There is nothing in the world quite like running the Boston Marathon . The demands of the mostly downhill miles early on in the course, combined with the rolling hills that greet you at mile 16, make for a unique challenge that requires endurance , strength , stamina, and a solid strategy. For the last few months leading up to the race, here is a month-by-month guide on how to train for the Boston Marathon , from Hopkinton through Boylston Street. January Set yourself up for success by building a strong foundation of hill work, strength training, and flexibility . Include at least one hill workout each week, and begin to sprinkle hills into your long runs . Hill Workouts: After a warmup (and before a cooldown ), run five to 10 repeats on a hill that takes you one to two minutes to climb. Choose a gradual incline if you\u2019re fairly new to hills and a slightly steeper one (a 4- to 7-percent grade) if you run hills regularly. Focus on running the hills by effort, to get a sense of how climbing affects your body. Don\u2019t exceed a moderate effort level on the uphill, and run downhill at a relaxed, easy effort to recover . If you\u2019re getting bored of repeats, try a tempo run (at a moderate effort level) on a rolling route. Hilly Long Runs: Add similar hills to your long runs and aim to maintain a consistent, conversational \u201cYellow Zone\u201d effort level. This means slowing as you run uphill to conserve energy and relaxing into the downhill. This will allow you to run long more efficiently, recover more optimally, and avoid doing too much, too soon. Focus on uphill form in both workouts: Keep your torso upright (and avoid leaning forward), lift your knees, and take small steps. Strength Workouts: Include a total-body strength routine at least twice during the week to develop strength and stability in the muscles that take a beating on race day (quads, hips, and calves). Perform exercises such as wall sits, single-leg squats , calf raises, lunges, bridges, planks , push-ups , and rows. Flexibility Work: Relieve tight muscles with regular foam rolling , and if possible, a massage every three to four weeks. This will release tight areas, allow muscles to recover and perform more optimally, and prevent aches and pains. February Now that you\u2019re running hills regularly, it\u2019s time to get Boston-specific and add in some downhill-running workouts and harder effort hill runs. Downhill Running Workouts: Alternate your mid-week hill workout with a downhill workout. Focus on technique, relaxing into the downhill with a slight lean and quicker cadence and keeping your torso centered over your pelvis. Downhill running is hard on the body, so it\u2019s wise to start with shorter repeats on more gradual declines, and to build slowly as your body allows. After a 10- to 15-minute easy effort warmup , repeat four to eight times: Descend for one minute at a relaxed effort, then jog back up the hill at an easy effort and walk to catch your breath before the next interval. Cool down for 10 to 15 minutes. As you gain downhill running fitness and strength, increase the time of the downhill interval to three to five minutes. March The closer the race, the more specific the training should become. This month, start some of your long runs in the mid-morning to simulate Boston\u2019s start. (Most waves begin around 10 a.m.) This will allow you to dial in the timing of your prerace dinner , breakfast , and snack , and get a sense of how it feels to run from the midmorning into the afternoon. This is also a good time to incorporate race-simulation workouts into your cutback long runs and midweek runs. For instance, for a 10-mile cutback long run, break it into three parts, run on a hilly course, with the first five or six miles at an easy effort, the next few miles at a moderate effort, and a hard effort for the final mile. You can simulate the quad fatigue you\u2019ll experience from a downhill start by cycling a hill program for 10 minutes; performing one to three 45- to 60-second sets of wall sits, single-leg squats, and squats; and then running quarter-mile hill repeats on a three- to five-percent grade with equal recovery time. Your body and mind will benefit from these dress-rehearsal workouts. The weather in Boston in springtime can change on a dime, so you also want to start preparing for it. Ask anyone who ran Boston last year, and they will surely tell you: You can\u2019t control the weather, so it\u2019s better to build the mental grit needed to slog it out in bad conditions now than be shocked on race day. Rainy weather in the forecast? Don\u2019t reschedule that long run. On the flip side, if you\u2019ve been training in cold weather, the sudden onset of warmer temperatures can quickly break you on race day. Invest in a few heat acclimatization runs on the treadmill or at mid-day with extra layers, if it is warm outside. April April is all about tapering and visualizing your race. It\u2019s important to follow your training plan\u2019s taper (whether it\u2019s two or three weeks long) and continue to include hills in your long runs and midweek workouts. Just be mindful to avoid pushing too hard too close to the race (both in distance and intensity). Print off a copy of the Boston Marathon route, and post it somewhere you can see it daily. Write down your race day strategy with a focus on running the hills by effort for energy management. Start and finish your day with a \u201cBoston Marathon Mindful Minute\u201d exercise. You can do this sitting, in the shower or bath, or even when you\u2019re walking to warm up for or cool down from a run. Breathe in, focusing on the sound of the air in your throat. Breathe out, focusing on what you\u2019ll do race morning. Continue to repeat this, and with each exhale, imagine moving through another part of the course. Training for the Boston Marathon is all about effort and consistency. Running the Boston Marathon is all about strategy. Focus on both, and you\u2019ll have a great race.