Hal Higdon's Boston Bound Marathon Training Program: 2020


Hal Higdon

All plans by this Coach


13 Weeks

Typical Week

6 Run, 2 Strength, 5 Other, 1 Day Off

Longest Workout

20 miles

Plan Specs

running marathon

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Hal Higdon's Boston Bound Marathon Training Program--2020 Please be aware that this program is aimed at the 2020 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20. If you sign up for Boston Bound, you will receive daily emails during the 12-plus weeks leading to that race. If you plan to train for another race, please consider using one of my other programs!

The Boston Bound Training Program is designed not to help you qualify for Boston. It will not get you a BQ; it is aimed at people who already have scored a BQ and who have entered and been accepted into the 2020 race. It assumes an already high level of fitness, otherwise you would not have been able to meet Boston's strict qualifying standards. If a long run of 14 miles in only the second week sounds too far, you probably need to pick another training program. Also, unlike my usual 18-week marathon training programs, Boston Bound is only 12 weeks long, beginning in late January for the April race. If you have more (or less) time than that to train, you also may want to try another program. But Boston Bound is special, a unique experience. Each day I will send you an email telling you what to run and offering training tips. For more information and directions, visit my website: www.halhigdon.com.

To make the Boston Bound program line up correctly with the calendar, be sure to set the end date as Monday, April 20.

Perhaps the most important feature of Boston Bound is not merely the training: what to run on any one day. It is more the inspiration and motivation that will come in the daily tips. You will also learn more about the history of the Boston Marathon by following Boston Bound.


Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 05:14

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon Communications

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1


Welcome to my Boston Bound Training Program. The program is 12 weeks and 1 day long, beginning Monday, January 27 and ending in Hopkinton on Monday, April 20 at the starting line of the 2020 Boston Athletic Association Marathon. This program is designed for runners already qualified for Boston and entered. If hoping to qualify for Boston, you need to pick another one of my programs.

Boston Bound is a tough program fitting somewhere between my usual Intermediate and Advanced programs. This program assumes that you are an accomplished runner, otherwise you would not have qualified for Boston. The Boston Bound Program features 6 days of running and 1 day of rest each week. There is a mix of speedwork and hill training along with pace runs and long runs. Weekly mileage peaks at around 50 in Week 10. You can add more miles to easy days like today if you are so inclined. Each Monday in the program features an easy run of 3 to 5 miles. Today, run 3 miles at a comfortable pace.

Sample Day 2


In preparing to run Boston, consider that the 26-mile course from Hopkinton into downtown Boston is somewhat unique. The first few miles out of Hopkinton feature steep downhills, then the course levels somehat, rolls, and at 16 miles runners encounter a series of hills, the infamous Newton Hills topped by Heartbreak Hill. After 21 miles, there is a gentle, but quad-busting descent to the finish line. You will not succeed at Boston unless you learn to run hills. For today's hill workout, select a hill between 400 and 800 meters long and run three repeats: 3 x hill. Don't forget to warm up before and cool down after the repeat part of the workout. Jog or walk down the hill between each repeat.

Sample Day 3


Wednesday in my Boston Bound Training Program is a day of relative rest between two harder workouts on Tuesday and Thursday. Over the length of the program, the distance covered will vary from 3 to 5 miles. The Wednesday workouts are basically the same as those run on Mondays. Run 3 miles today at an easy pace. Please note that in establishing distances and times for this program, I assume everyone averages 8:00 miles. If you run faster or slower, adjust your workouts accordingly.

Sample Day 4


Thursday workouts in my Boston Bound program vary between tempo runs and easy runs. Today's workout is to do a tempo run of 5 miles. A tempo run is a workout where you start at an easy pace to warm up, then gradually accelerate to somewhat slower than your 10-K pace halfway through the workout. Hold that peak pace for several minutes, then gradually return to your easy pace as part of your cool down.

Sample Day 6


Saturdays in my Boston Bound Training Program vary from pace runs to easy runs to races to test your fitness. Today's workout is 6 miles at marathon pace. Given that we are still in January, this may be difficult for many outdoor runners in the Frozen North to achieve. Do the best you can.

Sample Day 7


Training for a spring marathon such as Boston can be difficult for those who live in the Frozen North, but people who live in the South often find it difficult to train through a hot summer for a fall marathon. Eventually, everything evens out. Because weather conditions can affect how far or fast you run, every other weekend I prescribe Sunday runs in minutes rather than miles. This allows you to be flexible in your training. Today, run 80 minutes. Consider doing this as a 3/1 workout, where you run the first 3/4 of the workout at an easy pace, then pick up the speed for the last 1/4. In other words, 60 minutes easy followed by 20 minutes at an up tempo.

Sample Day 8


This is the second week of your Boston Bound Training Program. Unless you live in The Tropics, the weather, and slick roads accompanying that weather, may continue to make training difficult--but coping with that weather can make you strong. Olympic champion Peter Snell once said he loved bad weather, because he knew his rivals were more likely not to run. Run 4 miles at a comfortable pace. That will be your Monday distance for the next four weeks. Other than more mileage, another reason I schedule changes in distance is for variety, so you won't be running the same distances and courses day after day after week after week. Since experienced runners such as you often have set courses for different distances, this may even force you to select another route for your run: Course A vs. Course B. It's a mind thing.

Hal Higdon's Boston Bound Marathon Training Program: 2020

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