The Boston Course (Hilly Marathon) Training Plan

by Coach Sandi Nypaver and Coach Sage Canaday

Plan Details

Distance: Marathon

Goal: 3:30 or faster

Weekly Volume Max: 65-80 miles / 100-130 km

Experience Level: Intermediate

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The goal of this plan is to allow you to run your best marathon possible Boston Marathon in 14 weeks time. The included Training Guide comes with an extra section with details about the elevation profile of the Boston Marathon course and how to tackle the hills.

If you are looking to run another BQ time and/or even a sub 3:30 or sub 2:45 marathon at Boston then this plan is for you!

Is This Plan for You?

This plan is structured for runners who will reach a peak mileage of somewhere between 65 to 80 miles (100 to 130km) a week. If you haven’t run a single week over 55 miles (90km) per week in your running career yet, we highly recommend that you take several months (or even a year) to build up your mileage base so you are consistently averaging at least 50 to 55 miles per week (90km) on a regular basis without any serious injury before starting this training program.

Also of note: It is highly recommended you start this plan after already training for 2-4 weeks (and not starting from 0 miles/km per week). Ideally you have been running atleast 40-50 miles (70-80km) already for at least 2 weeks, and those miles have all been very “Easy.” Don’t come into this program right after having raced a full marathon (and don’t start this program injured or burned-out). You want to start fresh with 2-4 weeks of Easy base mileage under your belt (and ideally 4-5 weeks before that you took a break from training/running). 

Screenshots from special section in our Training Guide (inside Boston Marathon Course info!):

What’s Included:

A 14-week calendar grid chart with every day specifically detailed with a training workout. Included in the plan’s weeks are inspirational quotes and mindset training tips. The plan progresses with periodized phases to build your fitness, speed and strength so that you peak for your goal race in 14 weeks time. Both US and Metric measurement versions of this plan are included!

The Higher Running Training Plan Guide covers everything you need to know to train intelligently and race your best. We’re very thorough so all your questions will be answered. Topics covered include:

  • A Boston specific section so you’re fully prepared for the course
  • Pre-run warm-up (video and written workout)
  • Core strength workout (video and written workout)
  • Terms and types of workouts (heart rate, pace, and effort guidance)
  • Pacing
  • What to do if you get sick or injured
  • What to do if you want to add in a “training race” from 5ks to ultras
  • Elevation gain and loss formula as well as how to include hills and mountains in your training
  • Cross-training
  • Race day planning with worksheet
  • How to make the training plan work for your personal schedule
  • How to get the most out of your training plan
  • Post-race advice

Also included is the Key Training Zone Intensity Chart that visually defines key workout efforts.

“I had a great day at Boston this year running 2:57:55, which was my first sub 3 result ever. I actually ran 1:21 in the little 13.1 race I did a few weeks prior (which was a PR I didn’t even plan on) without even pushing it much so I knew my fitness was there. This was also my first time running Boston.  I stayed conservative with my pacing plan but once I hit the first couple of Newton hills I knew that I had a lot more to give and finished strong with a ton of confidence. I’m a 40 year old guy who’s been running and doing triathlons for a while now.  I’ve tried a lot of plans and different strategies in the past and I’m usually around the 3:30-3:10 mark.  I honestly think your plan helped give me the breakthrough I needed and I just wanted to take a minute to let you two know that you’re great.” -Ryan K.

The Boston Course Specific (Hilly Marathon) Training Plan

Why our plans are different

This plan is derived from the theories and practices of the most legendary distance running coaches and exercise scientists from around the world: Arthur Lydiard, Jack Daniels, Renato Canova, and Peter Pfitzinger to name a few. Unlike other “cookie-cutter” training plans that just list mileage and a general pace, this Higher Running plan gives you essential specifics on how to do workouts at the right intensity for the most beneficial training stimuli. Furthermore, it does not follow a strict 7-day cycle (like most competitor’s plans), because at Higher Running we believe some workouts take longer to recover from and adapt to. Therefore sometimes recovery running days are extended and shortened appropriately to give you an ideal boost in fitness. Most other plans do not take this kind of periodization into consideration. Our Higher Running guideline gives you the information you need to make the plan more specific to your needs and the race you’re training for.

We realize that great coaching is both a science and an art – and we’ve used this philosophy (as well as knowledge gained from our own careers as runners) along with experience from coaching many others, to create a plan that emphasizes consistent, smart progression: A true Higher Running™ experience!

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