Q: Rage, I want to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. That means the number to get me in is 3:10, and I have my mind set on it for this December 5, 2004 in Tucson, AZ (where I live). I have run two marathons before (LA in March 1999 and San Diego June 2003), both with no hill/speed work really to speak of, in 4:04 and 4:10 (with a first half in 1:48 way too fast for me for the whole deal). Now I am starting to realize I can push myself a little and learn how to pace a bit.
I ran a half marathon for pacing strategy on Jan 11, 2004 in 1:43:52 (nice even 7:55 pace) with no speed training or hills or intervals just long easy runs). I then ran 10K on Feb. 14 also with no speed training hills or intervals just easy running in 44:15 (beating my only other 10K ever by 3:15 from July 2003).
I have since started on a plan to do hills, intervals and 1/2 mile repeats to gear up to a 10K on May 2 to see where I stand. To give an idea I did 5 x 800 a couple days ago in 3:00 pace and I felt quite good (a bit tired but good!). Just warmed up for 1.5 miles, ran the repeats and cooled down for a couple miles.
My question is, am I being too ambitious with my goals? I am looking to run a 41:00 or so for the 10K on May 2, and then use the next seven months to gear up to get to the 3:10 marathon time in December. Currently I run 35 miles a week and plan to build that up to about 50 to 60 to get ready for the December Marathon. Does this sound doable? Or am I being too ambitious? Thanks for your thoughts, M.N., 2/28/04
PS - Awesome site, great motivation!
A: I can't think of any life situation (especially running), where it's not good practice to under promise and over deliver. So, my friend, I 'd like you to set a more realistic goal, based on your two previous marathons. If a 3:10 is your Boston qualifying time, that means you've got a lot of time ahead of you to work toward that goal. I suggest working toward that goal over a longer time frame. Before you take my advice, consider that by no means am I a good marathoner. My times were: 3:24 (Portland, 1995: walled at 22); 3:10 (California International, 1995: went out in 1:36), 3:09 (Portland, 1996: ran the last 10k in 42:40); 3:10 (Boston, 1997: limped to the house after Heartbreak), 3:09 (California International, 1997...PR'ed in the rain) and 3:17 (California International, 2001...Not so lucky in the rain this time...it poured, baby...and the winner was an old guy from BC). Manciata says I don't have a big enough gas tank, and I think that's just part of it. My predicted times based on my shorter distances indicated I should have produced a much faster marathon time, but never delivered. You? I know guys that run the shorter distance times you do and are able to run in the low 3:20's or high 3:teens...but don't know any 3:10 and below...and I don't know ANY who have improved their times by 50+ minutes that you are asking about. My advice? Keep ramping up your training as you are planning to do and don't set yourself up for disappointment. Shoot for something in the 3:45 - 3:50 range next time out, don't broadcast your goal (your spoken goal should always be just to finish) and take anything you can get after that. I'd put a Boston Qualifier down as a long term goal.
Hope that helps. Good luck to you. - The Rage 3/3/04
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