Boston Webinar Series

Welcome!

Click the “play” button below to watch (or re-watch) the webinar.

Webinar #3: April 3, 2018

 

If you have questions, either during the webinar or while watching the replay, just post them as a comment below and I’ll answer them as quickly as I can.

McMillan Race Weekend Events:

SATURDAY APRIL 14, 2018

  • 9:00am: SHAKE OUT RUN – 20-30 minute easy run (after watching the BAA 5K). Location: Meet at Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River (no storage available) (Map)
  • 11:30-1:30pm: UCAN Clinic with me, Meb and Dathan Ritzenhein Location: Westin Boston Waterfront (near expo) (Map)
  • 3:00-5:00pm: ATHLETE MEETINGS – Request meeting

SUNDAY APRIL 15, 2018

  • 8:30am: SHAKE OUT RUN – 20-30 minute easy run. Location: Tracksmith (bag drop available) (Map)
  • 1:00pm: PRE-RACE CLINIC – I’ll give my final race day instructions (and a little pre-race pep talk). Location: Run Janji Pop Up Marathon Store on Seaport Blvd (near expo) (Map) – First 100 runners through the door receive a free Janji Gift bag
  • 4:00pm-5:30pm: ATHLETE MEETINGS – Request Meeting

MONDAY APRIL 16, 2018

  • 10:00am: BOSTON MARATHON START
  • 4:30pm: POST-RACE MEET UP – RSVP

 

Webinar Resources (in order they appear in the webinar):

McMillan Marathon Peaking Plans – If you want some ideas of the last two weeks of training, here are my plans.

Surviving the Marathon Freak Out – My latest book on how to get ready for a peak marathon performance.

Marathon Recovery Plan – Use this free plan to optimally recover after Boston so you don’t lose all your fitness.

Marathon Inspiration Video – Want to get race ready? Watch this inspiring video of Boston legends, the Hoyts.

 

Webinar #2: March 13, 2018

 

If you have questions, either during the webinar or while watching the replay, just post them as a comment below and I’ll answer them as quickly as I can.

Webinar Resources (in order they appear in the webinar):

Official Boston Marathon Course Map – Study this frequently!

Marathon Pacing Video – Remember: Boston is about EVEN pacing unlike flat courses.

McMillan Marathon Peaking Plans – If you want some ideas of the last two weeks of training, here are my plans.

Surviving the Marathon Freak Out – My latest book on how to get ready for a peak marathon performance.

 

Webinar #1: February 15, 2018

If you have questions, either during the webinar or while watching the replay, just post them as a comment below and I’ll answer them as quickly as I can.

Webinar Resources (in order they appear in the webinar):

The Marathon Long Run – You learn about the two essentials types of long runs for marathoners.

Long Run How-To Video – More detail on the fast finish long run.

Speed Work for Marathoners – Add some fast running to your marathon training.

The McMillan Running Calculator – Insert your tune-up race results to predict your marathon time.

Fueling Strategies for the Marathon – Learn about the 3 common types of marathon fueling routines.

Official Boston Marathon Course Map – Study this frequently!

McMillan Prehab Routines – Build a strong body ready for Bostons’ course.

5 Proven Marathon Long Runs – Includes the recommend Squire’s long run.

3 Great Marathon Predictor Workouts – Details on how to run a Yasso 800 workout.

Progression Runs – Fully detail on different types of progression runs.

The McMillan Boston Training Series – This series of articles walks you through my training for Boston.

McMillan PRO RunKit – Individualized recommended workouts you can insert into your training plan.

McMillan Boston Training Plans – I built my downhill marathon plans specifically for the unique Boston course.

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115 Comments.

  • If you have questions, either during the webinar or while watching the replay, just post them here and I’ll answer them as quickly as I can.

    • Jennifer P Williams
      February 28, 2018 9:37 pm

      Thanks Greg for great advice, I’m very interested in how to potentially deal with unexpected heat & dehydration I saw last year, I know the weather can be unpredictable but for my first last year I was shocked how hot it was for wave 3! I felt lucky I train in Georgia but what do you recommend for salt/ potassium intake and fluids? I don’t want to stop! Last year I saw people cramping badly. Thanks!

      • Greg McMillan
        March 1, 2018 6:10 am

        Yes. Spring/Fall marathons are becoming hotter more frequently so adjusting pace is critical. Most runners fail in hot Boston’s because they won’t adjust for the heat. They are dead set on running their (good weather) goal time so they run too fast for conditions and suffer because of it.

        I simply use my Heat Adjustment Calculator (feature in McMillan PRO) to calculate the adjustment needed for the temperature/humidity on race day and that sets the new goal time. Then, runners must search for shade, drink more and use this new pace (or even slower if the weather continues to get hotter and hotter). While many still suffer because they have been training in the cold, it at least gives them a fighting chance at a positive race (though a slow one).

  • Hi everyone! Welcome to the webinar. I’m taking questions here so as you have them, post them and I’ll answer as quickly as possible.

  • In case of dizziness and fatigue while running what type of food should we prefer.

    • You might look at your diet for before running. Maybe you need to eat more in the 2-3 hours before the run or even have a light snack 30-60 minutes before you run to see if that helps. You shouldn’t feel dizzy while running. If you do, it’s often nutrition related. If not, then you’d want to see a physician.

  • Quick note: If your playback pauses (buffering) or fails, just restart and move forward in the webinar to pick up where you left off.

  • Birgit Maier-Katkin
    February 16, 2018 2:52 am

    Thank you for an excellent webinar. I will start to work on your downhill strategies.

    • You bet! Let’s just gradually begin to introduce some downhill focus and over the next 8 weeks, you’ll easily build a strong body that is ready for Boston.

  • For 3hours marathoners, the long run should be as long as 3:30 hours? At a pace of 5 min/km, that will be 42km. Is that correct?

    • A good rule of thumb (though it can vary by athlete) is for a 3 hour marathoner to run between 3:00:00 and 3:30:00 for the longest long run. If the appropriate long run pace is 5:00/km then that would be a maximum long run of 36-42K. This range is wide and allows the athlete to adjust based on his runner type (speedsters usually do better on the short end of the range and endurance monsters usually do better on the long end of the range, combo runners somewhere in the middle ~38-40K). The runner would also adjust based on what he feels he needs for the race – more endurance, more leg strength or not – and his injury history/risk – run shorter if he feels he has an injury coming on or is susceptible. Again, this is the maximum long run and not the required length for every single long run in the training plan.

      • Thanks for the guidance! I really enjoyed your webinar. I am aiming for sub 3:05 at Boston. My longest runs have been 20 miles (2:40 to 2:47 duration). Would it be better to extend my final 20 miler (5 weeks out) to 22-24 miles or focus instead on pace and building to strong finish for 20? I have a great base, but not a puppy any more and recovery is not what it used to be.

        • You mention a great base so if you feel you have the endurance but just need the stamina then keep the 20 milers as you have them but try to get in 1-2 fast finish long runs (15-17 miles with the last part fast like I described). As you mention, everything is a balance between the training stress and the time it takes to recover. For me, endurance is the issue so I have to have the really long, long runs to get marathon ready. Others need more work on pushing hard when tired (fast finish long runs). It’s really about what you feel you need and then trying to address it in the last few weeks in a way that will keep you injury free and confident.

      • Paola Murcia
        March 14, 2018 5:00 pm

        Oh I also want to know this. What would be the recommended longest long run range of time for a 3:30 marathoner? I’ve always done at least 3:30. My goal this year in Boston is to PR (BQ 3:27)

  • Great webinar. My challenge is downhill. I liven Florida and while I try and get out to the bridges at least once a week I am hard pressed to get a downhill much longer than about 600m. Likewise they do not fit into long runs well. Oh well, at least I am not training in snow and ice 😉

    • Just do the best with what you have. Frequent exposure to the bridges will serve you well.

  • Thank you for posting your Boston Marathon webinar.

    As you know, much of the training for Boston (and other spring marathons) occurs during inclement weather over the winter months. This, of course, often means a notable amount of planned training workouts must be spent on the treadmill. While workouts are usually easy to adapt to the treadmill, please, if possible, discuss the “mental preparedness and confidence” element so important in maintaining an accurate progress perspective throughout the marathon training cycle (when training sessions become relegated to the treadmill).

    Thanks!

    • Most of us definitely find that treadmill training builds mental toughness! And hopefully, you can get outside for a few of the long runs, goal pace runs and tune up races to put the finishing touches on your mental preparedness for race day.

  • Fantastic Webinar!
    Would you recommend add one or two FFLR to the longest long runs? Or you just go with the steady pace, and leave the FFLRs for the “regular long runs”?

    • No. I think they should be separate workouts as the purpose is different for each. The long, steady run is about a regular running pace and you simply try to fatigue yourself with the duration of the long run. We want to go at the regular easy run pace so we get more aerobic efficiency training (aka fat burning) and if we run too fast in those, we change the energy contribution ratio. I think the longest long run should be just a regular long run pace. The fast finish long runs are better for a shorter distance and we then try to fatigue yourself with the pace at the end. This fully drains the glycogen stores and provides a big mental challenge. The body responds with greater mental toughness and the ability to really “up” the intensity when tired.

      • And again, you only need 1-3 fast finish long runs (like the example). If you do more, you often peak too soon for the race.

  • Hi Greg,
    Just a quick thanks for the webinar, I’m running London not Boston (yet!) and I’m following your London plan through Strava. But, there were some great tips there for me, thanks again.

    • Great! I’ll have the London Marathon pre-race video ready (with Olympian Andrew Lemoncello who was 8th in London a few years ago) in time for the race.

  • Hi Greg! Great information! what are your thoughts on splitting your runs. 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon? I have bad knees so trying not to demolish them and make it to the start line.

    • Yes. While not quite the same stimulus, it is perfectly fine to break up the runs if that’s the only way you can get in your volume. I’ll do that sometimes if time is tight or my legs are grumpy. You will have to play around with the volume in each run but do what you need to to get to the starting line healthy.

  • THANKS for all the information Greg. Always beneficial.

  • Christian (Quebec city)
    February 16, 2018 6:48 pm

    Hello, Thanks for those amazing resources! I’m wondering what you think about the long run as prescribed by Daniels 2Q marathon plan (if you know it): he doesn’t include really long run (maximum 30k) and he almost always include some section of those long run (twice a week) at tempo or marathon pace (witch I find similar to your FFLR). Is it conflicting with the fat burning target of your regular LR? Thanks!!

    • Obviously, this answer is for advanced runners based on that volume level.

      I find it depends on the runner. I find Daniels plans to work really well with endurance monster type runners as it really fits their wheelhouse. In theory, they are already good fat burners so it’s about efficiency at goal pace/threshold and the plans have a lot of that in them. Speedsters seem to struggle with the frequent and extensive tempo and goal pace running.

      And, most all runners seem to struggle at the end of marathons so I like having a bit longer long runs to develop resistance (or at least exposure to) this level of fatigue. That way, when it happens in the marathon, it’s not an unusual thing because you’ve done some longer running.

      Daniels does have 2 potential 20 milers (or 2:30:00 duration) E pace runs in the plan as you mention so there is some longer runs at a regular effort but his focus is more on quality within the quantity of the Q sessions.

      And it’s hard to argue with his success. He is after all THE Jack Daniels who Runner’s World called the World’s Greatest Coach so if the plan is working, I wouldn’t change anything. I just have a slightly different approach to long runs but, as you would suspect, owe a great deal to Coach Daniels for all that he has taught us younger coaches.

      • Thanks! I realy appreciate your answer. If you are curious about the context of my question and the relation I had with your coaching Here’s waht I cans say. In my first marathon (2 years ago), I follow precisely your 4-5 days plan in your book (almost always the maximum in the propose ranges). I hit the wall in the marathon but I make some strategic mistakes (2 accelerations: one to cath up somebody in the middle – for drafting, but he was too slow… finaly- and the other for following somebody who passed me at the end -around 32k- for a couple km while I was starting to hit the wall). I learned a lot with your book and your web resources! I’m trying Daniels now, but it is hard on the body…! I think I won’t be able to follow all the 2Q plan… Even if my weekly milage was already the targeted one befor the beginning of the plan.

  • Christian (Quebec city)
    February 16, 2018 6:51 pm

    (little precision: my example is for a 56-70 miles weekly runner. But I think those long run are not much longer for a runner averaging more weekly volume)

  • Hi Greg. Really enjoyed this. Lots of great info. Just wondering about fast finish long runs. What would you say are the minimum and maximum distances for these? I’ve got two 20-milers and a 22-miler coming up and am concerned these may be too long for fast finishes especially as I’m running up to 10 miles at goal pace the day before. Thanks so much, and looking forward to the next webinar!

    • 18 miles is the longest I’ve ever prescribed but I think 15-17 miles is a real sweet spot for most runners. That said, that is after an easy day and not doing 10 miles at goal pace the day before. That will significantly change the workout and the long-term fatigue so you might either just stick with your original plan or skip the goal pace run the day before and use the fast finish long run as the workout.

  • Kristina Stabile
    February 16, 2018 8:59 pm

    I really enjoyed your webinar. I am not running Boston, however I am running a full marathon in November here in my state. This would be my first full marathon. Best half time is 2:05. My goal is to finish around the 4 hour mark, I would like to start my training soon like within the next month, Florida is pretty flat maybe just some bridge hills. The race is not till end of November but want to have plenty of time to train even if I do the training more than once. What if any are your suggestions.

  • Christine Goldman
    February 16, 2018 10:36 pm

    Thank you very much Coach Greg. I have a signed copy of your ‘You’ book from the expo one year. I actually am so fortunate to live right next to the Boston course here in Brookline MA so got those training logistics covered. Been a qualified runner for many years (and also run for charity) I am 50 years old and I am doing quite well in my women’s age group. My question is: do “older” runners have to say goodbye to their faster times, if we perform essentially our same training as always? With respect to the Boston course, do I need to spend even more time strengthening my legs than I used to? Do I need to put more emphasis on speed training so as to make up for decline in VO2 max? Thank you.

    • Lucky you to live near the course!

      Older runners are all different these days. For example, I set all my PRs when I was in my teens and 20s and ran decently fast so I know that I won’t approach those time. BUT, that’s what age grading is for. You can see how you are doing compared to your younger self.

      Other runners, however, didn’t start running till later and are setting PRs in their 50s so it really just comes down to so many factors.

      Ultimately, I find successful older runners:

      1) Spread out the quality sessions to have a bit more recovery time.
      2) Do quality sessions (don’t stop doing fast running is the lesson)
      3) Race frequently.
      4) Take advantage of improved running economy (VO2max may decline but running economy is what we hang our hats on)
      5) Do a ton more prehab and cross training (Taking care of the body becomes a full time job!)

      If you can do some training on the course, you will be in great shape to handle the downhills and as long as you have a nice balanced training plan, you should optimize all your fitness and be race ready.

  • Thanks for a great webinar! Where I live it’s: 1) very cold and a lot of snow. 2) very flat. That, as a combination, makes the specific downhill-training a challange. The treadmill at my gym are adjustable down to a -3% grade. Do you think it’s a good idea to do downhill workouts on the treadmill if the real deal is not possible or is downhill on a treadmill very different from downhill outdoors? If you think that the treadmill is an option, what do you think is the appropriate downhill grade for these runs?

    • Yes! I think that’s a great solution. I’d just play around with the grade (positive and negative) during runs as if you were outside on rolling terrain. 1-2% down is very doable for runners. -3 gets pretty steep so just listen to your body and ease into some downhill on the treadmill. Again, I wouldn’t set it at a decline and run continuously. Rather, I’d treat it as a changing stress so some inclines and declines.

  • Thanks Greg, that was the most comprehensive webinar on Boston (or running for that matter) I’ve heard in my 14 years of running. Having studied your work for 10 years and bought your custom training plan and coaching (Coach Kelly), I knew your material well but was still inspired by your webinar.

    2018 will be my 14th consecutive Boston Marathon (2014 2:59pb). My goal is to break 3:00 again after a couple slower and warmer years around 3:14.

    I train almost exclusively on the Boston Marathon Treadmill which can simulate the course by video and grade (including down to -5%) automatically. I can change the BMTM pace but the video runs at the leader’s pace ~5:00/mi vs my 6:45/mi.
    (eg the whole 26 miles take ~2:15)

    1. Is it ok to just train using the BMTM video (I do for my long runs) knowing the hills are shorter than reality (eg Heartbreak Hill only takes 5:00)?
    Should I maybe repeat the Newton Hill section 2x?

    2. Is it OK to do my long run every week on the Boston Marathon Treadmill course (ie. Have a hilly long run every week even on the FFLR and LSD)?
    Or should I do a flat long run every other week?

    Thanks again for all your expertise!

    Freddie So

    • That is awesome! You will certainly be well prepared physically and mentally.

      Definitely great to train using it and I don’t think it matters if the hills are shorter. Over time, the strength builds.

      Since you can change the grade automatically, it’s certainly fine to do your long runs on the treadmill course. You might do the fast finish ones outside to you get a feel for you generating race pace rather than the treadmill.

  • Do you suggest to use negative split in Boston ?

    • I will go into detail on race strategy in the next webinar but for Boston I recommend an even split. More later…

  • Greg,

    Thanks putting together this Boston webinar. In the discussion you talk about the Squires Boston Beaters wher you mix in surges for every other long run. If I am following one of your plans (which I am), would it be over doing it to try this during some of my tradional long runs that are part of the plan? Knowing that I am doing something with a little more effort on the other long runs (progression run or fast finish). I feel as good as I have ever during a marathon training cycle. I like The idea of giving this a try, but don’t want to over stress. What do you think?

    Best,

    Pete

    • You bet! If you are feeling good about your long runs then have fun throwing in some surges on your long, easy runs.

  • What about jumping in a couple tune up races (i.e. Half Marathon, 15k)? What are your thoughts about using that as tune ups pre- Marathon?

  • Ralph Villavicencio
    February 18, 2018 6:17 am

    I hope to do the New York City Marathon in Nov 2018. What would you recommend for training? Is it any different than the Boston Marathon?

    • You’d want to use my hilly marathon plan for NYC. Totally different type of course that Boston.

  • Kimberlee Henling
    February 19, 2018 1:36 am

    Hi Greg, thanks for the informational webinar. You are awesome! I am going to run a half marathon 7 weeks out from Boston. How hard can I push it in that race without sabotaging my Boston marathon training? Should I do a taper the week before, and a reverse taper the week after, or just keep my Boston marathon training plan about the same? Thanks!

    • You should think about what you need/want from it. The usual options are:

      1) Race all out (get a performance check and predictor)
      2) Run it as a fast finish long run
      3) Run it as goal pace run

      All are great but it just depends on what you feel you want and need to help you prepare. if it’s #1, then definitely taper down for 2-3 days and then reverse taper for 2-3 days. #2 & #3 require less change.

  • An often overlooked topic in any training plan is pacing strategy. Many resources suggest running slightly slower than average race pace to start, then speed up to compensate. And most average runners will certainly not run a negative split. Will you be discussing pace strategy in more detail later? Professor Barry Smyth has analyzed pacing data from over 26000 runners at the 2017 Boston Marathon to try and shed light on a successful pacing plan: https://medium.com/running-with-data/pacing-yourself-in-boston-89f6f9a6e101
    I would be interested to know what your recommendations are based on your years of experience. Thanks

  • I’ll be running a half-marathon in 4 weeks and I joined a race (of the same distance) next week. Will 2-3 weeks be enough for recovery? I am now thinking of not joining the race because I am afraid of not being able to recover immediately and I might get injuries too. Any advice?

    • Sounds like your inner coach is suggesting you skip it and the inner coach is nearly always right.

  • Aundrea Sebjanic
    February 26, 2018 1:58 am

    Hi Greg, thanks for the informative webinar. I finally was able to do a long run outside today! I’ve been stuck on a treadmill for weeks (it’s been chilly in Calgary); however, I’m able to race the course virtually via ifit (so cool!) Fairly confident on downhills, I do a lot of core and strength training but find knees are more sore than usual. Any advice? Also, how much shorter should FFLR be? Should they be done on lower LSD volume weeks (15-25% shorter as suggested?) Thanks in advance.

    • It sounds like you should get with a physiotherapist or personal trainer to address your knee issues. Maybe just some targeted strength training will help.

      I like 15-18 total miles for the fast finish long runs and they don’t have to be on lower volume weeks but you do need to respect the recovery time after. See the marathon long run article for details.

  • hi Greg, when running downhill, do we try to stay at race pace or do we let gravity takes down a bit faster than race pace? Thank you for the advice

    • Greg McMillan
      March 5, 2018 6:40 am

      I will address specific pacing for the different parts of the Boston course in Webinar #2 on the 13th of March. Stay tuned…

  • Paola Murcia
    March 13, 2018 6:05 pm

    I’m using Stryd now. Would you say that running at constant power is a match to your suggested strategy for Boston? (pickup downhill -with good form-, make sure uphill is more conservative for power)

    • Greg McMillan
      March 13, 2018 6:08 pm

      You’ll have to experiment on Boston-like courses in training but I wouldn’t think that would work. I would suspect the power would have to go way up on the hills, otherwise you will slow a lot. But again, you might have to experiment in training on Boston-type runs to see how power varies with terrain and how that matches with effort and goal pace.

    • Paola Murcia
      March 13, 2018 6:11 pm

      I should say, avoid picking up at the start as you just mentioned but maybe later?

    • Good Question Paola. I have the same one. While I don’t run with a Stryd, I do try to keep an even intensity, letting myself slow considerably going uphill and speeding up downhill, and have always felt that the Boston course, with all the uphill in the 2nd half lends itself to a planned positive split. Greg’s advice counters that- saying go easier on the downhills and work harder on the up. This goes against exercise physiology which penalizes you with increased fatigue for time spent above your optimal race intensity. Although- Greg’s advice is a conservative, less risky plan. Greg- your thoughts?

      • Greg McMillan
        March 15, 2018 2:33 pm

        You are correct. I disagree with that strategy. Exercise physiology, neuroscience and psychology shows that running fast on the downhills causing excess muscle damage (and associated glycogen leakage) leads to a severe slow down on the uphills (and loss of much of the time “banked” early), particularly because if the effort isn’t raised on the hills after all the downhills, the pace really slows. Then, the runner lacks the ability to take advantage of the downhill finish as the muscles won’t operate well and the brain will send extra fatigue sensations and the muscle glycogen stores are depleted. That leads to a challenging mental situation in the last few miles and more slowing.

        The vast majority of runners are much better off running an even pace and not using a “banking time” positive split.

        • Great feedback Greg. Thank you. I’m down for following your advice for Boston.

  • Paola Murcia
    March 13, 2018 6:12 pm

    Agreed. The uphill should be higher, downhill lower power but with a little balance yes. Got it.

  • Paola Murcia
    March 13, 2018 6:21 pm

    What is a good description of Boston-like hills like Part 1 and Part 3?
    Part 1 looks like 300ft of drop on 4mi.
    Part 3 hills look like 75-100ft gains on 0.2-0.4mi (3-5% grade?)

    • Greg McMillan
      March 13, 2018 6:26 pm

      Here is a detailed description of the elevation changes by mile: http://archive.boston.com/sports/marathon/course/elevations/

    • Paola Murcia
      March 13, 2018 6:39 pm

      Mile 16 to 21 hills look somewhat similar. One could pick a hill and repeat it 4 times for practice… I might try find one nearby. Would you recommend doing this on any kind of long run (fast finish or regular?) or more on a weekday easy run? in the upcoming 2 weeks?

      • Greg McMillan
        March 13, 2018 7:28 pm

        Yes. I’d do it first in an easy run or two and then a regular long runs and then if you feel fast so you don’t need speed from the fast finish long runs, then you can do them as part of your fast finish run (though again, I think running faster and pushing harder on regular terrain is best for most runners). Power is a new metric so some practice will be important for you to learn just how to use it to achieve your goal time.

        • Paola Murcia
          March 14, 2018 5:08 pm

          I agree. Thank you!!! I don’t think I’m ready to not look at pace and focus on power yet. I’m still learning an I’m a BIG believer of the fast finish training you have provided me with so I’m sticking to your recommended strategy

  • Please can you do this for other marathons……Paris would be good as im running it in a couple of weeks time haha. Then maybe cover all the majors.

    Wish id seen this before id run Boston.

  • What strength w/Outs would u recommend for marathon training at gym or home

  • Stefan Aberg
    March 14, 2018 1:11 pm

    Thanks for another great webinar! My marathon training was going great, I was hitting my goal paces in workouts and I was feeling good until a little over three weeks ago when my knee suddenly started hurting a bit. Turns out I’ve got an inflammation of the cartilage in the knee. So now I haven’t been able to run a step for three weeks. I’ve been doing basically the same workouts, timewise and intensitywise as I had planned, but instead of running, I’ve been doing the workouts on the elliptical or aqua jogging. And before I was injured I’ve been running consistently between 50-70 miljes per week the last year with a lot of long rungs in the 30k-range. So I think my fitness is still strong, but of course I’ve missed some of the biggest weeks of running to prepare for Boston.
    Now my knee feels good, and hopefully I can start running again in the end of this week.
    So now to my questions:
    1) With just over four weeks to go and with the background I described – how do you think I should adjust the last few weeks of training to be as prepared as possible? Should I try to get a few more tempo runs in and delay the taper a bit or should I just jump back on the training program i was following? Any key workout you think I should do to get my running legs back?
    2) My goal, pre injury, was to run sub 2.50 if the conditions were to be good on race day. My training was going really good and 2.50 really seemed possible. How much do you think I should adjust my goalpace down?

  • Thanks Greg. Another great webinar!
    1. Should Fast Finish Long Runs be done on Boston similar course or flat?

    2. I listened to your recent ‘Is it ok to swtich workouts video’. From your Boston plan, is it OK to switch
    a. Hill Repeats from week 8 to week 7
    b. Yasso’s from week 8 to week 9, and
    c. Tempo Intervals from Week 7 to Week 8?

    3. How to know what training paces to run at if I mostly race triathlons and the only run race I do is Boston each year (14 straight years) ie. don’t have a recent run race time to plug into your calculator. Eg. Aiming for sub 3:00 (have done 2:59 in 2014, but ~3:15 last 3 years). I am currently hitting 3:00 training paces easily (even on fast finish long runs and Yassos) and even slightly increasing paces as I feel good. How would I know what would my race day potential pace should be?

    • Greg McMillan
      March 16, 2018 6:41 am

      1) I’d do the first 1-2 fast finish long runs on flat courses so you really run fast at the end and learn to really suffer while running fast in the last 1-2 miles.

      Then, It depends on what you feel you need. If you need practice running downhill, then choose a downhill course for the entire run. If you need practice running fast and suffering more at the end, then choose a course that is flat. If you need help pushing on hills, then choose a route that finishes on hilly terrain. If you want to mimic the finish of Boston then add hills in the middle and a downhill finish.

      There is no right or wrong but a lot of training is figuring out where your weaknesses are and setting up the training routes to help you work on those.

      2) Yes. You can always move workouts around. Just use common sense and obey your stress/rest cycle. Never put workouts close together where they compromise each other. Any workout that is compromised shows that the stress/rest cycle wasn’t in balance.

      3) If your goal is sub 3:00 and you are able to hit paces for that, then stick with it and then let the results from the workouts guide you. If the paces start to feel very, very easy and you are running faster than the fast end of the range, then bump up the paces a bit. The workouts (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/3-great-marathon-predictor-workouts/) will tell you what a good race day pace should be.

  • Jim McLaughlin
    March 14, 2018 3:56 pm

    Coach,
    Super webinars! I ran Boston in 2017 and plan on again in 2019. What is the best way to deal with the crowded roads? I was amazed at how tight the running is for the first few miles, it felt impossible to stride normally without hitting the person in front, or get bumped from behind. And unlike other races it really did not thin out very soon.

    • Greg McMillan
      March 15, 2018 2:00 pm

      I’m not sure there is an answer. Mostly, it’s about scanning ahead so you can spot openings and also bottlenecks and try to find some space.

    • Jim, I’ve raced Boston 13 straight years and there is no space for the entire race, and very crowded until Framingham when the road widens a bit (at the train station). Always looks ahead and before moving left or right always check your blind spots, just like driving. I run the tangents (take the shortest route) on the curves, but with so many turns, you undoubtedly will have to run a little faster or slower to ‘fit’ into any openings, especially in the first 10+k. I’ve had people clip me and trip me, take off a shoe, knock my watch right off. It’s a herd of cattle running the same way for 26 miles. Just stay calm and stick to your plan.

  • From McMillan Boston plan Week 7:
    Tempo Intervals. Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy jogging, then run 3-4 times 2-3 miles at tempo interval pace with 3-4 minutes of jogging.

    So if feeling good, this run can go up to 4x 3 miles = 12 miles (a 4:00/k pace = 80 minutes) of tempo?
    Seems alot longer than your straight tempo run of 35-50 minutes in Week 9.
    Just want to make sure.

    And is it OK to move this Tempo Interval run to Week 8, 2 days before Fast Finish Long Run?

    • Greg McMillan
      March 15, 2018 1:58 pm

      Yes but it is very unlikely that a runner would do the workout that way. Maybe a a level 4 advanced runner might but most runners won’t be doing the maximum volume.

      I would not do that workout right before a fast finish long run. Both are critical workouts so you want to have space around them so you are fresh for them.

  • Thanks for another very informative Webinar!!

  • Hi Greg,

    To clarify, do you advise running fast finish and goal pace runs on hilly courses that mimic the Boston course? Or on flatter terrain? I would think the former would work on downhill running and power, at perhaps a slower overall pace, and that the latter would work more on “speed” and maximal pacing. Thoughts?

    • Greg McMillan
      March 15, 2018 2:27 pm

      It depends on what you feel you need. If you need practice running downhill, then choose a downhill course for the entire run. If you need practice running fast and suffering more at the end, then choose a course that is flat. If you need help pushing on hills, then choose a route that finishes on hilly terrain. If you want to mimic the finish of Boston then add hills in the middle and a downhill finish.

      There is no right or wrong but a lot of training is figuring out where your weaknesses are and setting up the training routes to help you work on those.

  • Greg, further to the Boston pacing webinar, since you recommend to even split the race, what pace or effort should the Newton hills be run?
    Should we maintain average marathon pace on the uphills and downhills, or slower than Marathon pace even with increased effort on the uphills and ease effort but let gravity pull us downhill at a faster than Marathon pace. So in the end hopefully the uphills and downhills average out to Marathon pace?
    For effort, I have usually run most Newton Hills at 7-8/10 uphill with Heartbreak Hill usually 8-9 because it is last and the longest. Does that sound like correct effort?
    Thanks and looking forward to meeting up with you. Any times and locations for the meet ups yet?

    • Greg McMillan
      March 26, 2018 6:58 am

      You may slow slightly on the uphills through the Newton hills so don’t worry too much about that but I like your effort ratio. The slowing for most runners is 10-20 seconds per mile but it varies based on how good of an uphill runner the runner is (and how smart you’ve run the first 16 miles). Some good uphill runners won’t lose any time. That 30-60 seconds lost on the uphills is easily made up on the fast downhill finish so you arrive at the finish in your goal time.

      I’m finalizing the exact locations/times for the weekend and will have them by the next webinar.

  • Greg, a question relating to hill training during taper phase. When do you suggest phasing out very hilly courses and goal pace/tempo work on hills? Trying to strike a balance between resting the muscles for the race while keeping them sharp enough so they don’t feel stale or atrophied on the descent from Hopkinton. Thanks as always.

    • Greg McMillan
      March 29, 2018 7:50 am

      I would avoid the very hilly courses and workouts on hills in the peaking phase. You’ve already built that so now it’s time to freshen up. The key sessions in the peaking phase will keep the legs ready and the workouts on flat courses will be fun and confidence-building.

  • Last year, on April 3rd, 10-day forecast for Boston said “Partly Cloudy, 54F, WNW wind 10 to 15 mph”. It turned out to be 87F…so I’m training for a warm day just in case. I figure it would be easier to re-adjust to colder weather than to hotter one. We are also expecting rain over the weekend. Perhaps a good practice opportunity, again, just in case?

    • Greg McMillan
      April 4, 2018 6:03 am

      Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year!

      • Paola Murcia
        April 5, 2018 3:59 pm

        From the data in the Webinar to what I see today, the change is huge. My sister who lives in Boston also says one can never trust the weather page there. It may say 55 and only goes to 45F that day. It’s very variable. I’m crossing fingers every day before I open the weather page anyway.

  • Thanks so much for these webinars, very helpful! This is my first Boston and second full marathon. I’m wondering, should any workouts during the last 2 weeks cause soreness? I have been following the BAA Level 3 plan, adjusted a little for age (I’m 54) and it’s gone well. But I was a little sore after 10K reps on Tuesday. Did I overdo it, and should I adjust more from here on out? Thanks!

    • Greg McMillan
      April 5, 2018 2:52 pm

      No. You definitely don’t want to be sore from a workout in the last 2 weeks. Adjust so you feel more recovered and fresh by next week.

  • Thanks Greg for the advice! I’ve run Boston 3 times before (this will be my 4th) and I’ve been fortunate to improve my time each time. I’ve never thought about dividing the race into four portions as you’ve done to optimize pacing – I’ve just tried to keep an even pace throughout like on flat terrain races but that probably isn’t the best strategy at Boston. I look forward to employing this new pacing strategy this time around. Thanks again!

  • What are your thoughts on the Hanson Brother’s marathon training program. I intend on running a qualifying marathon this October, and the shorter long run is appealing,(As I am in my 60’s).

  • Kristie Barbee
    April 6, 2018 8:00 pm

    I have loved my ‘My Boston’ Mcmillan shirts from 2015 and 2016… Will you have a 2018 or can I purchase?

    • Greg McMillan
      April 9, 2018 5:59 am

      We had our on-demand store open earlier and sold them. It was sent out in several emails so I’m sorry you missed it. I don’t carry inventory so I don’t have any extras.

  • Do we need to RSVP anywhere for the UCAN event on Saturday? Thanks!

  • Hey Greg.

    Feeling great going into Monday and have followed your workouts to a T!
    In the Peaking Phase there are 2 workouts as strides in week 11 and 12 (60 and 30 secs @ 5k ‘effort’).

    Since I am running on the treadmill, is 5k ‘effort’ the same as 5k pace?

    My 5k pace of 3:35/k seems only 7/10 effort whereas a full 5k effort feels like 9-9.5/10.
    I have been doing the strides at 3:30-3:10/k and still feeling good (7-9/10).
    Thanks and see you in Beantown!

    • Greg McMillan
      April 11, 2018 6:59 am

      You’d want to do them on the slower side. This is just to help the body feel light and fresh.

  • jangwon.kwon.93
    April 10, 2018 1:22 pm

    Coach Greg,

    First off, thanks so much for this webinar. This was incredibly insightful.

    On the course, there is a massive downhill right before starting the Newton hills. And even in between the Newton hills, it seems like the sections in between are slight downhills for the most part. How would you recommend taking these? Should we still run them conservatively, or do you think it is safe to start hammering them a little?

    Thanks!

    • Greg McMillan
      April 11, 2018 7:11 am

      Yes. Once you get to the hills, you no longer need to hold back on the downhill sections. Be smart about it but the idea is that you have to switch gears from holding back in the first part of the race to leaning into the hills and beginning to up your intensity as you approach the last 10K of the race.

  • Maurenia Lynds
    April 12, 2018 3:55 pm

    I’ve been watching the weather and it is really looking bad! Good like even a head-wind now! Any advice on whether we should wear running pants or shorts? (Up top, I’m thinking of wearing a t-shirt and an old running jacket). Your thoughts?

    • Greg McMillan
      April 13, 2018 10:45 am

      Others can chime in but I wouldn’t wear pants in the rain. They will get heavy. I’d probably op for short tights (or even 3/4 tights if it’s going to be really cold).

  • Greg, with the strong head winds and rain anticipated, would you modify pacing or keep it the same?
    I’m trained and ready for sub 3:00 but have been on the treadmill for 99% of the time.

    Thanks

    • Greg McMillan
      April 14, 2018 3:36 am

      You bet! If the forecast stays as it is as I’m looking at it right now (Saturday morning) then there will be 25-35 mph headwinds nearly the whole way. This will make fast times impossible and runners will need to be very careful with their effort early in the race as trying to run fast in that strong of a headwind will burn through energy (physical and mental) early.

      If the forecast holds (you never know here in Boston so fingers crossed it changes), then this race will be more of a fun long run for most runners – just a run to survive and enjoy as best you can – as opposed to seeking a fast finish time.

      I suspect runners who have a good attitude about the tough conditions and are okay adjusting and simply finding the pace that feels doable for the entire race will do the best. I’m not sure what the pace adjustment will be because wind affects each runner differently but I advise that you are open to not forcing pace but let the pace happen based on the weather conditions on that day. The most important thing is to have a positive experience so adjust as you go so you can finish strong.

  • Thanks Greg for all your help. It was great meeting you at Tracksmith on Sunday. Of my 14 straight Bostons, 2018 was by far the most challenging due to the weather. Was trained up for sub 3:00 and started out at that pace and hit 1:32 at the 1/2. Knew I wouldn’t break 3:00 so just wanted to requalify (3:25). I wanted to quit about a dozen times in that last 10 miles. Took some aid station walk breaks and it helped mentally to reset and break things down into smaller goals. Ended up focusing mile to mile and eventually even just counting 10 steps at a time. Considering I didn’t think I could finish at times, and with the number of Elites who quit or slowed, I am very happy with my 3:13 requalification. Will be using your plans again and praying for better weather!
    Thanks again

  • Greg McMillan
    April 18, 2018 3:43 am

    Way to go! And, great to meet you as well.

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