Did you BQ? Are you headed to Hopkinton? Runner's World, the leading authority on training and racing, has designed this unique plan to help you prepare to run the world's oldest and most-prestigious 26.2-mile course, the Boston Marathon. This 16-week program features easy runs, speedwork, and long runs, plus hill workouts that will help you develop the fitness you'll need to weather the descents early in the race and the notorious climb up Heartbreak Hill. Along with tips on training, nutrition, injury-prevention, and cold-weather running, you'll also get interesting facts and highlights about the legendary marathon. The plan is geared for someone who has met the qualifying standards for Boston in at least one other marathon, and regularly runs 30 to 40 miles per week. Each week of the program includes two days of easy running, two days of rest, one long run, hill work, and speed sessions such as mile repeats and Yasso 800s. The long runs start at nine miles and stretch up to 22 miles three weeks before the race. If you're training for another race, or this isn't the right plan for you, check out Runner's World's other marathon training plans.
Run the mileage for the day on the hilliest course you can find. Hills build leg and lung power, and will help prepare you for the climbs you'll face in the race. Running uphill strengthens your hamstrings, calves, glutes, hip flexors, and Achilles tendons more than flat running, and it uses more upper-body muscles. It's often called resistance training because you're fighting the resistance of the slope.
Run at a comfortable pace, easy enough that you can maintain a conversation. If you're huffing and puffing, you're going too fast. You can cross-train on a bike or an elliptical trainer as an alternative.
If you're feeling energetic on an easy day, you may have a tough time holding back. Resist the temptation to speed up, and save your energy for the hard workouts. To keep your easy runs relaxed, hook up with a friend who runs at a slower pace or take along the dog. You'll be more likely to take it easy-and enjoy the run more.
These first four weeks of training are about building a base, establishing a routine, and getting accustomed to following a plan. Figure out what times of day are most convenient to run, and find a variety of convenient routes to take on a regular basis.
This is a long, slow distance run to build endurance. Though nine miles might not feel that 'long,' get into the habit of doing your Sunday run at an easy pace, one to two minutes slower than your goal marathon pace. If possible, plan your long runs to cover hilly terrain in the last few miles so that it mimics what you'll face in the race.
Before charging a hill, check your form. Are your shoulders creeping up to your ears? If so, roll both of them forward then backward to relieve tension and keep them low.?Don't make fists. Keep your hands loose to help your whole body stay relaxed.
Take a cue from the Kenyans and start each training run superslow. You may even consider walking briskly for a few minutes before easing into a jog.