My Plans for a Boston Qualifier in 2015

A couple week ago I announced my goal of attempting a Boston Qualifier in 2015. Yes, originally back in 2014 I had said that 2015 would not be the year of my first marathon, but throughout December and January I could not shake the idea of running a marathon and qualifying for Boston out of my head. I’m finding this inner endurance athlete, a part of myself I never thought I would have because I’ve never been a really fast runner. I thrive on distance running. Each mile makes me want another mile and once I pass five miles, I feel like I could run for the whole rest of the day.

We still don’t know where we’ll end up moving, but once we do I am signing up for a fall marathon and booking hotels (if necessary) as soon as possible. If we move to Seattle, it will be the Seattle Marathon at the end of November; if we move to Michigan, I’ve got my eye on the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in early November and will probably try to convince my entire family to make the trip to come watch. Either of these races would qualify me for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

November is still a while from now, so there’s lots of time before the marathon and even still months before I begin marathon training. So what’s my plan over the course of 2015 to earn my Boston Qualifier?

Boston Qualifier in 2015 

For a woman my age (25), the Boston Qualifying standard is 3:35:00 or faster. Over the past several years, times within 60-90 seconds of the qualifying times have not been able to register for the race. I really, really want to run the Boston Marathon, so I’m aiming closer to 3:30:xx to increase my likelihood of actually getting to run Boston and provide me with a bit of padding in case race day does not go as planned. 

Since the start of the new year, I have been focusing on base building. My mileage is currently up to 37 or 38 miles per week, although winter has forced me to do a lot of that on the treadmill. Thankfully, I have not noticed a significant difference in my speed or endurance when I run outside; if anything, I always feel like I can go faster outside. My tempo paces have been right around 7:37/mile for up to 5 miles, which is good preparation for a spring half marathon. I’ve also been doing some shorter fartleks and lots of fast-finish runs, especially fast-finish long runs.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I finally registered for a spring half marathon! My goal for this year is to run a spring half and a fall full marathon, as I’m focusing more on quality rather than quantity in racing for 2015. I’ll be racing the St. Louis Go! Half Marathon on April 12. I had been going back and forth on this race because it was convenient (my parents live in St. Louis) but the original course was hilly! This year is the 15th anniversary of the race, so they changed the course. It goes by more St. Louis landmarks but is flatter than in previous years, which makes it more ideal for running a time goal.

I started training yesterday, which gives me 8 weeks to prepare for the race. Since I’ve included some fartlek, tempo, and fast finish workouts in my base building and am running 10-12 miles for my long runs, I’m not that worried about training for a shorter amount of time. I’m setting “A,” “B,” and “C” goals for the race, since there are so many factors outside of my control: allergies, temperature, etc. My “A” goal is a sub-1:40. My “B” goal is a 1:40-1:42, and my “C” goal is a sub-1:45. Depending on what time I run, I’ll know how much work I’ll have to do to get into BQ shape. 

I’ll publish my plan tomorrow; I’m designing my own based on what has worked well for me in the past and what I know I currently need to improve on.

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After a spring/summer half marathon, I’ll switch back to base-building for a while and stay around 35-40 miles per week with long runs in the 10-12 range. Thank goodness we’ll be living somewhere where summer does not get so awfully hot and I can enjoy summer running! I’m going to try to add lots of hills into my summer training to build stronger legs.

For the marathon itself, I’ll probably start training in July or August, depending on when my race is. I want to read and review lots of different marathon training philosophies. I’m leaning towards a modified version of the Hansons Plan, because I did well with two workouts plus a long run in my half marathon training and really like the idea of back-to-back long runs. I’d probably modify it to include a couple 18 milers just to boost my mental training a bit. I’m not particularly prone to injury (the only time I was in PT was after I twisted my ankle on ice and then ran on it, which was not the smartest thing to do) and I think the plan has the right balance of mileage for me.

By no means is it going to be easy for me to run a Boston Qualifying marathon, especially for my first marathon, but that’s the point of goals. Big goals aren’t easy, and it’s the hard work and determination you need that makes them worthwhile.

So that’s pretty much my training laid out for the rest of 2015! Hopefully approaching my goal of qualifying for Boston in such a thorough manner will help me achieve that goal!

 

Questions of the Day: 
How far in advance do you plan out your goals, training, and racing?

Do you prefer to only do a couple races per year or do you prefer to race a lot?

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8 Responses

    1. Thank you for the support, Tina, and for the link! I’ve read and pinned a bunch of articles from Runner’s Connect on the Boston Marathon, and they all have been so helpful!

  1. Sounds like a solid approach! I look forward to hearing more about your training plan. When do you think you’ll know when you’re moving? (If you move to Seattle, hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet up sometime – I’m moving to the Bay Area next month and Seattle is just a quick [and relatively cheap] plane ride away.)

    I don’t tend to race a lot – it gets expensive! I actually would probably race more if I wasn’t working with a running coach and focusing on big goals and times. I have some friends who race all the time because it’s fun and they enjoy it, but not because they’re chasing any particular time goals.

    1. Thank you, Jess! We’re not even sure if we’re moving to Seattle – not a lot has happened on the job front out there and so we may end up moving to southwest Michigan – but if we do we should definitely meet up! That is so exciting about you moving to the Bay Area, it’s just so beautiful out there!

  2. I think my favorite part about marathon training is creating/working with my schedule! Hahaha, and then training.

    If you like tempo runs then you’ll like Hansons. You run a marathon paced tempo every week. These can be tough in the beginning. I usually start about 10-12 seconds slower than goal pace in the first week and work my way down to goal pace by week 6 or 7.

    The one thing I’ll say is, if you’re going to follow Hansons, don’t be afraid to put your trust in the plan. Unless an 18mi run meets the rules of being less than 25-30% of your total weekly mileage, and takes you less than 3hrs to complete, it’s not necessary. I boosted my last two runs up to 18mi because I ran them in and in 70mi weeks

    1. Thanks so much for the advice, Brynne! I’m very excited to try the Hansons plan and every piece of advice on how to follow it is so helpful and so appreciated!

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