The Best Training Plan For The Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Training Plan - Last Ten Weeks Of Preparation

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CLC- “Colorado Leg Circuit” derived from Jay Johnson and Vern Gambetta; 10x Forward Lunge, 10x Backward Lunge, 10x Cross-Over Lunge, 10x Lateral Shuffle each direction, 12x Body Weight Squats, 12x Wide-Stance BW Squats, 15-20x Wide-Outs, 8x Rocket Jumps, 12x Russian Hamstring, 12x Donkey Kicks, finish with light skips for 30-40m

AIS- Active Isolated Stretching; research Phil Wharton’s AIS on YouTube; flexibility technique where you work through a muscle/joints range of motion with 2-3 second holds rather than the traditional 20-30sec; complete 8-10 reps of each exercise

Core- choose eight exercises from below to include each week with variety; Front, Side, Back Planks, Bird-Dogs, Low/Upper Back Raises, Oblique Crunches, Standard Abdominal Crunch, Leg Raises, Bridges, Russian Twist, V-Sits, Scissor Kicks, Lateral Leg Raises, etc.

MHS- Max Hill Sprints; as they sound, find a steep hill and run up the grade at maximal effort with full recovery; used to improve power and decrease injury risk

Technique Drills- drill set used as part of a race/workout warm-up or warm-down to improve form and technique; 50m each of lateral skipping, backwards skipping, high-knee march, high-knee run, tail kicks, power skipping (bound up for height with knee up as high as possible), fast feet, straight-leg run (like a football player scoring a touchdown), backwards jogging, forward skipping

Standard Warm-Up (SWU): Four part warm-up to be used before most workouts and races

  1. Flexibility/Joint Integrity- begin with Jay Johnson’s Lunge Matrix Warm-Up and some light AIS as noted above
  2. Thermal Warm-Up- Easy 15-30min Run (Often in Extra Clothes) to increase muscle temperature
  3. Metabolic Warm-Up- End easy run with 1-2min of up-tempo running to increase blood vessel dilation and aerobic enzymes
  4. Mechanical- Finish warm-up with a set of Technique Drills and 4-6x100m Strides about 5min before the gun or start of workout

Warm-Down (WD)- Easy 10-30min Run with a few light strides to clear lactate from the blood, 2-5min Backwards Running, AIS, Foam Rolling

Basic Pace Table

You will notice that many of your high-quality runs are based off percentages of target race pace. The easiest way to calculate those paces is to divide your target pace per mile into seconds (ie- 6:00 per mile = 360sec per mile), and then use simple math to find the target percentage (ie- 90% of 6:00 pace would be 6:36 per mile, 110% would be 5:24 per mile). These are rough guidelines, but will help guide your training’s relative effort zones throughout this plan.

This plan will work best for those with a time goal of 2:30-3:30 at Boston. More experienced and/or faster runners will want to complete their sessions on the upper end of the listed volume/pace ranges, while newer and/or slower runners will want to exercise more caution when given a range of paces/durations in the plan.

The below terms appear frequently in the plan. Use these zones as a rough guide.

Regeneration- used purely for recovery between harder sessions; always less than 70% of GP (as slow as you can go without compromising good mechanics)

Easy Running (Volume)- general aerobic running (“daily run” pace @ 70-80% of Goal Pace)

Aerobic Resistance (Endurance)- moderate to medium effort running for basic aerobic support @ 80-90% of GP

Marathon Pace Training- strong aerobic running nearing marathon race pace @ 90-100%; the duration of these runs, terrain, and your level of freshness will determine the precise pace

Aerobic Power- Bridging the gap between your aerobic and lactate thresholds, this will be where most of your long intervals, fartlek, and faster tempos will stay for this cycle; 105-110% of GP (think, half-marathon effort or slightly faster)

pH Threshold Intervals (pHTI)- This will fall pretty close to one’s pH threshold, or the point at which the blood becomes acidotic. Work in this zone will elevate your fitness ceiling by oxidizing the fast twitch muscle fibers, improving your economy at race pace, and stimulating maximum oxygen uptake (V02 Max); 110-115% of GP (think, 10K-5K Effort)

Mechanical Speed/Muscular Power- usually short bouts of fast running done with long recoveries; can also be hill work, strides, fartlek etc. which are not always timed (5K-800m Rhythm)

About the Author

Peyton Hoyal was a 2009 NAIA Track & Field All-American at Berry College in Georgia, and now resides in Charlottesville, VA where he works as a sales manager in the running footwear industry. A former high school teacher and coach, he honed his craft with young runners before taking-on a private coaching enterprise in 2013.

Peyton has worked with the ZAP Fitness Olympic Development Group as an adult coach, writes extensively on the sport through various media sites, and has spoken at such events as the annual Endurance Magazine Fitness Expo in Raleigh, NC. He still trains at a high level himself, and is available for personal coaching to anyone who wants to take their running to the next level. He can be contacted at