How I trained for the Boston Marathon 2016

2016 was my 4th Boston Marathon.  My first in 2013 lived up to all the hype and, I think, was still the best race I have run.  My time in 2013 was 3:19:55, with a negative split (very hard to negative split Boston) and almost a 3 minute PR.  2014 was an emotional year. Every runner took back the finish line.  I didn’t run that smart of a race, but still was able to PR and finished 3:16:44.  2015 I got a bit over confident and a week before injured my foot.  I still ran but I was not at 100%, I finished 3:16:48.  This year I started to wonder if I’d hit the limit of my marathon.  Is my age (52) catching up with me?  I started racing late (44) even though I have run all my life.

The weather was not perfect: 70°F in Newton at the start. So I held back a bit and ran a smart race.  Still not a negative split. First half was 1:35:12 and I finished at 3:13:35. It was my best marathon to date.  Not only the fastest, but I never hit the wall, ran 100% and no bathroom breaks.  Trust me, I hurt at the finish and really wanted to walk from mile 18 on.  There were a lot of runners I passed who did give up and walked. I don’t want to say this was an easy race, but I was happy with the results.

Having said all that, I wanted to share and document what I did.  Maybe I can help someone else BQ and also help me remember what worked for next year.

My training plan is simple: I run 5 days a week, base is 45 miles, and during the sharpening phase (or as I like to call it Hell month) I go to 65 miles a week.  I taper for three weeks and reduce mileage by 25% each week.   The five days I run, three are hard workouts (speed, tempo, long) and two are easy (recovery or easy).  As a coach once told me, always know what you are working on when you run.  There should be a reason for every run.  Focus on that.  For example, a long run is working aerobic conditioning, If you run anaerobically (too fast), then you are missing the point of the workout. Also never do a hard workout back to back.  You should have a rest day or recovery run before and after a hard workout.  That does not always happen, but try to.

You will notice a lot of races in my training.  I look at a 5k as a speed workout.  As for the half marathons, I use them as training runs with water stops along the way.  I might run them at MP.  I only race one Half and that is 8 weeks from the Marathon.  Lastly the 50k,  is a trail run, for sure a long run at an easy pace—NOT AT RACE PACE!

Training Plan 1Training Plan 2

Here are my training paces.  Keep in mind I live in Texas, so if it is hot, I adjust a pace run to effort not the actual pace.  I use heart rate for easy, pace, and temp runs.  On interval days, I stick to the pace times as much as possible.  To understand your Hearth Rate zones better I recommend a V02 Max test. Ask at your local runner store and they should be able to help you find someone who can do that test.

training paces

I also get a deep tissue massage every month.  During hell month (March), I get one every week.  If you live in San Antonio, I recommend Jenny at Palser Chiropractic and Massage Therapy(210) 444-9277.  I can tell you that without Jenny’s help I would have been injured for sure.  Recovery is always my main focus.  How do you know you are recovering enough?  When you start any hard workout, you should feel stronger than the last time you did that same workout.  For example a long run, you should feel stronger than your last long run.  Same goes for track and pace runs.  What if you have a pace run on your training plan and you still feel sore?  Then you run easy/recovery instead. Overloading yourself past the point of recovery is not improvement.  It is overload.  The result of overload is injury every time!

Nutrition is an important part to any training plan.  No soda’s, I normally to not eat out, but if I do only water or un-sweetened tea.  Do not let yourself over eat because you worked out.  Most runners start running to lose weight. The compensation effect has been known to cause runners to actually gain weight while training for a marathon.  Remember that every lb of weight lost will improve your marathon time.  Losing weight by far is the single most beneficial thing you can do to improve your time. A four hour marathoner who loses 10lbs without any fitness change would run their next marathon in 3:45.  What other workout do you know that will improve your marathon time by 15 minutes?

To add to my nutritional needs I take these supplements every day in the AM.

  • Kirkland Mature multivitamin (Health of individuals over 50)
  • CoQ10 200mg (Heart health)
  • MegaRed Omega-3 350mg (Heart health)
  • Baby Asprin 81mg (Heart health)
  • Vitamin C 500mg (Helps recovery)
  • Glucosamine HCI 1500 mg,MSM 1500 mg (Joint health)
  • Potassium 99mg (Electrolyte)

I take these supplements every day in the PM.

  • Glucosamine HCI 1500 mg,MSM 1500 mg (Joint health)
  • Potassium 99mg (Electrolyte)
  • Magnesium 400mg (Electrolyte)
  • Calcium 600mg + D3 (Bone health)

One week before the race I add these each day one in AM one in PM of each.

  • Endurox Exel (Helps recovery)
  • True Athlete Kre-Alkalyn 1500mg (Helps recovery)

Carbohydrate loading is very important. Your body can go for about 1.5 hours on stored glucose.  But you can store up to 1800 grams in your muscles and live of glucose. Unfortunately, carbo loading will not get you to the finish.  You will still hit the wall around mile 20-21.

I use Karbragous, UCAN, Carbo Gain to supplement each day. This helps to not be so full all the time and eating way too much. I also tried a bottle of the 100% food on Sunday. It has 100g of carbs. Did not upset my stomach, but tasted like crap.  I target 3g per lb Friday, 3.5g per lb Saturday, 4g per lb Sunday.  I weigh 160lb.  So goal was Friday 480g, Saturday 560g, Sunday 640g.

Friday 486g
Saturday 534g
Sunday 406g

Hydration is linked to carbohydrate loading.  Two water molecules attach to every carbohydrate molecule you store. I add Nuun to my water to help ensure I get enough electrolytes.   To make sure you are hydrated before a race, monitor your urine. If it is dark yellow, you are not drinking enough water.  Light yellow is perfect.  Clear is too much water.

My race day fuel plan

  • 4 hours before race.  Bagel, Banana.
  • 2 hours before race, drink of one scoop UCAN and one scoop Karbragous (12oz water)
  • Every water stop, drank water and poured the rest on my head/back.
  • Every 5k drink 4oz of water (used amphipod water belt with 2 x 10oz bottles)
  • @ 5k (3m), 15k (9m), 25k (15m) Salt capsule and bite of Cliff Bar (Peanut Toffee Buzz)
  • @ 10k (6m), 20k (12m) Clif Citrus gel
  • @ 30k (18m) Clif Double Expresso 100mg Caffeine
  • @ 35k (21m) Amino Energy Cafe Vanilla 5 scoops mixed with 8oz water

That’s my plan.  I hope it can help you on your next Marathon.


About Coach Bill

I am a 48 year old runner. Three years ago I ran my first half marathon and have not looked back since. I am married, have two grown son's. I work at Toyota motor manufacturing Texas building Tundra's and Tacoma's as a skilled team leader in the press department.
This entry was posted in Injury, Interval, Long Run, Marathon Training, Nutrition, Race Reviews, Running Coach, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How I trained for the Boston Marathon 2016

  1. David says:

    Good advice always help to improve running thanks .

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