Ask Dr. Jack Daniels: What Should I Do From Now Until Boston Marathon Training Starts?

Question:  What should I do from now until December when my training for the Boston Marathon starts?

Jack Daniels:  I’d suggest each person thinks about what total weekly mileage they may set as a PEAK amount (for during the final 18 weeks) and try to gradually build up to 80% of that amount by the start of about 18 weeks to go in December. Do not increase weekly mileage any more often than every 3rd or 4th week. You can also start getting used to a weekly Long run, which is 25-30% of each week’s total mileage.

If possible you should try getting used to a Long run on Mondays (the day of Boston), but Sunday afternoon can work as well. Also sometimes on Sunday morning so you are used to that time of day for long efforts. Get used to running during warm parts of the day, but not in real heat (stay around 60 degrees or less is best).

To customize Jack’s Boston Marathon Training Plan visit: http://runsmartproject.com/coaching/boston-marathon/

Start Customizing Your Boston Marathon Training

We’ve got brand new training plans recently created by legendary coach Jack Daniels. He designed them specifically to prepare you for the rolling hills of Boston. They have never been released before and are only available through Run SMART. On these plans Jack tells you which workouts you should be doing on uphills, downhills and rolling hills to be ready for Boston’s course.

Start customizing your Boston plan today.

Preparing For The Boston Marathon Course

By Dr. Jack Daniels

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when training for the Boston Marathon. First, overall, the course is a little downhill, but with some definite uphill running along the way.

Second, as with any course, especially during the spring, weather conditions can vary a fair bit. Often there is a breeze coming at you in Boston, since you are running toward the ocean to your East, and ocean breezes often blow inland. Now and then Boston can get a pretty solid tailwind when a weather system is blowing in from the northwest.

Third, and maybe most importantly, the first five miles of the Boston course in downhill and it is easy to put in some faster-than-average mile times in those first five. It is not bad to take advantage of those early downhill miles, but it is usual for your quads to take a beating as a result of downhill running and if you are not used to it, the latter miles at Boston can be a real struggle.

The idea is to take a little advantage of the first five miles (by going a few seconds faster than you plan to average over the entire course), but to realize you will also be losing some time between miles 16 and 22 when there is a fair bit of uphill running to be done.  However, if your legs are used to some downhill running and the early downhills don’t cause a problem later on, the final 3 or 4 miles are also downhill and you can take advantage of those toward the end of the race.

Overall, on a calm and nice day, and with a nice steady effort, the Boston course can allow you to run a little more than a minute faster than a perfectly flat course will allow. The key is to do some training over undulating terrain, including some prolonged gradual downhill running so your legs are used to doing that and will not let you down over the Boston course. Hopefully, the program that we are supplying you with will prepare you for a good performance and one that is not disappointing. Remember that the weather of the day can have major effect on performance so be prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Take advantage of the advantages and minimize the disadvantages that you have to face.

Training for Boston? Customize one of Jack’s Boston Marathon Training Plans, specifically designed to help you prepare for the rolling hills.

Tricky Tanksley Sets 34 Minute PR, Qualifies For Boston Marathon

Jack Daniels Training Plan customer Tricky Tanksley set a new PR at the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Marathon this past weekend. Tricky was scheduled to run the NYC Marathon but made a last minute switch after it got cancelled. When she signed up for her plan she had run three marathons all over four hours. We were super excited she was able to find a another marathon let alone PR by 34 minutes – on a trail course too!

After the race, Tricky sent us a note, “Thanks to a great training plan set up by Vince Sherry, I was able to qualify for Boston today by running a 3:27:33 marathon!! That’s a PR by 34 mins:)”

Mir Shafiee Gets Boston Qualifier At Ottawa Marathon

We’re excited to announce that Run SMART client Mir Shafiee qualified for the Boston Marathon this weekend at the Ottawa Marathon! He paced himself brilliantly finishing 30th out of 498 finishers in the M40-44 age group and 202nd overall out of almost 5,000 finishers. His official time was 3:07:03, 10 minutes faster than his previous best marathon. He split 1:33:15 at the halfway mark. [Full results].

Mir works with Run SMART head coach Jack Daniels.

Cathrine Wolden Finishes 37th At Boston Marathon

Run SMART client Cathrine Wolden finished 37th female overall at the 2012 Boston Marathon. She managed to run 3:02:29 under extremely difficult conditions with temps reaching the 80’s towards the second half of her race. Complete results.

Big congrats to Cathrine for such a brave race and her coach Alicia Shay for preparing her so well to run under those conditions.

Boston Marathon Racing Tips

We asked Run SMART coaches Heidi Peoples and Ann Alyanak for some last minute Boston Marathon tips. Both coaches know the course well. Ann was 8th female overall at Boston in 2007 and Heidi ran 2:45 at Boston in 2010.

Heidi Peoples:  The Boston Marathon is an incredible event but can definitely be overwhelming. I felt like an ant in an anthill following crowds to the expo, church, subways, dinner, and even the hotel. Everyone seems like they are going the same place, doing the same things to prepare for the marathon. Mentally it can be exhausting! Since I ran in the elite field of women, my experience was a bit unique – no crowds at the start, and the field of women separated rather quickly. I went out fast to stay with a group, and paid for it at the end of the race.

Should The Boston Marathon Course Be Legal?

NYRR hosted a good debate about whether the Boston Marathon course should be legal for world-record purposes. As it stands the course is not legal because it’s point-to-point and its net elevation loss exceeds the IAAF’s limits. We asked some of our coaches to weigh in and it looks like they all agree with the current rule. Jack thinks without last year’s extreme tailwind, times would have been up to 5 minutes slower.

Jack Daniels:  Some years ago I calculated the benefit of the overall downhills of Boston and it was published in Runners World. I went as far as to calculate the time loss during various uphill segments and the gain of various downhill segments. I have a copy of that publication somewhere and will try to find it. Obviously when you see a picture of someone with long hair running Boston and their hair is being blown out in front of their face, they have a pretty good tailwind. I actually have data on the benefits of tailwinds of different velocities and headwinds of various velocities and no question headwinds hurt more than tailwinds help. Something I have always felt might be a good question to ask is what time do you think they would have run last year on Boston if the course had been run in the reverse direction — any guesses here? I would certainly think more than 5 minutes slower.

Amy Gordon Ready To Roll At Boston Marathon

Run SMART client Amy Gordon set a new half marathon PR under very difficult conditions. With wind gusts up to 20 and 30 mph Amy still managed to drop 1 minute and 20 seconds off of her personal best. Her official time was 1:33:40 (7:08 per mile). To put this performance into perspective, Amy averaged 7:16 per mile at the NYRR Gridiron Classic 4M in early February.

This is a great sign for Amy and her coach Vince Sherry with roughly one month to go until Amy’s goal race, The Boston Marathon.

Run Under The Influence Of Jack Daniels

Today officially marks 18-weeks to go until the 2012 Boston Marathon! Get an 18-week schedule designed by Jack and start training for your personal best! In honor of this mark we’re also excited to unveil the facelift we’ve given our new training plans page.