Saturday, January 9, 2010

Boston Marathon or Bust


I am inspired to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year...then run it in 2011. The qualifying time is good for 18 months.  I turn 44 this year, but when I run the actual Boston Marathon in 2011, I'll be 45.  That gives me an extra 10 minutes to qualify since I'll be in the 45-49 age group!  I will need a 3:30 (instead of 3:20 for the 40-44 age group).  Running a 3:30 marathon, which is 8:01 pace, seems pretty doable.  That 3:20 has been staring at me for 4 years and I haven't had the confidence to make a BQ attempt.  With that extra 10 minutes, 3:30 seems like a nice challenge. In fact, according to the way Boston determines qualifying times, all I need to run is 3:30:59 (they give you that extra 59 seconds...hopefully I won't need it).

In case you didn't realize, my Friday morning test runs are at 8:00 pace...the same pace I'll need to qualify for Boston.  Three miles is not 26.2, but I'm mostly concerned with what heart rate I'm at for that pace.  I want it to feel fairly easy and not stress my cardiovascular system.  Other training runs during the week will get me to the full marathon distance at the correct pace: long runs at easy paces, speed sessions at substantially faster than marathon pace, and some super easy runs for recovery.  According to the McMillan Running web site, if I want to target a 3:30 marathon, the following paces are appropriate:

Long Runs = 8:32-9:32
Recovery Jogs = 9:32-10:02
Easy Runs = 8:32-9:02
Tempo Run = 7:18-7:37

400m repetitions = 1:35-1:40 (~6:34 minute/mile pace)
800m reps = 3:18-3:27 (~6:48 pace)
1200m reps = 5:04-5:19 (~6:58 pace)
1600m reps = 6:54-7:09 (~7:05 pace)

Also, I should be able to run the following races in the given times:

5K = 21:36
10K = 44:51
Half-Marathon = 1:39:49

I have run faster than all of those race times in the past.  I'm pretty sure I could run them at those predicted paces right now.  I think.  We'll see how my training goes.  I plan on running a few shorter races on my way to the Boston Marathon qualifier.  If I can easily beat the predicted times above, then I'll have confidence that I'm on track for a fast marathon.  Now, which marathon do I run?  I would LOVE to qualify for Boston at a trail marathon.  My first choice would be the Towpath Marathon on October 10.  It's a certified course and is run on a crushed limestone path.  Not exactly a torturous trail...but good enough for me!  I don't have a back-up plan yet...probably a fairly flat, fast, road marathon in November or December.

6 comments:

GTI said...

Go for it Chris! I'm excited for you that you're going to tackle this goal this year. I'm sure you can do it. And yes, if you get your BQ on a trail course - extra brownie points for you.

Chris said...

Thanks. I appreciate your confidence in me...I'm starting to believe. I kinda wish I didn't have the Canadian Death Race haunting me until late July. Oh well, I guess that race will give me an extra boost of confidence if I finish it...or an extra dose of reality and motivation if I DNF.

Ian said...

Chris. Good luck with getting that BAA time. Remember that BAA 2010 sold out and some running year end marathons for BQs were shut out. You might need an earlier race to enter in 2011 :-)

Heidi said...

The North Central Trail Marathon in Maryland (run Thanksgiving weekend) is also a BQ trail course. It's on limestone as well and supposedly has a high rate of BQ finishers. I want to run it (and BQ) someday myself.

And from what I know, it doesn't sell out early.

Chris said...

The north central trail is a good trail option. I'm thinking about a few road marathons before and after Towpath as alternates: Clarence DeMar (NH), Quad Cities (IL/IA), Rocket City (AL), Akron, (OH), Indianapolis (IN), and Columbus (OH).

Anonymous said...

Good luck Chris I'm pulling for you!!
Z