It was a bad running year due to the wonky foot and inconsistent training, so I skipped out on doing a review of my racing year. I just wanted to put it behind me and start fresh. But I came across a photo that reminded me of a race that I didn’t mention to anyone (except Trainer) that I was going to run. It ended up in a DNF – my second of the year — and was my best race memory of 2018.
Well, this wasn’t the trip I had planned when I booked it in February. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when I qualified for the Boston Marathon in November 2016. But life is funny, and it’s the trip I ended up having. Here’s the rundown on my trip to Boston to NOT run a marathon – runner’s version.
We landed in Boston Thursday morning and went over to the expo. Let me back it up a bit. About 15 minutes before we were going to board our flight, I realized I had left the one thing I had to bring: my Boston Marathon Passport.
“When you make a choice and say ‘come hell or high-water, I am going to be this,’ then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that feels intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that…when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time because it has been [in your mind] the whole time.” — Kobe Bryant
This is the last installment in my series of how an average runner finally — after four plus years and seven marathons — qualified for the Boston Marathon. As I previously wrote, I did three things in one year of working with a trainer that helped me to BQ: changed from heel strike to a midfoot strike; ran less (and did more of everything else); and did speed-hill-agility training. The final piece was mindset.
Speed Speed Speed.
Track had been noticeably absent from my marathon training plans for a few years. It seemed to be a main cause for my injuries, so speed training had been relegated to a minor portion of my schedule and was done in the form of tempo runs during the sharpening phase — about 6-8 weeks. Other than that, I stayed off the track and followed the common strategy that increasing mileage would build up my speed. Well, as mentioned in the previous post, I significantly decreased my mileage…so where was the speed going to come from? Yup, it was back to the track. And hills. And speed and agility work. More stuff I had either never done or neglected to do for several years.
This week I read about the Pareto Principle, an axiom that aligns well with the second significant change I made to my training that allowed me to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I had spent three years plateauing at 30-plus minutes away from my qualifying time, so when I turned myself in to a trainer/coach in the fall of 2015, I was finally desperate enough to throw away all my preconceived notions about how one runs a faster marathon. I had spent the last few training cycles relentlessly increasing my mileage; I mean, that’s what you do to improve in an endurance sport, right? Well, my now 48-year old body had other ideas and was becoming chronically injured. Change no. 2 was basically this: Run Less; All the Other Stuff More. In other words, instead of running-running-running with a few stretches and leg strengthening exercises when I had time, I was now going to implement a system comprised of mandatory practices that were not running…and my mileage would be whatever it was going to be. What?!? So here’s the “Other Stuff”.
As promised in last week’s post, I want to share the four major changes I made to my training that allowed me to take over 30 minutes off my marathon time and catch that unicorn — the BQ. It’s my hope that one of these can help you catch your BQ dream or just improve your running. Let’s go!
So here’s change no. 1: I went from being a heel striker to a midfoot/toe striker.
“You’ll never be able to do that.”
Those were the words that flew out of my good friend’s mouth when I told him that my goal was to run a sub-4:00 marathon. In his defense, nothing in my running career would indicate I could run that fast, plus it was early morning, and I think he just didn’t have as much brain-to-mouth control. Regardless, his words fueled me. Continue reading “How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 1: A Crazy Idea”