.

  3. December 21, 2010 at 9:48 am #


    Can't wait to hit the trails with you for our long runs!

  4. marathonmaiden December 21, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    i think you have such a good head on your shoulders! love the plan. you were able to articulate my feelings on it. i still haven't put together a plan but i'm only doing a 12 week one so i have a little more time to muse ;)

  5. Bethany + Ryan December 21, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Awesome! I admire your organization! Can't wait to meet you!

  6. ShutUpandRun December 21, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Sounds like you've got a great plan in mind. You are experienced enough now to know what works for you!! I'd love to see it once you get it all down on paper.

  7. Amber (Girl with the red hair) December 21, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    I'm so excited to follow your training! You are my running idol :D

  8. kilax December 21, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Yay! I am so excited for you! I can't wait to see all the details of your plan and follow your progress!

  9. Running and living December 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Some may disagree, but to me the first few miles do not seem downhill. OK, the first one is, but after that it is all hills, even though the elevation decreases overall. I would really do a lot of hill repeats and also spend time learning how to run hills – short and quick stride up, longer stride down. Also, I think adding all out 10sec hill sprints at the end of the easy runs would be helpful. I am excited for you:)

  10. Amanda@runninghood December 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Wow, you sound so experienced. This was so nice to read. I don't remember what i did for Boston but for my next marathon I'd like to try Pfitz. Did you like using Pfitz? Pros and cons? nice to find your blog! Hope to read more.

  11. Nicole December 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I am SO SO excited for you & I cant wait to follow you on your Boston Journey! I believe you have grown as a runner and will enjoy boston either way! Go get em sister! I'll be cheering you on along the way! <3

  12. Jill December 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    I would add HILLS at the end of many tempo runs, and long hill repeats – those Newton Hills, followed by Heart Break, are tough.

    You're going to have a blast no matter how it unfolds. I raced it hard once and ran it relaxed once and I have to say, the racing time was so much rewarding!

    Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  13. Karen (Toronto Girl West) December 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! Boston!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm super excited for you Aron! You worked long and hard for your BQ. Relish every moment in the lead up to the big day!

  14. endlessrunner December 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Congrats on finally starting to train for Boston! Jill is right, be sure not to neglect hill work outs! The hills of Newton are brutal if you're not prepared for it. I'm looking forward to reading about your training and hopefully meeting you in my hometown!! :)

  15. Marlene December 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    It sounds like you have this figured out! Can't wait to follow your training, as always! :)

  16. Marlene December 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    It sounds like you have this figured out! Can't wait to follow your training, as always! :)

  17. Marlene December 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    It sounds like you have this figured out! Can't wait to follow your training, as always! :)

  18. Nelly December 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    Sounds like you have a great plan! I've never ran Boston (and likely will never have the opportunity to, haha), but the series of hills starting at mile 16 to 21 (150 feet elevation climb) seem to look almost like the hills in SF marathon in Golden Gate Park in mile 15-18 (long gradual uphills). I bet if your body is not prepared for them they could hurt a lot. Like people have been saying, I would try to run some hills at the end of a 16 mile run or something to try to simulate the feeling.

    From mile 1-16 the race almost looks flat or downhill with only smooth hills.

  19. lindsay December 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    it also helps that you have pretty mild weather to train through. no extreme cold. ok ok, to you it's cold but to the rest of us, 30's would be awesome ;)

    you will rock it!

    (do i need to post my comment 3 times like marlene or can i just do it once and say "x3"?) :)

  20. angryrunner December 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    Sounds like you've got your bases covered. I've always liked creating my own plans; much easier to tweak that way.

    I'll also echo what someone else said above and take it a bit further: not only is the first half not downhill (other than the steep initial descent), I find it harder than than the second half. The first half rolls JUST enough to be annoying…and enough that a lot of people don't realize how easy it is to start beating your quads senseless early on. The second half of the course has always seemed faster to me because there is SOOO much downhill once you get past the Newton hills. As long as you've still got umph in your legs at mile 21? You're golden. (I think of Boston as a 13ish miles of warm up to 9 miles of technical running…followed by a race to the finish. ;p)

    So yes…those downhill workouts will be key. And it looks like you're getting those quads nice and ready…they'll thank you at the finish :)

  21. Rachel December 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    your plan sounds like it will be perfectly suited to your goals and seems very well-balanced. i'm so excited for you to start along this journey toward something you worked so hard for : ) looking forward to following along!

  22. December 22, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    good luck with your training, cant wait for boston!

  23. Tara December 22, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    very excited to get to follow you as you train for hte big race!!! :) Sounds like a great plan and I know you will do awesome as always!

  24. RunningLaur December 22, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    The whole plan sounds perfect! Can't wait to see how you demolish it each and every week!

  25. Jeri December 23, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Sounds like you figured out something that should work just perfect for you. That's the main thing I'm envious about of experienced marathons: I have no clue what works and doesn't…. haha. It's all trial and error really….

    Super excited for you to start up and to follow your training for BAHSTAN. ;)


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