How I trained for the Boston Marathon

One more day before I’m off to Boston with my mum! We get a taxi tomorrow morning and off we go. We’re both very excited. Before that though, I thought I’d do a post on how I trained for the Boston Marathon.

Like the Liverpool Marathon, I didn’t really follow a generic plan though I did use a few in combination to get a good idea of level of mileage and the long runs (how many, when, the build-up to them, etc.). In terms of running I decided to keep with running four times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday usually). My mid-week runs would be 4-6 miles, then parkrun on a Saturday and the long run on the Sunday.

When I initially started training I was keen to include regular hills and possibly some interval training in my schedule. Ha. That didn’t really happen long-term. I kept it up to begin with but then lost motivation.

imageThe red highlight is where I had my niggle

This is probably because I was also juggling a lot of stuff at the gym. I was finding myself really enjoying my time strength training and lifting heavier weights (a lot heavier than I was during my Liverpool marathon training). This meant that my recovery was a lot tougher and if I went to the gym on Tuesday morning and worked on my glutes then that evening’s run would be really hard-work with heavy legs.IMG_8832

The gym

Of course I could have cut back my gym sessions or lifted less heavy weights, but the truth is I didn’t want to. The goal for Boston has never been to get a PB. Not every marathon for me has to have that aim. I enjoy them so much (when they don’t involve me getting injured…) that I don’t mind not getting a ‘fast’ time because the whole thing feels epic and an accomplishment anyway. (I don’t feel the same way about 10ks!). Plus it sort of takes the fun out of the entire process if I’m constantly worrying about speed sessions, hitting certain paces and goals. I much prefer to trundle through the training consistently, hitting the long runs feeling strong. And that’s what I’ve done.

So I usually went to the gym four times a week and generally split it shoulders/arms, glutes, legs and back with added running-specific exercises to keep injuries at bay for running (e.g. single leg work, balance and coordination focuses, plyometrics, core, etc.).

The running

image

Fortunately I only had one niggle-woe which disappeared after a week of rest. My foot randomly started causing me sharp pains during a planned 18 miler and so I cut it short to 12 miles. I then cut back my next long run to 13 miles. I was surprisingly sensible and didn’t panic. I’m almost certain the root cause was choosing an old pair of trainers to run in which disagreed with me. Other than that I haven’t had any issues (fingers crossed, *touches wood*, *does a rain dance*).

My build-up has been nice and gradual and my mileage around the level I like it (30 miles/week). My only slight concern is that I’ve only done one full 18 mile run that wasn’t broken up. Two of them I used half marathons and added on extra miles beforehand to get the mileage up. But it is what it is! I have two 17 milers which I’m really pleased with.

Food

This time around I was far more conscious of what I was eating. For Liverpool I’d refuel after long runs with afternoon teas, cakes and just general crap “because I’m training for a marathon”. This time around I focused on more balanced meals, especially post long-runs, and ate a lot more protein and fat. Especially with lifting weights I knew I needed to increase my protein. I didn’t want to lose muscle through running and I didn’t want to lose weight.

IMG_8642Steak with stir-fried veg and Brie

I haven’t had those nagging headaches I used to get after my long runs and I feel like my body recovered quicker. I didn’t stop treats or meals out though. As you’ve probably noticed I ate out a lot and ate a lot of ribs and more red meat. Life isn’t fun without the good stuff you love after all Winking smile

So I’ve just got to survive Monday. The hills and predicted high temperatures are slightly concerning me but I have to keep reminding myself of my main goals: don’t get injured and enjoy it. I just have a few nightmares that this was my goal for Bournemouth and I was injured for six weeks afterwards… But I actually have proper paces planned that I’ll stick to (whichever goal I go for – likely to be 3:35 or 3:40) whereas for Bournemouth I just ran off like an idiot without any plans. I’ve also got 15 solid weeks of structured training behind me. Have faith, Anna.

Afterwards…

After the marathon it’ll all be about the crucial refuelling process. I’m thinking this is going to be a feat in itself. I’m almost certain I’ll have burned about 10,000000 calories during the race and so to that effect I’ll need to hunt out adequate spots of good food. This is likely to include some cake, probably some ribs, more than likely fro-yo and, purely for medicinal purposes, donuts. It’s going to be hard work but I’m hoping the US will help me out with this. After the marathon I only have four days so it’s going to be tough, but I’ll try my best Winking smile

Do you strength train during marathon training?

How do you refuel after a big race?

How often do you like to run/train when training for a big race/event?

18 thoughts on “How I trained for the Boston Marathon

  1. I’m soo excited for you!!! I can’t wait to hear about your time here in the US! And of course Boston!! Your training has been a lot of fun to read about so I can’t wait to see how fabulous you run!
    Staci recently posted…My Week in MemesMy Profile

  2. Good luck good luck good luck! Have an amazing time, and enjoy it. Your training seems to have gone so well, and I am sure your strength training will be of huge benefit to you. And most of all I hope the post-race food lives up to expectations!
    Last year for Brighton I did the Kinetic revolution exercises, although I much preferred the first few weeks. It did help, but afterwards I stopped and have not started again. I probably should, but I don’t have as much time at the moment, plus when there is not a big race at the end of anything, just fun ones, the motivation for that is lost for me.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…How to Make Your Diet Organic!*My Profile

  3. Best of luck for tomorrow. I hope the weather is good to you out there. Enjoy every second of it. Not aiming for a PB will give you better value for your money – more time to soak in all the atmosphere on race day! 😛 Seriously, I hope you have a great race, and then thoroughly enjoy the rest of your holiday. 🙂
    Mary recently posted…The first trimesterMy Profile

  4. It looks like you had a really complete and diverse training program for the marathon. I can’t wait to hear all about it!! I know you are most likely already racing since it’s Monday, but I want you to know I am thinking about you and sending you all the good vibes! Go get it girl!
    Kat recently posted…Chunky Monkey Pudding [Paleo/Vegan/GF]My Profile

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