photo: courtesy Lindsay Flanagan

3 Weeks Out: Lindsay Flanagan’s Marathon Training

Lindsay Flanagan, 2:29 American marathoner, details every mile of her Boston Marathon training from March 25-31, 2019.


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Lindsay Flanagan, a 2:29 American marathoner who finished as the 3rd American woman at the 2017 Boston Marathon, is training for the 2019 Boston on April 15. Flanagan detailed her training for us from March 25–31, three weeks out from Boston.

Based outside of Boulder, in Louisville CO, I’ve been logging about 100–110 miles since December to prepare for the 2019 Boston Marathon. This has, by far, been my most consistent block of training, and I’m really looking forward to toeing the starting line in two weeks. Logging more miles has meant spending more time on recovery. Some of my favorite recovery tools right now are the Normatec compression boots and the Roll Recovery R8 & R3. I utilize these daily both before and after runs to make sure I’m ready to tackle my bigger sessions.

Monday, March 25

AM: Recovery Run – 7.5 miles. I took the morning run very easy, since I was coming off a 21-mile-long run on Sunday, where the last 5 miles were cut down (from 6:40 pace to marathon effort, about 5:40 pace). Monday mornings are always more of a ‘shuffle,’ which is a recovery concept my close friend and 2:26 marathoner Serena Burla taught me the importance of. Coming out of college, I had the mindset that every run needed to be a good effort, but those days are very much in the past, and I now look forward to my recovery strolls after harder workouts. I live right next to a trail that branches off in three different directions, two of which are flat and one that’s hilly; I stuck to the flat route this morning to give my legs a break.

PM: Easy Double – 5 miles. After the morning jog, I got in the Normatec Boots for an hour while answering emails and writing training plans for my RunDoyen athletes. I took a nap, watched some of the new Arrested Development episodes on Netflix, and met up with friends for an easy, conversational double run around 4:30 p.m.

Daily Total: 12.5 miles

Tuesday, March 26

AM: 95 minute Aerobic Run + 8 x 100m Strides – 13.5 miles. I got out the door for my run around 9 a.m. Since I mostly train alone, and am coached remotely by Steve Magness, I never really set an alarm and can sleep as long as I need to. I typically start my first run of the day between 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. I’ve been incorporating a lot more hilly runs into this Boston build-up and decided to go on the rolling trail near my house. I have gotten to the point, now, where I feel stronger on hilly routes, compared to flat ones—something I never thought would happen! Aerobic runs are done at a normal, comfortable pace, between 6:40 and 7:10 pace, depending on how rolling the route is.

photo: courtesy Lindsay Flanagan

PM: 40 minute easy swim – 2,500 Yards. I like to incorporate one cross training session a week even when I’m healthy, usually swimming or an Elliptigo ride. Fun fact: I swam for 10 years before I started running and even swam in high school. I’ve found that swimming is a great way to loosen up my body and help me recover before hard workouts. Cross training while injured is awful, but, when healthy, I actually look forward to these relaxing sessions.

Daily Total: 13.5 miles plus swim

Wednesday, March 27

Workout: Fartlek-style repeats (alternating 2 minutes “on” with 1 minute easy float) – total of 27  minutes for just about 5 miles, plus 3-mile warm up and cool down – 11 miles.

I woke up a bit earlier this morning to get my workout in before seeing the great Boulder-based PT Mark Plaatjes for some work. I decided to do my session on the Celestial Seasoning Tea House loop, an iconic Boulder workout location. I don’t typically do workouts here, as I usually choose more rolling routes, but I wanted to get my legs turning over a bit today—something I could do more easily on the flat, 1k Tea Loop.

The 2-minute repeats were more on the controlled side (5:10–5:15 pace), and the 1-minutes were an easy float rather than a jog (6:25–6:35 pace). The average pace for the whole workout combined was 5:40 (including the on and off portions). My last marathon was 2:29.25, which is 5:41 pace. I definitely think I was ready to run faster that day, and my altitude-adjusted marathon effort has been 5:40 for this build up.

I really like fartleks where the recovery is a bit quicker, as they are great practice for managing fatigue in a marathon. I usually feel great for the first half of the repeats but then have to focus a bit more on the later ones to maintain the pace. The short, quick rest always catches up to you! I ran into fellow Boston Marathon runner Becky Wade who was finishing up a workout of her own, and we were able to link up for a nice cool down afterwards.

photo: courtesy Lindsay Flanagan

PM: Easy Double – 6.5 miles.

After my PT appointment, a nap, and Normatec session, I went out for my double around 4 p.m. Then I hit the weight room afterwards for some strength work. I had the pleasure of working with the amazing performance specialists at Leomo this Boston buildup, who, through the use of sensors, were able to determine my weaker areas and created a personalized strength plan for me. It’s a mix of single leg work, isometric holds, core, and hip exercises and I’ve really felt the difference in my runs.

Daily Total: 17.5 miles plus strength work

Thursday, March 28

AM: Recovery Run – 8 miles. I met up with close friend and neighbor Neely Spence Gracey and Claudia Becque for an easy recovery jog. It’s always refreshing to meet up with friends on easy days and share miles over fun conversations. After the run, I went home and rolled out with my Roll Recovery R8 before doing some coaching work.

photo: courtesy Lindsay Flanagan

PM: Easy Double – 4.5 miles. I went out for an easy double around 4:30 p.m. I spent most of the afternoon finishing Good To Go, an awesome book by Christie Aschwanden that takes a deeper look at all the different recovery modalities on the market today. I’m also reading The Passion Paradox, by Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness, and Becoming, by Michelle Obama, both of which I highly recommend!

Daily Total: 12.5 miles

Friday, March 29

AM: 90 minute Aerobic run + 8x 100m Strides – 13 Miles

I hit the rolling trail by my house again for an aerobic run and strides. Then, after finishing up, I went home and rolled out with my Roll Recovery R8 to freshen up my legs before my workout on Saturday.

PM: Yoga. Having had some lower leg injuries in the past, and I’ve found yoga to be incredibly beneficial in increasing my mobility and keeping me healthy. I like to incorporate 1–2 easy yoga sessions into my training each week.

Daily Total: 13 miles plus yoga

Saturday, March 30

AM: Workout: 45-second hill repeats, 5 mile tempo, 45 second hill repeats, plus 3-mile warm up and cool down – 14 miles

The funny thing about Boulder is that it can be 70 degrees one day, and snow a foot the next. I woke up to a few inches of snow and was a bit worried I might have to change the location of my workout, which I was going to do at Davidson Mesa. Fortunately, while the trees and grass were covered with snow, the trail was completely clear. YES!

I did an easy 3 mile warm up jog, switched shoes and got started with the session that began with 4 x 45-second hill repeats at 10K race effort. Once I got to the top of the hill on my final repeat, I took 90 seconds rest and went straight into a tempo run on the Davidson Mesa trail. After the tempo, I took 2 minutes to get back down to the bottom of the hill and went straight into another round of 4 x 45-second hill repeats at 5k effort. I really like workouts like this one for Boston, where you fatigue your legs a bit with the hills, then go straight into a tempo with limited recovery.

Davidson Mesa / photo: Lindsay Flanagan

PM: Gym Session& Hot Tub.

The same gym session as Wednesday’s strength work. I’ve using this plan for about a month so far and will do the same routine twice a week on workout days.

I’ve been reading a lot about heat acclimation lately and one of the best ways to acclimate is to get into a hot tub quickly after training. When I ran Boston in 2017, it was over 70 degrees, so I’ve been doing some heat acclimation with the hot tub a few times a week. It might not be warm at all on race day, but I want to make sure I’m prepared for anything!

Daily Total: 14 miles plus strength work

Sunday, March 31

AM: Medium-Length Long Run Over Hills – 16 miles

I’ve been alternating between two hilly long run locations. Today, I went with the dirt roads out in Dacono, CO. I like this location because it’s a grid with 4, 6, and 8 mile loop options—which is great for putting fluids out ahead of time. I was able to link up with my sister Kaylee, a post-collegiate runner gearing up for a big spring of her own, for this one. Kaylee works during the week for Boulder based company Stryd, creators of the power pod I’ve utilized this Boston build-up, so we usually try and link up for weekend runs. Long run days, even if they aren’t ‘workouts,’ are always quality effort days and I’ve come to embrace the tough, hilly long runs these past few months.

PM I spent the remainder of the day relaxing. After a nap, I did some light yoga in the afternoon, followed by an Epsom salt bath.

Daily Total: 16 miles

Total Mileage for Week: Right around 100 Miles


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