This is my contribution to Take It and Run Thursdays which this week asks the question: What is The Secret of How To Qualify for the Boston Marathon? This is a bittersweet topic for me because God knows how many times I’ve asked myself the same question for an entire year between the heartbreak of the 2006 Hartford Marathon (3:11:33) and the victorious 2007 NYC Marathon (3:08:18), when I finally captured my first B.Q. Now that I’ve done it several times and have even trained others to do the same, I believe I owe it to the running community to dispense some of my trusted B.Q. tips. But instead of telling you all what you should do, which isn’t really my style, I’ll just leave you a list of things to avoid. Hopefully, this can be of some use to you in your training. Good Luck
Ten Things You Can’t Do If You Wanna B.Q.
- You can’t B.Q. if you don’t have a plan. This is rather obvious for anyone who’s ever been “in training” for something. In training for a big goal, there are always a series of smaller goals that once completed makes the overall goal a little bit easier and a bit more fathomable to accomplish. To design a series of smaller goals that lead you to your destination involves planning. A better plan leads to better training which ultimately leads to a better race. Everything starts with the plan.
- You can’t B.Q. if you don’t train long and fast. Speedwork and the long run are key workouts for a B.Q. marathon runner. If you’re not willing/able to do either, maybe
just isn’t for you. Boston
- You can’t B.Q. if you don’t have patience and diligence. I've spoken about this in a previous post, but recognize there will be some setbacks and failures in training. During those times, it is essential that you don’t become overly frustrated but remain patient with yourselves. Keep the faith and remain focus on the goal. Chances are you have made tremendous strides in the running, but for one reason or another, the results just haven’t reflected that—yet!
- You can’t B.Q. if you don’t train smart. Always know what workout you are doing and for what specific purpose. This will help you determine the appropriate pace/parameters for each particular run.
- You can’t B.Q. if you don’t eat and sleep right. We all know that eating the right foods can boost training, but it’s a little known fact that most of muscle recovery/regeneration occurs during shut-eye time. If you’re not catching enough Z’s at night, the running will suffer during the day.
- You can’t B.Q. if you’re afraid of the pain. Like Kara and Benard said in their Q&A…Running is hard. Its hard to push yourself when you’re in pain. But that’s what separates the winner and the losers. It’s the ability to harness the pain and make it work for you instead of against you. I love that quote because it’s so true. Part of B.Q. marathon training is learning to embrace the pain instead of fearing it. Making that psychological transition is one of the toughest parts of the training.
- You can’t B.Q. if you can’t see yourself doing it. This is in my opinion the least talked about but most important lesson to learn when training to run a B.Q. No matter how fast you run in your training or in your races leading up to your goal marathon, if you can’t see yourself running your B.Q. time for whatever reason, it is highly unlikely that you will suddenly find that confidence to run well at mile 20.
- You can’t B.Q. if you don’t got “ammo”. “Ammo” is what I call the things that you will use to fight off the marathon demons that inevitably will make an appearance sometime during the race, particularly in the last 6.2 miles. They could be mantras, inspirational quotes, names of people, reasons to run, riddles and/or brain teasers. The more you have, the better chance you have of winning the battles. That’s why I call them “ammo”.
- You can’t B.Q. if the race gods don’t want you to. Sometimes you can train perfectly, prepare adequately, run a good race and still fall short of your goal because of inclement weather, wind, or other distractions. The key is to recognize that there are always going to be external forces beyond your control that will make or break your marathon, and that one single race does not define you as a runner unless you allow it to be.
- You can’t B.Q. if you’re standing on the sideline when the race starts. In order words, you can’t run if you’re injured no matter how fast or long you were running prior to the injury. So make plans, but always listen to your body first.
Have fun in your training, and I’ll see you in