Marathon Training Tips: (Helpful for the Half, as well)

The tips/hints below are the ones that have helped me successfully reach Boston qualifying goals in the decades of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00 ‘s and 2010 plus. I rarely take a peek at other training programs and have no idea what they offer, Some of this data may coincide or overlap, yet, there may be a grain, kernel or gem that one may glean from this insight, which may help make a difference when striving for a reachable goal.


1.    Mindset: Eat, drink, sleep, train, smell, taste and think Boston. Let that mindset devour you. It’s not I think I can, I think I can….

       but I can, I can I can, I am going to Boston. I have run lots of marathons in my career but there is absolutely nothing compared to

       Boston. It is the granddaddy of them all and the entire weekend is filled with incredible buzz, energy and camaraderie.


2.    Speed workouts:  Although most runners are nearing the end of the training

       regimen they are most likely honing race pace with some type of speed work,

       which I would do twice a week for several miles. As speed work pace quickens

       so does race pace. One may closely determine their marathon race pace as 30 to 40

       seconds slower than a speed work out pace. Example: If I concluded my training

       with a manageable 7:00 minute per mile speed work out pace then my race pace

       will be a 7:30 pace or a 3:15 marathon.  


3.    Shoes: The running shoe should fit almost like a glove. All the laces should be cinched up for a

       snug fit. Too loose of a shoe will tend to waste energy as the foot wobbles on contact, which will

       exacerbate tiredness in the legs.


4.    Inserts: If the insert reveals a footprint toss them out, now. They no longer serve any positive

       purpose.  They no longer absorb or dispense any impact stress, which will now

       travel into the leg producing useless fatigue. * If only your legs feel weary and dead, it may be

       inserts. If you’re entire body feels fatigued and weary it generally means you have

       over trained. Replace with a quality innersole (I use a $10 Spenco) which lasts for months and

       effectively absorbs the stress of the foot contact with authority. * An insert with too much

       cushioning is also self defeating since the foot will wobble on contact creating the fatigue effect.


  1. Food intake: Studies have shown that stuffing oneself with carbs the night before the race or too much breakfast is not really productive. A light dinner and a small bowl of oatmeal three hours before the race topped off with a gel or two 10 minutes before race start is sufficient and efficient. There is plenty of time to reward yourself after the race with pancakes, beer and ice cream or whatever.


  1. Race pace: Everyone knows that an even race pace is way more efficient but still many go out way to fast. Best to run the first two miles about 30 seconds to a minute slower than race pace and then hit target pace (maybe 5 seconds faster to make up minute during first mile, but a few seconds a mile is way easier to handle than a punishing 15 to 30 seconds too fast at the start). No need to go out with the rabbits. And there is no way you can run faster than your training and/or interval pace for the entire marathon. It hardly ever works out that way. With chip timing there is no worry that you need to stay with faster runners. I have started races dead last, passed  thousands of runners struggling (too fast of a pace, * remember if you are not trained for a quicker pace you will most likely be walking or survival shuffling during the last few miles) and handily finished with automatic Boston qualifying times.


  1. Aid Stations: Take your liquid and go. Never stop for more than a second or two, if that. Five to ten seconds at each aid stations equals valuable minutes wasted. There is plenty of time to rest after the finish line. I replace my electrolytes with Hammer’s Endurolytes (prevents cramping). They work.  Just before arriving at every other aid station I toss two down and maybe a gel and wash down with the water. Thus I never have to stop at any aid station.




Hopefully a few of these tips will help shave off a few minutes or more and either help achieve a personal best or a trip to Boston or both.


Arthur Webb


PS Any questions email me at