There’s one month to go till the Boston Marathon! Just reading that sentence probably causes a shot of adrenaline. I know it does for me and I’m very much looking forward to getting to Boston and cheering for you.
This article outlines the last two big weeks of the training cycle before you begin the peaking phase for the big day. At this point, you should have your race nutrition dialed in. You should know what you will eat the night before, morning of and during the race. You should also have tried and tested your race day equipment—even planning for different weather conditions. And, you’ll want to have your race morning timeline sketched out. Know every detail from the time you’ll wake up until the race starts. The goal on race day is to be on auto-pilot and keep stress levels low.
Similar to Week 7, what you do early in Week 9 depends on how you recovered from last weekend’s fast finish long run (or race). If you recovered quickly and are used to a higher training load (i.e., two challenging workouts per week plus a long run), then do a longer run early in the week. If you are a lower training load athlete (i.e., one challenging workout per week plus a long run) or are still tired from the fast finish long run or race, then run shorter. No one ever got injured from an extra day of recovery but many do from pushing too hard, too soon.
Workout No. 1 (recovered runners, early in week): Medium Long Run. Run 1:30-1:45 over a hilly route.
Workout No. 1 (unrecovered runners, early in week): Easy Run. Run 40-60 minutes on a flatter route.
Workout No. 2 (later in week): Tempo Run. Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy jogging, then run 35-50 minutes at your tempo run pace. Ideally, you’d find a course that mimics the Boston course (i.e., mostly downhill, a hill or two later in the run then a downhill finish). Cool down with 10-20 minutes of easy jogging. A good sign on this run is if you feel very smooth and fluid. As mentioned in Week 6, the tempo run is designed to push your lactate threshold faster and help you run smoothly at a medium-hard effort.
Long Run: 2:30-3:30 for sub 3-hour marathoners (22-26 miles); 3:14-3:45 for 3+ hour marathoners (18-22 miles). Note: Run this over a hilly course and surge slightly on the downhills to practice your downhill running.
For the bulk of the training plan, you’ve been building fitness. In Week 10, you begin to refine race fitness. You’ll do two key workouts that are less about running faster and faster but are more about hitting goal race pace as relaxed as possible. You’ll do a goal pace run in the middle of the week, then your last fast finish long run on the weekend. Both put the finishing touches on your fitness and I want you to focus on running these as relaxed as possible.
Workout No. 1 (mid-week): Marathon-pace Run. Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy jogging, then run 7-10 miles at goal marathon pace. Again, find a course that mimics the Boston course. Cool down with 10-20 minutes of easy jogging. This is a great workout to practice using your equipment and dial in your nutrition plan (night before, pre-run and during run).
Workout No. 2 (advanced runners): Progression Run (early in week). Run easy for 80-90 minutes with the last 10-20 minutes at a slightly faster pace (around tempo effort).
Long Run: Fast Finish Long Run. 12-16 miles (intermediate runners) or 14-18 miles (advanced runners) with the middle 6-8 miles at goal marathon pace and the last 1-2 miles slightly faster. Cool down with 5-10 minutes of easy jogging.