Boston Marathon Training

running, boston marathon 2014 finish

It’s official, I’m running in the 2016 Boston Marathon! I will be running for Family Aid Boston. February 17th is a little late to start training for Boston, but I’m excited to be able to run this year.

Boston Marathon Training

When I ran my first Boston Marathon back in 2003, I started training late also. Not this late, but in 2003 I had never run a race before. Not even a 5K. I was utterly clueless about running and marathons were beyond comprehension. Here’s my 2003 story.

I’ve run Boston six times since 2003. Now I know what to expect and I know what  it will take. Fortunately I have a modest base to work from and I have run most of the Sunday Long Runs. Last week when it was -32 I only ran half of the planned miles.

The Roads Ahead

Tuesday night I sat down with the calendar and figured out that April 18th is about 8 weeks away. That’s not a lot of time.

Currently I’m able to run a 5K in 24 minutes or less. Maybe 23 minutes on a good day. To get an idea of where I’m at and what I might be able to do, I went to the McMillan Calculator.

boston marathon trainingBeing conservative and using the 24 minute 5K result, McMillan projects that I can run a marathon in 3:53:51. Frankly, I’m shocked by that number. I’m a little scared by that number.

My best Boston time was 4:04:15 in 2014. My best marathon time was in 2013 at the Baystate Marathon at 3:47:35. That’s a long time ago.

My last half marathon was The Howling Wolf Half in November. I ran that in 1:48:29. That was three months and a long holiday season ago. But it’s my closest race of significant distance. According to McMillan I should be able to run a half in 1:51. I can get my head around that.

April fool's 4 miler

Over the past two years I’ve focused on 5Ks. There have been a few 10Ks and Halfs sprinkled in, but I’m a short track guy right now. I’ve learned how to run hard for 3.1 miles. Those lessons have carried over to my 10K and half-marathon runs.

Some short track lessons translate well to the marathon. Both races require planning and control. If you do not train properly or go out to fast in either race you can get into trouble fast.

The 5K is about embracing the near-death experience. It’s about pushing beyond 100% and trusting that today is not the die you will die. It is about control and will power, but those forces are channeled into speed.

The marathon is about the plan and avoiding the near-death experience, though many of us still run through the valley of the shadow of death. Will power and control are required in order to execute the plan properly. You have to know what you can do and what you want to do. You have to run your race, the one you planned on. If you screw up or run the other guys race you can crash and burn.

The Plan

The marathon is all about planning and being in control. Proper training usually takes 3-4 months for a seasoned runner. That means having good base miles to start from. You have to make a 3-4 month plan and stay in control. It doesn’t always work, but you know what they say about plans.

There is no safe way to execute a proper Boston Marathon Training plan in eight weeks. My base miles are too low and pushing my mileage to quickly would likely lead to an injury.

I’ve decided that my plan is to arrive in Hopkinton uninjured and well rested. I don’t have time to recover from an injury so I can’t push it. High miles is just not a reasonable plan, and I know it.The only alternative is to arrive well rested.

If I fuel and hydrate properly, a modestly trained but rested and uninjured body could serve me well.

I have eight weeks of Sunday Long Runs left. Two will be 20 and 22 miles. I’ll run around 6 miles on Tuesday nights and try to get in one or two runs during the day at work. I could peek in the mid 30s.

Since my last marathon I’ve been practicing yoga on a fairly regular basis. When I added a few poses to my routine three years ago it made a big difference in my running. Now I practice once a week with a real Yogi and I’ve incorporated more poses into my gym workouts.

I’ve never approached a marathon with this type of plan. I have a few aches already and I just don’t see a better way to do it. It will be uncharted territory and yet another running adventure!

Run well my friends and I’ll see you in Hopkinton!

Andy

© 2016 andrew nagelin

Author: OmniRunner

9X Boston Marathon finisher, 17X marathons total. Sharing my love for running and the fun adventures and lessons that come with it. Helping non-profits increase fundraising and new runners celebrate their First 5K.

3 thoughts on “Boston Marathon Training”

  1. Andy, congrats on your getting to run Boston…you have heard my feelings on it before. I will be watching your progress with a great deal of interest, since we are at about the same place in our running focusing on 5K’s and running about the same times overall. I know you will do well and someday it is something that I will do. Who knows maybe I need a shorter build-up and just do it mentality some year. 🙂

    Go get it.

    1. Thanks Harold. It’s going to be a different type of marathon for me this year. Maybe less focus on getting to the finish line quickly and more on enjoying the experience and the crowd.
      You’ll be here someday. You have the discipline to do this.
      Andy

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