After finishing a marathon, many runners strive to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Boston is the crème de la crème of the 26.2 mile race – and the proverbial holy-grail for the seasoned marathon runner. If you're training to qualify for the Boston Marathon, or if it's on your lifetime to-do list, here are some tips, a training plan, and some other miscellaneous guidance that I hope helps you attain your goal.
Prior to pursuing a Boston-qualifier, I would highly recommend running a marathon just to complete it. You’ll learn an awful lot about the training, the race, and you’ll likely leave with a mental list of things you would do differently in your next marathon. While I hope my experiences help you out, everyone’s different and everyone will have different variations of the same mental and physical challenges that we all face.
To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you must run a certain time based on your age and gender. If you are not certain what time you have to run, see the Boston Marathon Qualifying Times page, to look up what time you’ll need. You can qualify for the Boston Marathon up to 18 months prior to the race, which is usually the second or third Monday in April. Also, please note that the age that ‘matters’ is that age that you’ll be on the Boston Marathon Race day.
It took me three tries to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and with each race I took away another lesson-learned. While I know that many qualify on their first try and don’t need the following advice…here’s my top lessons-learned for those that it may help:
Trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon is a terrific goal and I wish you the best of luck in attaining it. Below was my training plan to run a 3:10 marathon. It’s low mileage compared to other marathon training plans, but it worked for me. I would love to run 50-60 miles per week, but life’s other priorities have had me trim back a bit on mileage. So for those busy-folks out there: You can do it!
|8||4||5||4||0 / XT||4||0||11|
|9||4||5||4||0 / XT||4||0||6|
|10||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||13|
|11||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||7|
|12||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||15|
|13||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||8|
|14||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||17|
|15||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||4x1-mile|
|16||4||5||5||0 / XT||4||0||19|
|17||5||6||5||0 / XT||5||0||6x1-mile|
|18||5||6||5||0 / XT||5||0||21|
|19||5||6||5||0 / XT||5||0||8x1-mile|
|20||5||6||4||0 / XT||5||0||24|
|21||5||6||5||0 / XT||5||0||12|
|22||5||6||5||0 / XT||5||0||10x1-mile|
|23||5||6||4||0 / XT||5||0||27|
|24||5||6||4||0 / XT||5||0||12x1-mile|
|25||4||6||5||0 / XT||4||0||13|
|Long Slow Distance: 1-2 minutes slower than marathon goal pace (MGP)|
|Mile Intervals: 20-40 seconds faster than MGP|
|Tempo Runs: Middle miles at MGP (Ex. 2m warm-up + 2m MGP + 2m cool-down)|
|Rest or Cross-Train (XT): Bike, Elliptical, Rowing (non-running cardiovascular exercise)|
|Rest - let your muscles heal|
|Comfortable pace (45-75 seconds slower than MGP)|
The training plan above should be used as a guide to help you qualify for the Boston Marathon. If there are days when you feel tired or lethargic, take a rest day. My training plans have typically been lighter on weekly mileage than many other plans that I've seen. This one has worked for me, but others may find that they need to run more miles to prepare for the race. Others may find that they need more speed work. There is NO one-size-fits-all training plan, so please listen to your body and consult your physician before you start a marathon training program.
Best of luck to you in your running! It’s a great goal and one that’s a lot of fun pursuing. Happy Running!