My 2018 Boston Marathon Training Plan


I finished the San Diego 50 Miler two weeks ago and I’m already training for the Boston Marathon!  If everything goes as planned, the 2018 race on Monday, April 16th will be my sixth running of the event.  My best time on the course was from the 2015 when I ran 3:25:58 (7:52 pace).

The Plan

Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning

Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning

Choosing or Creating a Plan. I’m going to stick with what’s been working for me lately and follow a plan in Advanced Marathoning, Second Edition by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas.  However this time, I’ll do the 12 week, 70-85 miles per week plan instead of the 18 week schedule.

Pick a Start Date.  The plan is 12 weeks.

I ran the 2018 San Diego 50 Miler on January 13th and thought I’d want two weeks of recovery after that race.  But, since I walked so much during that race, thought one week might be fine.

Start Date: Sunday, January 21st.


Plan Mini-Cycles.  Here are the training cycles for the plan:

Endurance: 4 weeks – Sunday, January 21st to Saturday, February 17th.
Lactate Threshold + Endurance: 3 weeks – Sunday, February 18th to Saturday, March 10th.
Race Preparation: 3 weeks – Sunday, March 11th to March 31st.
Taper: 2 weeks – Sunday, April 1st to Sunday, April 15th.

What’s the difference between the 12 week and the 18 week plan?  The 12 week plan is two weeks shorter in the endurance (four weeks instead of six) and the endurance plus lactate threshold (three weeks instead of five) phases; and then one week shorter in the race preparation (three weeks instead of four) and taper (two weeks instead of three) segments.

Schedule Tune-up Races: The schedule calls for two tune-up races two weeks apart during the “Race Preparation” cycle.  But, looking at the race calendars in RacePacket and RunWashington, I didn’t see any events that I wanted to run those weekends.  I found two races a little earlier in the schedule that seemed more interesting.

Sunday, March 4th – Reston 10 Miler.  I’ve done this race before and the gentle undulating course should be good training for the hills in Newton.

Sunday, March 18th – Shamrock Half Marathon.  I haven’t done this race but know it’s very popular with runners in the area.  It’s a long drive, but since it’s on a Sunday, I can manage it.

(My complete racing schedule is here)

Set a Race Goal.  I squeaked under 3:30 (8:01 pace) at the 2017 New York City Marathon by running 3:28:53 (7:59 pace).  If I can run sub-3:30 again in Boston, I might try to go under 3:25 when I run the New York City Marathon again in the fall.  But with the compressed schedule, I’m wondering if sub-3:30 is a reach.

Achievable Goal: Sub-3:34 (8:11 pace).

Other Thoughts

I’m not a huge fan of the course Boston Marathon.  I’d rather have hills spread out, like New York City, rather than having them all bunched up in Newton.  It would be wise for me to do some hill training so I can go into that section of the course with more confidence.


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