Want to get faster in the marathon? Here’s a straightforward workout that’ll boost your fitness.
“Mile repeats are the single most important workout a marathoner can do to obtain a Boston qualifier,” said coach Mark Buciak. He should know—Buciak has completed 32 consecutive Boston Marathons and is a member of the Boston Athletic Association’s Quarter Century Club, an organization whose membership is reserved for the rare few with 25 Boston finishes. A motivational speaker, writer and program director of The Road to Boston training program and running camps, Buciak views the Boston Marathon as a rite of passage for spring that he wouldn’t miss—even the year that he had open heart surgery to insert a new valve. The finisher of 55 total marathons with a 2:30:25 personal best gives the following workout to his BQ hopefuls.
Marathon Mile Repeats
* Begin with four repeats of one mile; try to work your way up to six repeats. Prioritize quality over quantity.
* Start three months before your goal marathon and complete the repeats once a month, mid-week, with the final workout completed two weeks before the race.
* Month one—complete each repeat at 70 percent of goal race pace with a four-minute jog between sets. Month two—complete each repeat at 80 percent of goal race pace with a four-minute jog between sets. Month three—complete each repeat at 90 percent of goal race pace.
- Run the same point-to-point distance on a straightaway each month.
- Simulate the marathon course: If the course is hilly, complete these workouts on hills. If it’s flat, use a flat stretch of road. Don’t run these repeats on a track unless you’re completing a marathon on a track.
- When you complete each interval, try to estimate your split before consulting your watch.
- If you’re feeling good after you complete the repeats, add one or two miles to the mix plus ten 110-meter strides at a quick pace.
“In addition to making you stronger, these mile repeats will help you learn your race pace,” said Buciak.