Tips to Run Your Best Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is an iconic event that’s a badge of honor for distance runners to participate in. Have you achieved your BQ and want to know how to run your best Boston? Here are some tips from our Team UCAN athletes and coaches.


Greg McMillan is a running coach and exercise scientist who has helped thousands of runners qualify and run Boston.  He’s also a Boston Marathon finisher, running it in 3:07.

Training Tip: “Do a lot of your key workouts on rolling course with lots of opportunity to practice running quickly downhill so you learn your best downhill running technique and condition your quads to resist the stress of Boston’s first 16 miles.”

Racing Tip: “Even pace is free speed. Because Boston is so downhill in the first 16 miles, if you just hit your goal marathon pace on each mile, it will actually require less energy than flat running at that pace. Plus, you’ll save your quads. So, never “bank time” and know that every mile you run at goal pace that feel easy is just free speed.”


Dathan Ritzenhein is a 3x U.S. Olympian and was the top American finisher at Boston in 2015.

Training Tip: “Becoming a better fat burner is key to finishing the marathon strong. I always felt like I was fading at the end of marathons. I took the Fatmax test and found out I was a really high sugar burner. I started using UCAN’s slow-release SuperStarch before all my long runs in my marathon training to change my metabolism and be more efficient on race day.”

Racing Tip: “Running well in Boston is all about patience. There is so much excitement early in the race, combined with the downhills, it is easy to get out way too fast. Having something left in the tank for the final few miles means getting in a lot of hills and speed work in training, and sticking to the plan in the first sixteen miles.”


Anita Perez is an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier and finished 72nd at Boston in 2014 in 2:53:43

Training Tip: “My coach had us do a long run that was similar to the Boston course. It was a net downhill course with rolling hills. Practicing running downhill is what helped me the most. I even did my tempos on a downhill course. When running downhill my main focus was form. You need to get your body used to running downhill.”

Racing Tip: “Be aware of where the water stops are (mile, right or left side of the road). Boston is not your typical marathon. You will always be surrounded by runners at your level. It is important to get to the water stop way in advance. If you know that there’s a water stop coming up in the next mile make sure you start heading to that side of the road.”


Pete Rea is the Elite Athlete Coach and Coordinator at the ZAP Fitness Team USA Training Center. Since ZAP has opened Rea has guided more than three dozen athletes to Olympic Trials berths in distances from the 1500m to the marathon.

Training Tip: “Be certain to make downhill running an integral part of your Boston prep. The opening 15-16 miles of Boston have a significant amount of downhill. These miles often beat up runner’s quads. Contrary to popular belief the toughest part of the course is NOT the hills through Newton, but the downhills which follow. On 4-5 of your longer workouts be sure to include 3-4 miles of steeper downhill running to prepare your quads for the rigors of the Boston course.”

Racing Tip: “Eat your normal, easily digestible meal a couple hours before the race start and then have a UCAN packet about 30-60 minutes prior to the gun. Do not wait until glycogen reserves are being depleted before you ingest carbohydrate. Top off the tank before start time.”