Challenges of Boston: Part 1

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You’re qualified for Boston, great! Now what? If you got that coveted acceptance email from the BAA, then congratulations! Well earned! The question, which might not seem so evident is, “Now what?” We all know that Boston is not just another marathon, especially if it is your first time. However, with that being said, sometimes we approach it like in order to succeed we need to go way bigger than we have- more training, faster paces, bigger workouts. The truth is, it lies somewhere in the middle. It might take more work, it just might take more specific work. The bottom line is that training for Boston offers a set of unique challenges in your training. If we address them now, well before the training starts, then we can make a plan and overcome those challenges. 

Today’s challenge is the timing of the start of training. An 18-week plan puts you in the beginning of December, so right after Thanksgiving and right at the startup of the holiday season. If you wait until 14 weeks out, you’d start up after the first of the year. For a lot of people, this is tough for a number of reasons. The other factor you have is that a lot of people are coming off a fall marathon segment and are maybe lacking the motivation to jump right back into hard training. 

That’s not a great set of scenarios for some people with 1) having a lot of opportunity to overindulge on some great food and drink. Then, followed, by reduced training coming back from an already grueling segment, and 3) starting the holiday season when stress levels tend to skyrocket. That’s not a good trifecta. Let’s address each of these items. 

Indulging over the holidays isn’t a bad thing. Enjoy your time with friends and family. If you sacrificed over the summer and early fall, this might be good for you. Just have a plan going into these things. Sample what you want, and enjoy the atmosphere. If you go off the rails, don’t starve yourself to make it up, or go and do an extra 60 minutes on the stair stepper. Do your best to just get back on a healthy eating schedule and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it the next day. 

The worst is saying to yourself that you’ll get your workout in, but then you get out of work and you find yourself easily talked out of it. I can’t stress this enough, but if you aren’t a morning runner, I’d become one if at all possible. It just sets your whole day up better and then you don’t have those feelings of anxiety if you are trying to squeeze it in before work and other commitments. You don’t feel guilty if you go to that get-together after work and eat a little more than you planned. Ultimately,I really feel like it gives you much more freedom throughout the day. 

Luckily, even if you start an official schedule 18 weeks out, most people interested in this is already pretty consistent runner. As I mentioned, you might be coming off a fall marathon segment and chances are, most of you are coming off some sort of fall racing cycle. With that said, in December, even if on an 18-week plan, the first several weeks are primarily focused on basic things like hills, long runs, and short MP work. Nothing in that holiday timeframe screams that I have to be 100% on my game to complete. A lot of it is really, for lack of a better term, just getting out there and going through the motions. 

At the end of the day, it can be a stressful month. The biggest adjustment I would push for everyone possible is to become an early morning runner. If you aren’t, it definitely takes an adjustment period, but this is the perfect time to do that. Otherwise, the schedule shouldn’t be hard enough for the majority of people where it is something that will offset any fitness you will have in April. If you need to move things around, move them around! If you only run 5 days instead of 6 on the occasional week, not nothing to adjust your goals over. 

However, while December is lenient, you should do everything you can to be in a position to hit January running, pun intended. 

Moving away from our first challenge, the primary challenges that await us are 

The winter months and the course itself. We’ll hit those over the next couple of posts. 
We are offering a Boston Marathon Training Group, starting December 2, 2023, and we’d love for you to be a part of it. For full details or to sign up, please visit us:

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