The Road to Boston

Blog, Sue Cloutier

As I mentioned in my last post, the high from running a personal record in the Flying Pig Marathon has me really excited about running again. I want to run a lot. I want to get faster. I am pumped.And while I didn’t experience a lot of soreness from my marathon, I have to remind myself that I did incur some damage, either during the race or cumulatively over weeks of training. I have a tender spot on my left shin. I have some slight muscle soreness deep in my calves, which I suspect may be muscle strains that I have been running on repeatedly. Although they have not hurt me during running, or after, or derailed my training at all, I know that now is the time to let my body rest and to heal completely. As pumped as I am to get out there again and build off of my current fitness, today I had to remind myself that my ultimate goal is to qualify for Boston in the next few years, and I need to rest NOW.

Today I took a serious look at what it would take for me to qualify. At my current age, and until September of 2019 (when I turn 40), I would need to run a marathon under 3:40. To ensure that I definitely get in, I would preferably run 3:35. This means I still need to take almost another hour off of my marathon time. It sounds impossible, but it’s not. I have a plan.
Current Qualifying Standards for the Boston Marathon
Having just run 4:26, I am sure I could reasonably aim for a 4:15 fall marathon. I am still relatively new to marathoning and haven’t had a lot of heavy training, so I can still improve by quite a bit at this time if I’m smart about increasing training load. Continuing on, assuming a warmer marathon race in the spring, I would aim for a ten minute improvement of 4:05 and hopefully another ten minute improvement next fall of 3:55. That would be almost 30 minutes off in 18 months. For the spring of 2019, I could go for another 10 minute improvement to bring me to 3:45, and then aim for 3:40 in the fall of 2019. Theoretically, if I achieved a 3:40 or less in October or November of 2019 after turning 40, I would likely qualify for the 2021 Boston Marathon. Unless the qualifying standards change by then.
Now, my goal was to qualify for Boston by the END of 2020. This means that I have a one year buffer in case I get injured before one or two of these marathons, or in the event that the qualifying standards are lowered. Having said all of that, the best way to avoid getting injured, in my experience, is to rest when I can, and let my body heal from the stress of training. Since I’ll be training virtually year-round for the next few years, the post-marathon time – a.k.a. NOW – is the only time I have to rest completely.
This is what I have to remind myself every day until it’s time to begin fall marathon training. If I want to get to Boston, I have to rest now. I just have to. Just do it, Sue.

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