Training for Boston

Training for Boston should depend on your running goal for Boston. Before jumping into another training program, ponder this one question: “What do you want to get out of your Boston experience?”


If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been through many months or more likely years of hard work and training to even qualify for Boston. Running Boston for most runners is the party or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are looking to simply finish the marathon and totally enjoy every moment of the party. To these runners, training for Boston involves at best an intermediate mid-mileage program, or better yet with the marathon’s early spring placement, it’s ideal to train through the marathon as preparation for another peak run. In essence, you want to be prepared to comfortably run the distance like any marathon, but you wouldn’t need to incorporate a lengthy taper or focussed lactate training workouts into your program.

There really is no running celebration in the world like it. And, it is indeed all that it’s chalked up to be. From experience, planning to race Boston to your full marathoning potential as one of your peak runs of the year runs you a high risk for a disappointing experience. So for your consideration and reading pleasure, here are a few reasons why you should you’re your performance expectations low and just enjoy your Boston experience:

  1. You must get up early, catch a bus to the town of Hopkington, then, depending on your qualifying time, wait for several hours in a crowded school yard for the race to start. If you are trying to fuel properly for a serious race, eating, drinking followed by excreting can be challenging and stressful.
  2. You will be placed in tightly packed corals with hundreds of other runners based on your qualifying time, many of which are there to enjoy the ride. This means at the gun that you will be forced to play ‘dodge the runner’ as you try to keep a pace for the first few miles.
  3. The crowds and support at the Boston marathon are like no other in the world. To the point, where there are several spots that your path will be impeded by cheering bystanders and kids stepping in your way to offer you fruit. This can make pacing, focus and fuelling challenging at best.
  4. Boston is a technical course. It’s not the existence or even length of the hills that make it difficult but rather the placement of the hills. With a long downhill at mile 4, your quads take a beating which comes back to haunt you at Mile 22’s heartbreak hill.

With this stated, if you’re not convinced and still want to race the marathon, all the marathon power to you! In order to adequately prepare, in addition to a well-balanced advanced marathon training program , ensure that your training for Boston involves long run routes with long gradual hills late in the run. If possible, some mild negative grade downhill training would be a big benefit as well. As you will likely see, your quads take an unexpected beating from the concentric muscles contractions during the early downhill grades at Boston. This soreness usually creeps up later in the race.

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