Hey everyone! Today I am having my dear friend Nat take over the blog! She is a big inspiration to me as an awesome mom, runner and friend. She knows how badly I want to eventually qualify for the Boston Marathon, so I’ve asked her for some helpful tips on qualifying! So she is here today to talk about her experiences in qualifying! I hope you enjoy!
I was so honored when Sue asked me to write a guest post for her blog this week while she is spending some quality time with her family! I really admire Sue’s dedication to her running, marathon training and goals, all while being a great mom + a nurse!!
Thanks so much for having me Sue – I am really happy to be here today!
Before we get started, here is a little background on my running journey…
I have qualified for the Boston Marathon three times and have never run this prestigious marathon.
The marathon of all marathons.
The Olympics for the non professional runner.
As runners, we must all think about Boston at some point. It’s more important to some than others. But we talk about it. It’s there.
It’s the Boston freakin’ Marathon.
The first time I got my BQ I was getting married shortly after the marathon and I was so focused on work and planning my wedding, that I decided not to run Boston. I know, crazy right? But at that time in my life, I felt like “It’s okay, Boston will always be there, but this event in my life is more important right now.”
The third time I qualified for Boston was in September of 2014. My life was vastly different. I had my 3rd baby at the beginning of 2013 and I was busy. We’re talking total Mom mode, with a son in kindergarten, a 2 1/2 year old daughter and an infant baby girl that I was nursing.
So, I waited patiently for a year until I was finished nursing my final baby. And then I felt ready.
I spent a few relaxed months building a base and then started a 20 week training program ending in running the Ventura marathon in September.
I training a lot that summer, which resulted in a 3:32 marathon and a BQ!!
Nope, I didn’t run Boston in 2015 either. I was busy having knee surgery!
But now, finally – I get my chance to run the Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016.
Are you excited? Are you fired up?! GOOD. Want to grab YOUR BQ?
Here we go!!
Quick note: Are you going for your first BQ? First, check out the qualifying times for your age group HERE.
The Boston Marathon has become so popular, you’ll need to think about running a minute and half to two minutes faster than your qualifying time. I have seen so many runners disappointed because even though they ran the qualifying time, they still DID NOT get accepted into the marathon.
7 ESSENTIAL TIPS TO QUALIFY FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON:
1. Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon.
The biggest mistake you can make is piling on a lot of mileage before your body is ready. Give yourself enough time to build a base of mileage before you start your actual training. Consider hiring a coach to guide you. If that is out of your budget, there are online training plans that can help you. In the summer of 2014, I used THIS Hal Hidgon training plan as my coach. In fact, I have used an on line training plan for each of my BQ marathons. I recently hired a coach this fall and it is the first time I have had a coach since college!
For example, if your current marathon time is 4:30, and you need to run 3:40 for a BQ, know that it will most likely take patience and time to whittle 50 minutes off of your time. Running excessive mileage (at a fast pace) too soon can lead to injury.
Gradual progression rather than big leaps is your friend!
2. Pick a fast course/a course that is good for YOU.
Make things a little easier for yourself and pick a fast course for your BQ attempt. Whether it is a flat course or one with rolling hills, do what appeals to your strengths.
I knew the Chicago marathon would be perfect for me, as I tend to run well on flat courses. Some runners love rolling hills. Now is not the time to try a super hard uphill course! Check out THIS article on the top marathons to achieve a BQ.
Also, think about what is going to work well for you. Maybe a small race near your home (zero travel) with rolling hills will work much better for you than a big city pancake flat course a plane ride away.
3. Dedicate yourself to the training
This is no walk in the park. It’s not going to be easy.
Think about the time commitment and whether you are willing to sacrifice some things to achieve your goal.
- You are going to have long runs on the weekend.
- You’ll be running most days of the week.
- You will need to get plenty of sleep each night.
- Your nutrition is extremely important (eat some sort of protein within 20-30 minutes of finishing your run. I love almond butter and apples, a banana or a glass of chocolate milk) and don’t forget to hydrate (I drink 100 ounces of water each day).
4. Run easy on your easy days
A big mistake a lot of runners make is not running easy on the EASY days. There will be plenty of days to run fast. On the easy runs, you should be running 1 to 2 minutes slower than your marathon goal pace. Enjoy these runs! Run with a friend (make sure they aren’t pushing the pace), don’t look at your watch, enjoy the scenery and let your body recovery from the previous hard workout.
5. Do the hard workouts!
Speaking of hard workouts, make sure they are fitting into your training. Tempo runs, track workouts and progression long runs are going to be part of your vocabulary. One example is running a few miles at marathon goal pace during a long run. You want your legs to know how it feels to run fast when they are tired.
6. Don’t forget the supplemental essentials
By this I mean core work, strength training (check out THIS article), foam rolling and massage.
Running well is not just all about running – it’s about all the little things. Having a strong core is essential to becoming a better, faster runner.
7. Have an A, B and C goal.
Sometimes we have the best training cycle and the worse race day. It happens. We get sick, injured or just have an off day. Try not to let it ruin your entire race.
At the end of the day, smile and realize we GET to run! Isn’t that awesome?
Even if something happens that you don’t achieve a BQ, you can always try again. Chances are you’ll come back stronger and faster the next time!7 Tips for qualifying for the #bostonmarathon via @suzy399 @natrunsfar #sweatpink #fitfluential #running Click To Tweet
I am not a coach or a personal trainer, so always check with your doctor before starting any training program.
Best of luck to everyone and if you so desire, may you run Boston Strong!!
Have you ever qualified for the Boston Marathon? If so, what would you add?
Have you ever been to the Boston Marathon?