Training for Boston Marathon

Only 14 weeks until Boston Marathon race day.  Each month I will review some specific weekly workouts that have been a part of our last 2 Boston marathon training programs.  You should be following a written marathon training plan to ensure you reach your goal, whether you simply want to finish your first Boston or you have specific goal time.

In week 3 of our marathon training plan, our goals are to continue weekly interval or speed training at a track or mileage marked trail.  We also want to start adding mileage to our long run. Assuming you have a base, you should complete a longer run at the end of the week (Saturday or Sunday).  For beginners I recommend a long run of 7 miles, 12 miles for more advanced runners. Your long run should be at an easy, steady pace.  These long runs will slowly increase in length each of the first 6 weeks.

You can begin your 3nd week with a rest day, but instead I recommend an easy 4-5 mile run followed by some cross-fit exercises to build strength.  Alternatively, you can complete a 30 minute cross-fit workout followed by an easy 2-3 mile run.  I like to incorporate 1-2 days of cross-fit/week in my marathon training.  This keeps me fresh and helps to build strength.  If you feel tired, then skip the 2nd cross-fit workout and simply take the day off.

On your interval day (typically Tuesdays), I recommend starting the workout with a mile warm-up, followed by 2 sets each of 100 meter strides, butt-kicks, high knees and karoke’s to the left and then right.  This will get your heart rate up, loosen your muscles and prepare your body for the workout. After your warm-up and prior to starting the intervals, complete some light stretching.  This is particularly important to prevent injury during the cold/wet winter training months.

The initial interval workout should be a set of  400m-600m-800m-600m-400m ladder.  Start with 1 set at 5k pace with 90 second recovery.  If you struggle to complete the set at an even pace, slow your pace a little and instead complete 8 x 100m strides with 15 second recovery.

Official Boston Marathon Apparel


For beginners, the rest of the week should consist of foundation runs which maintain our fitness and help recovery between intense and long running workouts.  In this 3rd week of marathon training, advanced runners should also include a 7-8 mile tempo run which includes 2 x 15 minutes in the middle of the run at marathon pace.  These tempo runs will help to build your endurance by teaching your body to run at race pace.  The length of the tempo runs will slightly increase during the first few weeks of your marathon training.  However, they typically aren’t more than 10-11 miles.  Beginners will start with a 5 mile tempo run in week 4.

Have fun..stay injury free!

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