Ask the Coach – Tune-up for Boston?

Ask the Coach – Tune-up for Boston?

Chuck (@chuckfeerick) will be racing the Boston marathon and asked if he should do a tune-up marathon before Boston.The 2012 Boston marathon takes place on Monday, April 16th, so we are looking at about 3.5 months from now or about 15 weeks. I am going to have to make some assumptions right now because I don’t know where Chuck is in his training plan. But let’s say

  • Chuck is just coming off his off-season
  • Chuck will want to treat Boston as his A race – top notch performance.

When planning a race season, as many of you are probably doing now for 2012, one key factor to consider, and possibly the most important, would be the recovery time between events. That’s why we typically label races as A,B, and C priority, so we can make sure that we are recovered and rested for the A race, and use the B and C races for hard workouts, testing out our pacing and nutrition plans, and other key things to make sure we are ready for the A race.

When considering the marathon, Hal Higdon states it takes 2-3 weeks for recovery, although everybody (meaning every body) is different in terms of recovery. It could take Chuck less time, or more time to recover. Additionally, a solid marathon training plan for an A race is about 16-20 weeks, depending on your current base. What this means is that Chuck has about enough time for a solid training session before Boston starting now – assuming he’s getting in some easy runs already.

There are also risks involved when running a marathon, such as overuse injury. While making sure you are in the right shoes, and keeping your core and hip muscles strong, and only running the pace of which you are capable can help, 26.2 miles is a lot of pounding on the body.

Because of the minimal recovery time that would be inevitable between races, I would not recommend that Chuck run a marathon before Boston. If Boston were at least two months later, it might be feasible to run one in April and another marathon in June and get adequate recovery. But what Chuck could do is run a half marathon as a training race about 4-6 weeks before Boston. It would take him less time to recover, he could work on his hydration and nutrition plan, and he would get in a solid “faster than M-pace” workout.

For those interested in running multiple marathons in one year, here is a good post:

How many marathons do you typically run in one year?
How much time do you feel you need to recover from a marathon?


If you have a question for Coach Nicole, just fill out the contact form with Ask the Coach  as the subject, or leave it as a comment on any of the weekly Ask the Coach posts.

Facebook Twitter Email Plusone Linkedin
Nicole Odell


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.