How I Trained for the Boston Marathon Running Three Days Per Week

DOWNLOAD THE FREE MARATHON TRAINING PLAN

I always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, so when Stonyfield approached me about running it, it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t refuse. I was only 3-months postpartum and running just a few miles at a time– often with lots of walking breaks mixed in– so I really didn’t think I could run 26.2 miles. Obviously, physically, it was going to be a challenge, but, as a brand new mom, making time to properly train definitely wasn’t going to be easy. In the end, it took a village for me to run the 2015 Boston Marathon, but what ultimately helped me run a good race was my training plan (linked below), which was provided to me by the running coach working with Stonyfield at the time.

Prior to beginning my 14-week marathon training plan, I was running at least two times per week with a jogging stroller (2-5 miles) and then once without, which was typically a longer 60 to 90-minute run. I also did KFIT/CrossFit classes 2-3 times per week.

My marathon training plan included three days devoted to running with a few days of cross-training mixed in. The runs were time-based and included a mix of long runs, medium-length tempo runs/Yassos/hill workouts, and shorter runs. The 3-times-per-week schedule allowed me to train without injury and in a way that didn’t require me to rearrange my entire life, which was especially important with a tiny baby. Basically, running 3 times per week was totally do-able, so I stuck with it and felt completely prepared for race day.

how-i-trained-for-the-boston-marathon-running-3-days-per-week

MY 14-WEEK MARATHON TRAINING PLAN

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 1 & 2

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 3 & 4

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 5 & 6

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 7 & 8

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 9 & 10

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 11 & 12

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 13 & 14

TIPS & ADVICE

COMMIT to your training plan

Obviously, this is easier said than done, but two things in particular helped me stick to my training plan. 1) Remember that race day is going to SUCK if you don’t train well. Running 26.2 miles is no joke. It’s hours and hours of time on your feet, and it’s going to be really rough if you’re not prepared for it (been there, done that). When you’re only running 3 days per week, every training run is important to your success on race day. 2) Do everything in your power to make committing to your plan possible and easier. More on this below…

Schedule your training runs and ask for help (if you need it) 

These two things went hand-in-hand for me since I was a new mom and couldn’t just head out to run whenever I wanted. To ensure that I stuck to my plan, I scheduled my runs on a shared Google calendar with my husband, so we were both on the same page when it came to my training. I also made sure to stick to a fairly consistent schedule each week, so my training didn’t take over our lives and my husband was still able to work out. For instance, on Tuesday nights, you could always find me running on the treadmill at KFIT (because there was 8+ feet of snow outside – no joke) while my husband watched our little guy at home. Again, fitting in my 3 training runs every week was essential.

Be aware of over-training

Even though I was only running 3 days per week, I ended up over-training at points during my marathon preparation. At one point, I was running three days a week and doing KFIT/CrossFit workouts three days a week, which was just too much for me. Thankfully, I didn’t get injured, but I constantly felt tired and sore. Obviously, this training schedule didn’t give me enough time to recover, so I listened to my body, took more rest days, and prioritized my running. I ended up cutting back on my KFIT/CrossFit workouts to twice a week and then just once a week during the really high mileage times in my training plan to ensure that my body was both happy and healthy.

ADDITIONAL POSTS OF INTEREST

My 2015 Boston Marathon Race Recap

4 Things I’m Doing to Prepare for Marathon Training

How to Balance Running and CrossFit

It Takes a Village (for Me) to Run a Marathon

Marathon Training: Why I Didn’t Gain Weight This Time

My Favorite Winter Running Gear

14 Comments

  1. Love this approach to training, thanks for sharing! Quality over quantity. I always thought I had to run a lot to get better but with triathlon training found out that less running works for me!

  2. Thank you for this post. I’m not training for a marathon but for my first race, a short 3k. I only run 2-3 times a week too and it makes me feel better that not EVERYONE advocates almost daily running.
    – Charmaine

  3. Hi everyone and Tina!
    I’ve been reading CNC for 9 months now. I am currently finishing my degree in accounting and in December my boyfriend and I are moving into a house together on the farm he will work at. We will live a minimum of 30 miles from any grocery store and roughly an hour and half drive to any city. I live in real Kansas! I want to know what items, food and other wise, you needed
    or found out the hard way what was needed. Any advice or stories are welcome! Which I just tried a chocolate Halo ice cream and I am in love!
    Thank you in advance!

  4. I hope you framed the photo of you running with the snowing coming down. That is one kick but photo and something to be proud of . Thank you for always staying so motivational & positive.

  5. I enjoyed reading this post. That’s good that you were able to modify your training schedule, that is important. Do you have any more tips for anyone planning on running a marathon? I’ve been researching, and have noticed that proper running shoes is important, as well as staying hydrated of course, and also doing a warm up and stretching before and after a marathon is important too. This also prevents injuries.

  6. Yeah, I will be doing my 1st marathon in May 2017. I completed a half marathon in October 2016. I am currently running about 2 days a week as I have taken a break since completing my half. I plan to start up again regularly running on s treadmill 3x a week in January 2017( as I live in DePere, WI which is basically Green Bay, WI). I am glad this is good plan. I know my goal is obtainable.

  7. I’ve always sort of been a minimal runner. I only put in the miles absolutely necessary for training. High mileage is not my thing. Good point on being committed, you definitely can’t be skipping runs when you only have a few each week!

  8. I’ve made the same mistake about over-training when working toward a race. I would do cross training and think it was okay since I wasn’t running. It never even crossed my mind that it was over-training, not over-running. I paid the price and injured myself (thank goodness you didn’t!), but it really did take a lot out of me. I learned my lesson though, and I may even be too cautious now 😛

  9. This was very helpful for me because I’m currently training for the Miami Marathon, on January 29, and used to over-train (luckily I never got injured). I recently started running just three days a week, 6 miles each day, and I feel like I’ve been improving without overdoing it. Commitment is also a crucial part of training for any race because it helps you focus on the goal. Thank you for sharing these tips.

  10. Great, Tina. Commitment is what that plays the role here. Once you set your mind you can do it. Lately, I’m falling in love with running with a pair Nike Airs.

    Nice update.

  11. Great. I appreciate your efforts. I also running to lose my weight actually. you definitely can’t be skipping runs when you only have a few each week! Thanks for sharing

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