Boston Marathon Training – By the Numbers

I did this kind of post in the fall with Wineglass – and loved being able to recap and rehash the 3+ months I pushed for the marathon.

This training cycle was a breakthrough for me – for a few different reasons. I will add that I consider the “cycle” to be from the start of the New Year until race day. I had been running fairly consistently through the New Year – but wasn’t following a training plan nor was I doing dedicated speedwork. It was more of the “I feel good today, let’s try this fun workout” or “I’ll go for 12-16 and see how I feel” for the long run. Most of my “long” runs were between 10-13 miles during the three months post-Wineglass with a few being a few miles higher (nothing over 16).

First, it was truly the first time where I felt my race times matched my training (not Boston, but NYC Half). I had all but come to the conclusion that I am just a fast trainer. I like doing my long runs at a good pace and my tempos are fast (for me). For other runners, those paces may indicate a certain finish time in a race, but for me, they always seemed to be slower. For a long time, I was worried that I was pushing too hard in training. But then NYC Half happened and that was all the proof I needed to know that I had been training correctly (for me).

Second, I hit paces in training that I never could have imagined I’d run. I think back to just two years ago – my mile repeats (on the roads) where typically in the 6:40-6:45 range. There were a few 5 mile tempos this cycle where I averaged faster than that pace.

Third, at some point, I realized that my “easy” pace for runs had dropped by about 15 sec/mile. It didn’t happen overnight but it wasn’t until a few runs in a run that were at/around 8:00 pace that I realized I had made some gains. Most of these runs are blind – so I just run on effort. So the effort was the same, but it was amazing to see the drop in those paces while also seeing a drop in long run paces and speed workouts.

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By the Numbers:

  • Date Range: Dec 31 – April 17
  • Miles: 805.9
  • Average miles per day: 7.5
  • Rest days: 15
  • All runs (below) are in chronological order within each section (so you can see the increase/improvement over cycle)

Long Runs (Moderate Pace):

  • 17.3 @ 7:53 – 12/31/15
  • 18 @ 7:51 – 1/8/16
  • 19 @ 7:46 (on treadmill) – 1/22/16
  • 20 @ 7:35 – 2/13/16
  • 21 @ 7:25 – 2/27/16
  • 22 @ 7:34 – 3/12/16
  • 23 @ 7:35 – 3/26/16
  • 13 @ 7:21 (taper) – 4/9/16

IMG_9776

Long Run (with tempo in middle):

  • 14 @ 7:19 (with 6 @ 6:53 tempo) – 1/15/16
  • 15 @ 7:18 (with 7 @ 6:51 tempo) – 1/30/16
  • 14 @ 7:16 (skipped longer run b/c of stomach bug earlier in week – turned this into fastish long run) – 2/7/16
  • 16 @ 7:13 (with 8 @ 6:49 tempo) – on treadmill – 2/19/16
  • 18 @ 7:03 (with 10 @ 6:48 tempo) – 4/2/16

18 miler

Tempos

  • 9 with 3 x 2 (6:44, 6:39) (6:42, 6:38) (6:44, 6:37) – 1/12/16
  • 10 with 5 @ LT tempo – 6:37 average – 1/28/16
  • 10 with 6 @ LT wave – 6:39 average – 2/16/16
  • 14 with 3 x 3 (6:53, 6:53, 6:48) (6:48, 6:48, 6:44) (6:44, 6:44, 6:39) – 3/2/16
  • 11 with 5 progression LT tempo – 6:39 average – 3/9/16
  • 11 with 8 @ AT wave – 6:39 average – 3/30/16
  • 13 with 3 x 3 (6:53, 6:53, 6:48) (6:48, 6:48, 6:44) (6:44, 6:39, 6:31) – 4/6/16

IMG_7512

Intervals

  • 9 with 10 x 600 (6:15->6:10) – 1/5/16
  • 10 with 5 x 1 (6:26, 6:22, 6:19, 6:15, 6:08) – 1/19/16
  • 10 with 12 x 600 (6:15 -> 6:00) – 2/10/16
  • 11 with 6 x 1 (6:25, 6:18, 6:15, 6:11, 6:05) – 2/24/16

Brisk

  • 9 @ 7:08 – 1/10/16
  • 10 @ 7:07 – 1/24/16

Races

  • 1 mile @ 5:28 – 3/6/16
  • 13.1 miles: 1:28:10 (6:44 official pace; 6:41 garmin) – 3/20/16

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The one area where I feel that I slacked was in my strength work. I fit in core work here and there when I could, but the strength work was sporadic, at best. But it is what it is. I’m not sure I could have managed dedicated strength work this cycle with working five days out of the home. I can’t do it all. But it something that I’ve mentally made note of – and hope to improve upon this next cycle.

Looking at my training paces and race times, coach and I believed I was in shape for well under a 3:10. I truly believe I could have run those times. So although Boston wasn’t the time I wanted or was in shape for, I put in the work, time and effort over the last few months and I’m ready to build upon that this summer.

If you have any questions about my training cycle leading up to Boston, please let me know!

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    5 thoughts on “Boston Marathon Training – By the Numbers

    1. Michelle! Amazing!!!

      I love your training recap posts and I can only imagine that they are fun to write. Look at all your hard work. 800 miles in a training cycle while working full time and being an amazing mommy???? Incredible.

      Are you still coaching other runners?

    2. Loved this post and you are totally in for an amazing marathon this year! can’t wait to see you accomplish amazing things!

    3. I love seeing this. After training pretty aggressively to get to a 3:18 marathon for my last cycle (and coming in at 3:25), I was beginning to wonder if maybe I just couldn’t go faster. But I think I just need to give it more time, and keep up with my nutrition. Thanks for posting :)

    4. Thanks for sharing all of this! I love learning from you and I hope to slowly increase my speed. I’m a mama of 4 and got back into running after my last baby’s birth. She was born in August and I started back into running in October after almost a year off. Running was going great so I signed up for a marathon and ran 4 days a week through January. Nagging pain in my calf turned into shin splints. I switched to the half and reigned back my training a lot. Ran the half on 4/10 and I would love to start running again but I’m worried about the shin splints flaring back up. I’ve signed up for the Houston Marathon in January and I would like to run all summer before starting training again in the fall. Do you have any tips? Have you ever struggled with shin splints? Would love any tips or advice you might have!! Thanks so much!