Boston 2 Big Sur Training Plan

EDIT: April 2015: I did not follow this training plan. I hired a coach and came up with another plan, which was similar to this, but it included more miles and speed work. Final B2B finishing time: 6:17:02.

I’ve never published a full training schedule here. I’ve written about the last few weeks before a marathon and how I need to stick to my taper plans, and I’ve talked about inching toward and exceeding 90 miles per week. But I haven’t written out a half year of workouts — possibly because I have some superstitious fear that if I get hurt, my training plan will be out there for everyone to see while I’m sidelined. Or maybe I don’t want to be judged by the number of miles I run or the fact that I don’t take rest days.

Now is a good time to put the nearly baked plan out there. It’s a roadmap I believe can get me to my big, scary goal of running two marathons in a week with a Boston PR (I’ll take anything under 3:11). And achieving that big, scary goal will help push my training to the high-mileage ultramarathon levels I need to be at for the Comrades Marathon in 2016. I’ve run a modified version of this training plan twice in the last year. This plan includes a few more miles in a few critical weeks, but it’s nothing more extreme than what my body has handled in the past. The Austin Marathon will be a long training run, and I am planning to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon to set a new PR. I’m aiming for 1:26.

Oh, and I know a lady never reveals her weight (or age?), but I know I feel best and run fastest when I weigh between 124 and 126 pounds. If I can keep my diet in check during the hardest training weeks and not pack on more than a few pounds of water weight during the taper, I’ll arrive in Boston to run it faster than ever. I also feel like 2013 was the first year I truly understood the Boston course. It is, after all, the marathon I’ve run more times than any other. If the conditions are right, I should be able to run and recover quickly. After that, with a smart recovery week, the Big Sur race, while slower, should feel like icing on the cake.

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun TOTAL Race
Oct. 27-Nov. 2 1 6 10 12 8 6 18 8 68
Nov. 3-9 2 4&6 10 8 10 6 13 8 65 Battlefield Half Marathon
Nov. 10-16 3 4&4 12 9 8 6 20 6 69
Nov. 17-23 4 6 10 8 13 4&6 18 8 73
Nov. 24-30 5 4&4 10 6 6 8 14 6 58 Turkey Trot
Dec. 1-7 6 4&6 10 6 8 4&6 16 8 68
Dec. 8-14 7 4&8 14 8 13 4&6 22 10 89
Dec. 15-21 8 4&6 13 8 13 4&6 18 8 80
Dec. 22-28 9 4&8 13 8 13 4&6 24 10 90
Dec. 29-Jan. 4 10 4&6 14 AT1 (4) 8 hills1 (6) 24 8 74
Jan. 5-11 11 4&6 10 WO2 (4) 10 8 Race (10) 14 66 Al Lewis 10-Miler
Jan. 12-18 12 4&6 14 WO1 (4) 12 4&6 AT2 (22) 8 80
Jan. 19-25 13 4&6 13 9 hills2 (6) 4&6 24 8 79
Jan. 26-Feb. 1 14 4&8 13 WO3 (4) 8 4&6 AT3 (22) 8 77
Feb. 2-8 15 4&6 14 WO1 (4) 10 4&6 AT2 (22) 8 78
Feb. 9-15 16 6 10 8 4 6 3 Marathon 63 Austin Marathon
Feb. 16-22 17 8 12 WO4 (4) 8 6 14 at pace 10 62
Feb. 23-March 1 18 4&6 13 WO3 (4) 8 4&6 AT3 (22) 8 75
March 2-8 19 6 10 8 hills3 (6) 4&6 16 8 64
March 9-15 20 8 at pace 10 8 WO6 (4) 4 1/2 Mar 6 53 RnR DC 1/2 Marathon
March 16-22 21 4&6 13 9 hills2 (6) 4&6 24 8 80
March 23-29 22 6 13 WO5 (6) 8 4&6 AT4 (22) 8 73
March 30-April 5 23 8 at pace 13 8 AT5 (4) 6 20 6 65
April 6-12 24 4 10 WO7 (4) WO8 (4) 6 14 Race (10) 52 Cherry Blossom 10-Miler
April 13-19 25 6 10 WO9 (5) 6 5 6 4 42
April 20-26 26 Marathon 10 6 5 4 4 Marathon 81 Boston Marathon // Big Sur Marathon

Anaerobic Threshold (AT) Workouts:

  • AT1 & 5 = 4 x mile @ 77 – 90%, this will vary with individuals. (Pace should be approximately 10 seconds per mile faster than your marathon pace.) 2-3 minute rest between miles. Warm-up and cool down 2-3 miles. You should feel exhilarated after these workouts, ready to do more.
  • AT2, 3, and 4 = 18-22 mile run with six to eight miles at approximately your marathon pace. These miles should bring you within a mile or two of finishing the run. The last mile or two should be easy. If conditions (either course or weather) are severe, adjust accordingly. A heart monitor can help considerably here by keeping the effort at the effort window that you can run a marathon.

Hill Workouts:

  • Hills 1, 2 & 3 = 8 x 2-3 minutes up at 77-90% effort, jog down for recovery. 2-3 mile warm-up and cool down.

Track Workouts (WO):

  • WO1 = 12 x 400 @ 90-95% with 200 jog recovery. Warm-up/cool down
  • WO2, 4 & 6 = 15 x 200 @ 85-95% with 200 jog recovery.
  • WO3 & 8 = 6 x 800 @ 90-95% with 400 jog recovery.
  • WO5 = 4 x 1200 @ 90-95% with 400 jog recovery.
  • WO7 = 15 x 300 @90-95% with 100 jog recovery.
  • WO9 = 3 x 200 @ 85-90% with 200 jog recovery / 400 jog / 3 x 800 @ 85% with 400 jog recovery.