How to qualify for the boston marathon
There are many ways on how to qualify for the boston marathon?
There is a gentleman that I coach who did just that this past weekend running a 3.27 at the Philadelphia Marathon.
I was so excited I might as well have broken 2.10 myself.
I watched my wife run the Boston Marathon in 2008. I was so proud of her, she ran a 3.23.11 and ironically found me in the sea of people at the finish line with a huge smile on her face as if she had not just run 26.2 miles. It was beautiful.
I will be running in it for the first time in 2013 by way of the 2.26.42 I ran at the 2011 Monumental Indianapolis Marathon.
This is the oldest marathon in the world so there is a great deal of history and stigmatism that is clearly present in the atmosphere in Boston during race weekend.
You feel like a rockstar just being there, let alone competing, at least that is how I felt while I was there.
In 2011, there were more then 1,000 media members from around the world invited to the race to cover the Boston Marathon.
It is one of the world marathon major marathons holding a prize purse of $150,000 for the winner with the top 15 winning cash prizes.
Obviously, If you qualify for the boston marathon you might as well have won the winner’s cup in that it is that special.
There are so many runners who want to know what is the best way in how to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
It is one of the few great marathons in the world where you have to earn a certain time in order to compete which brings us back to what I have written about in the past, train to race at the pace you want to hold in the race.
They have made the standards of qualifying for the Boston Marathon even harder, even more a reason to train more specific to your goal pace.
Standards are now nearly 6 minutes faster per age group then they were. All the more reason to motivate you to get to the starting line in Hopkington.
The current standards for qualifying for the boston marathon are as follows with male and female times listed:
18-34 – 3hrs 05min – 3hrs 35min
35-39 – 3hrs 10min – 3hrs 40min
40-44 – 3hrs 15min – 3hrs 45min
45-49 – 3hrs 25min – 3hrs 55min
50-54 – 3hrs 30min – 4hrs 00min
55-59 – 3hrs 40min – 4hrs 10min
60-64 – 3hrs 55min – 4hrs 25min
65-69 – 4hrs 10min – 4hrs 40min
70-74 – 4hrs 25min – 4hrs 55min
75-79 – 4hrs 40min – 5hrs 10min
80&up – 4hrs 55min – 5hrs 25min
Earn your spot
We all have to earn the right to toe that line and if qualifying for the Boston Marathon has been a goal of yours I hope these 23 short marathon training tips can be of assistance to help guide you along the way to achieving that goal.
1. Stay motivated. No other force on the face of the earth is as potent then being committed. Unwavering, focused.
People that are motivated sometimes even forget what they are doing they enjoy it so.
Find that place and stay there.
2. Be patient. Results come when your not pushing.
The great Bruce Lee put it best,
water can crash or it can flow, be water my friend.
You want to flow and just as water can carve through mountains over time, so can you do great things like qualifying for the Boston Marathon if you are patient.
Focus on the positives
3. Focus. Never let negative people bring you down.
4. Surround yourself with like-minded people. People may think your nuts for going out on the weekends doing 20 mile runs. Stick with people who will support, not ridicule, you along the way.
I was told to ‘get a life’ I ran so much during high school and college but know this, everyone who is committed has been ridiculed for some reason.
I found something that partying and being ‘one of the crowd’ could have never given me, the opportunity to travel the world, support my mental, physical and spiritual well-being, and most importantly keep me young and happy.
Two world armed forces teams, an Olympic Trials qualifying time, a three-year stint with the Army World Class Athlete Program, several countries visited and having met and trained with some of the greatest people and athletes in the sport, later.
I can say I have a life and am happy that I could quit running today and be satisfied, that I gave it my utmost effort.
Like-minded people who believe in what you are all about will uplift your spirt and provide you the willingness to attain something hard, difficult, worthwhile.
Surround yourself with the support
None of us doing anything on our own. Always find and seek out the people who know more then you, who will uplift your aspirations and in this case, running goals.
They are the most precious gifts in your life.
5. Shy away from contentment. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is not an easy task.
You can never relent in your pursuit of gunning down the goal. It is a tough standard. You cannot be content with just good enough.
When excellence is in sight, good is not enough – Olympic Coach Joe Vigil
6. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Those who have run a Boston Marathon qualifying time, I am certain, have had to fail along the way in order to qualify. If you miss the time your first shot, then keep on going.
You are bound to obtain your goal. Failure is the motivation that will deliver the result.
The greatest successes in sport usually is the direct result of failure. Use it to your benefit.
Focus on goal pace
7. Practice the pace you want to hold to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
There is no short cuts. You cannot ask yourself to hold 6.30 mile pace for 26.2 miles if you haven’t practiced running the same pace for 12. Does that make sense?
8. Run Easy. Yes, just as important as race pace. The discipline to run easy on your recovery days is just as vital in answering how to qualify for the boston marathon as practicing at race pace.
A rested body will always perform best and is what you certainly will have to do come race morning.
9. Stay Positive. I was told years ago when my marathon best was still ‘only’ 2.43.36 that I should quit. This was from someone I thought was a friend (who was also a 2.16 marathoner at the time), had I listened I would have never broken 2.20.
I can’t stress this enough. Do not put your focus on people who do not believe in what your doing.
They breed a sickness that you or your friends who are trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon do not need. If anything, use their words as fuel to uplift you.
Change up your paces
10. Alternate paces during your long runs. Don’t make it a long slow distance run every time. Remember, specific goals require specific training.
Running easy is good, running fast and extending the time spent there will bring specific results. Boston Marathon qualifying results!
An example of this would be running the first 10 miles easy, followed by the next 5 miles at 20 seconds slower then goal race pace with the last 5 miles at goal marathon race pace.
11. If others have done it, so can you.
Remember that! Simple, but fact.
12. Do hilly long runs. If a course is mainly flat or net downhill such as the Boston Marathon, practicing doing your long runs over hilly terrain will prepare you better then someone who trains mainly on flat roads.
You will gain massive stamina and strength running long periods of time over challenging terrain.
13. Do longer speed intervals. 10x1mile is a great workout.
Running longer reps at paces much faster then the pace you want to hit to qualify for the Boston Marathon, with short recoveries, is going to prepare you well in maintaining a specific pace for 26.2 miles. Endurance is good, speed kills.
When Mexican Andres Espinosa ran his world masters marathon record time of 2.08.46 at the 2003 London Marathon, his last mile was run in 4.20!
This from a 41 year man at the time. No one has come within 2 minutes of that record since.
Think of all the miles he prepared far below his goal marathon race pace leading into that race.
Alternate easy and hard weeks
14. Incorporate two high weeks of training followed by a lower week.
This will prevent you from overtraining and will allow your body to recover from the previous two weeks.
A recovered body will always spring back and super compensate.
This is how our training was constructed when I was in college and much of it came from one of the world’s top distance coaches, Dr. Joe Vigil.
15. Study those who have hit the time you want to run. What did they do? How did they train? Training is universal and physiological adaptations occur in everyone.
Results will come to you faster if you research ways in which runners faster then you have achieved what they have.
16. Do longer fartleks. One of the best workouts I ever did. I should say had to endure was a long fartlek run consisting of 60 minutes of running. 1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy.
The 1 minute bursts were at 4.50 pace with the 1 minute ‘easy’ section at 6.30 pace. I was only 23 years old. It was my first real dose of what it was going to take to be exceptional at this sport.
I did this run with Gilbert Rutto, a 2.13 marathoner from Kenyan while I was still attending Malone University back in 1998.
The Kenyans are famous for doing well at the marathon distance (as do others) by practicing running at speeds exceeding goal marathon race pace for longer period of time.
Focus on glutathione foods
17. Eat a high protein and carbohydrate meal immediately after a hard training session. This will replenish what you have lost, help you recover faster and repair muscle tissues disrupted from that hard workout.
The muscles are like sponges after workouts.
The quicker you replenish the body, the more recovered you will be for your next workout.
18. Make the choice to qualify.
There is so much power in telling yourself that ‘I am going to earn this standard no matter what’.
You have to have an utterable, unshakeable belief in what you are doing.
Hold yourself accountable.
Coach Joe Newton put it beautifully,
You have three choices in life, be average, be good, be great. Your teacher didn’t make it, the preacher didn’t make it, you make it! If you choose to be average, that is all your ever going to be in life.
Many people think that unless you are out running a national or world class time you are average. BS!!!
The same people who think like this never consider the woman who goes out after dropping 30 pounds and runs her first 5K (and finishes) or the man who drops over an hour off his marathon time.
That is great! People like this have chosen to be great and what they are doing is just as great as someone running what the world and media consider a notable world class marathon effort.
The stories are usually about the top runners. There are millions who have their own stories of triumph and deserve the same notoriety.
19. Be relentless. The moment you let up, even for a second, is one moment in your life you have given in to pursuing your goal.
Be razor sharp in the pursuit and don’t look back when your older wondering ‘what if I had done this or that’ NOW is YOUR time!
20. Enforce your sleep standards.
The normal individual needs anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
Runners training to qualify for the Boston Marathon or any other marathon for that matter need even more.
What you are doing the other 24 hours of the day is just as important at the workout itself.
21. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Remember, if a goal is missed. It is not the end of the world. Think of all the problems in the world and stop to give thanks that you have your health, others do not have it as good as you do.
There is always another marathon to achieve your Boston Marathon qualifying time.
Far too often we get so bent out of shape in missing a time goal we self-sabotage our happiness for the sake of a failure.
I look back to when I kept missing my goal of a sub 2.22 marathon time and those failures were my greatest friends and helped me break 2.20. I was a 2.40.02 marathoner the day before I ran 2.19.
I trained in such a way, often by myself on lonely dirt roads, that breaking the 2.20.00 barrier was not only possible, it was going to happen.
Focus on the future
You have to always be looking ahead and believe in your goal, at all times.
You never see the value in a missed effort until you achieve your goal and cross the line in a time you could only dream of, until it occurs.
Use them to your benefit but don’t let disappointments ruin your love for the sport, your health and other pursuits. Maintain that healthy balance.
When I was deployed to Afghanistan I saw people sleeping on the side of the road, made me think back to the times I would be unhappy I didn’t run as fast as I wanted.
22. Give Back. If you are one of the fortunate ones who have hit the Boston Marathon qualifying time. Take some time to help your neighbor out.
There is nothing more beautiful then helping another person achieve what they may have believed is not possible.
Sometimes all that is needed is one person who says, ‘You CAN do it, I believe in you’.
It is more blessed to give, then it is to receive.
Think about it…
23. Focus on what YOU can control.
You can control slowing down on runs the day after a hard track workout. You have that discipline, that ability, to hold yourself back running in a training group and that takes practice.
You see others taking off and think ‘maybe I should run with them but what happens if I slow down, am I less of a runner’.
You know where I am coming from. It takes more discipline to hold back when you know your not recovered then to push a run when you are still recovering.
The smart runners will do this. They know results come in the rest, not soley the hard workout itself. Want to know how to qualify for the Boston Marathon?