Ben and Jen Go to Boston: 6 Marathon Training Tips

Runners across the world are counting down the days until all of their hard work pays off as they cross the finish line of the world’s oldest marathon. On April 17, 2017, the 121st Boston Marathon will witness 30,000 runners achieve personal running dreams, and among those chasing their goals are two of our very own employees.

Ben and Jen come from differing running backgrounds – a testament to the diversity of Boston Marathon runners. Even with different training plans and strategies, they both raced their hearts out to achieve the prestigious BQ!

Ben on the run

30 year old competitive runner
10-12 races per year (anything from the 800m to the marathon)
Averages 80 miles per week
BQ: 2:57:33 finish at the Buzz Marathon in San Miguel, CA






Jenny on the run

39 year old mother runner
2-3 races per year (triathlon, half marathon, or marathon)
Averages 30-45 miles per week
BQ: 3:35:29 finish at the Santa Rosa Marathon in Santa Rosa, CA




Training takes a lot of preparation both physically and mentally. As experienced marathoners, Ben and Jen have had to learn through many years of trial and error what kinds of training suits them best. Despite their different training techniques, here’s some mutual tips they both abide by.

1. Avoid Overtraining.

Overtraining can affect both beginners and experienced runners if they exceed their training capacity and neglect to schedule enough recovery time. Ben found that any more than one scheduled day of speed work was too much and Jen swears by only running 4 days a week. Proper sleep, nutrition, hydration, and recovery throughout the entire training process are vital to keeping you race day ready. To avoid overtraining, make sure to:

  • Get your Zzzs: Sleep is just as important to your training as is your hydration and nutrition. William O. Roberts, M.D., and medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon says, “Sleep plays a critical role in restoring the body, especially after bouts of exercise.”
  • Fuel Up: Runners should focus on eating more high quality foods such as lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
  • Drink Up: Hydrate throughout the day. Have a glass of water when you wake up, with each meal and snack, and an hour before going to bed. Also, make sure to hydrate on runs lasting an hour or longer.
  • Respect Recovery: Ice, foam roll, stretch, cross-train, and take a rest day. Recovery days should be strategically built into your schedule for maximum recovery benefit. Making the time for these recovery methods will allow you to run your best when it really counts.

Read more about Hydration and Nutrition on our Learning Center

Read more about Overtraining on our Learning Center

2. Mix it Up

Both Ben and Jen find ways to mix up their workouts. Here are two ways to do that:

  • Add some strength training days to your running program. When paired correctly, strength workouts within your running program are the perfect combo to get you through the finish line feeling strong. It’s best to put direct focus on strengthening the core, hips, and glutes- the muscles needed for efficient running mechanics.
  • Follow a periodized marathon training plan that is progressive and allows for ample recovery time. Each run is its own workout and each day, each run is different – varied paces, distances, and terrain.

Read more about Multi-Pace Training on our Learning Center

3. Gear Up

Ever wonder why there are so many different types of shoes from each brand? Each shoe was made for a distinct purpose – a distinctive kind of foot motion, running pace, or surface. Enhance your varied pace training by wearing the running shoe designed for that particular workout. If you are running trails, wear trail shoes. For a long road run, wear your standard or premium daily trainer. For uptempo workouts or intervals, wear a performance shoe. You’d be surprised how much each workout will improve when wearing the corresponding shoe. Below are the shoes that Ben and Jen prefer for their varied workouts.

Shop Men’s ASICS 2000                            Shop Women’s ASICS 2000

Shop Men’s Saucony Peregrine              Shop Women’s Saucony Peregrine

Shop Men’s Nike Structure                      Shop Women’s Nike Structure

Shop Men’s New Balance 1500               Shop Women’s New Balance 1500

4. Have a Dress Rehearsal

Image courtesy of @stephrothstein on Instagram

During the last weeks of long training runs, sample clothing items you would consider for race day. As you run, contemplate how the clothing pieces feel. Keep in mind weather conditions and how well they wick sweat or if they rub against the skin. Do they ride up or stay in place? Can they store your favorite on-the-run fuel? Mimic race day as much as possible with the remaining long training runs that you have left. Once you think you have found the head-to-toe clothing pieces and accessories that work, wear them all together on a run as your dress rehearsal. Here are Ben and Jen’s favorite marathon training apparel pieces.

Shop ASICS Men’s FuzeX Tee

Shop Nike Women’s Running Dip Tie Tank

Shop Brooks Men’s Go-to 5” Short

Shop Nike Pro Hypercool Short

Shop all Men’s Running Apparel                Shop all Women’s Running Apparel

5. Test Run

Test out the best on-the-run fuel and hydration methods. Practice makes perfect. Practice the sports drinks and energy gels you intend to use during the race now on your long training runs. Pay particular attention to nutrition that helped or hindered your energy levels or gave you an upset stomach. Some runners like, Ben, wear a hydration pack, while others, like Jenny, carry a handheld bottle. There is such a vast variety of choices out there, so if you have the means to test out a couple of different methods, do it so that you find your perfect match for race day.

Shop Drinks and Electrolyte Supplements

Shop Handheld Bottles                                 Shop Hydration Vests

Shop Chews and Bars                                   Shop Gels

6. Appreciate the Process

To run any marathon is a special feat. When the training gets tough, try to remember why you started. No matter what time you finish in, just completing a 26.2 mile run is an accomplishment in itself. Ben runs purely for enjoyment. “I enjoy running a lot; it’s a part of my life. Running is part of what makes me a balanced person.” Jenny says that she, “Never takes a run for granted. You never know if or when an injury or life obstacle will make you take a break. Running gives me a sense of personal accomplishment and brings me joy.”

Spring marathon training is in full swing and we hope that you have a fun and successful journey towards achieving your goals!

Jenny is a marathon mom in every sense of the word. Not only does she run marathons, but she is constantly running around with her two kids, helping to teach them the value of an active lifestyle.

Read more posts by Jenny

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