I remember back in 2006, two days before my first Chicago Marathon, I was talking to my coworker (cannot remember about what) but I do remember telling her that I wanted to BQ before I turned 40. Umm, clearly I had NO idea what I was talking about at that time.  I was a newbie runner.  I had began running the year before and there was still a lot for me to learn about running and races.  My goal was simply to finish and on October 22nd I ran my first marathon in 5:53:33.  Not horrible but maybe I could have done better.

In the next few years I ran a couple more marathons:

I think I used Hal Higdon’s training plans for most of them except the last two marathons.  My goal was simply to finish.  While I did PR on most of my marathons, I never really seriously trained because my goal was simply to finish each race.  I could have done better if I had trained better. << Maybe.  You never know how it will go on marathon day.

I worked with a coach in 2014 to train for the Chicago Marathon.  I liked my coach.  She gave me fun and challenging workouts. I ended up not running it because I got to a point that I did not want to run anymore.  I was burned out.  I did have a GREAT time spectating the marathon.  

I decided to try again for the 2015 marathon.  I hired another coach.  My previous one couldn’t coach me.  She also gave me fun and challenging workouts too.  I finished in 5:21:17.  I was disappointed.  I was devastated.  I had trained hard that summer and I was hoping for a finish time under 5 hours.

Last year I trained using the Hansons Marathon Method.  It was tough.  I was running 6 days a week and I was ALWAYS tired. I felt strong and had some great runs.  I remember one Sunday morning I ran 6 miles @ a 9 minute pace and I was very happy to have done so.  My marathon finish time was 5:12:59. Yes, I did get a PR but I was again aiming for a finish time under 5 hours.  I did so well during the first 9 miles and then I had some hip pain and then struggled the rest of the race.  I remember wanting to quit about 3 times but by the last time I was at mile 22 and I kept reminding myself that I had 4 miles to go.  Why quit now?

I decided not to run the Chicago Marathon this year.  I needed a break.  I did not want to run anymore marathons.  Instead, I wanted to focus on my half marathons and my quest to run one in each state. Well, I was bitten by the BQ bug and decided “Why not?  I can get a BQ.”  Will it be easy?  No.  Will it be this year or next year?  Probably not.  It will take me a few years but I am determined to get there. Reading and writing about Elizabeth Clor’s book Boston Bound about her struggles and determination to BQ also motivated me to work towards a BQ.  

I need a 3:55 for a BQ.  My marathon PR is 5:12:59 (let’s just go with 5:13:00).  That means I need to cut 1 hour and 18 minutes off my marathon time.  << But even that will not guarantee me a spot at the marathon.  So, I will need an extra 5 minutes (1 hour and 23 minutes).  Once I hit the next age group, I will need a 4:00 finish time.  You bet I want to do it while I’m in this current age group.

For now I am running again using the Beginner’s Plan of the Hansons Marathon Method.  The plan ends in July and I am scheduled to run a marathon on July 30th.  I will be on my way back from a cruise in Alaska.  I haven’t decided if I want to run a marathon or run an unofficial one on my own (if so I will probably add 1 or 2 weeks of training depending on how much running I do in Alaska).  The Chicago Lakefront is 18 miles from beginning to end.  With the right preparation and planning I can run my own marathon at the beginning of August. No pressure.  It will be good to see where I am training wise/marathon time.

Another marathon I am thinking about is the Miami Marathon on January 28th, 2018.  But the thought of training during the winter makes me NOT want to sign up.  We’ll see.  <<Edit: I am not attempting the Miami Marathon as a BQ.   Since I am not running the Chicago Marathon I would like to see where I am fitness wise with my training.

I know I still have to make more decisions (hire a coach, use Hansons Method or Run Less, Run Faster Method, sign up for a marathon, etc) but what I do know is that I want to get a BQ.  

I hope you follow along in my journey as I attempt to get a BQ.  The goal is to run The Boston Marathon before I am in the next age group which will be in 2022.

Have you run The Boston Marathon?  Am I crazy for thinking I can qualify when I have to cut more than 1 hour from my marathon PR?  Any advice you have for me?

I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap and Courtney for her Training Recap Link Up!

Hoping everyone had a good week!

28 Comments on Training to train to train to train for a BQ

  1. Ok, here’s my two cents ( from someone who’s come close but hasn’t BQ’d yet). Make Chicago your BQ. You can sleep in your own bed. You know the course. You know the town. Leave as little to chance as possible. Find a coach who can give you a personalized training plan–and it would be great if you can see them in person. I’d add strength training to your regime too.

    I guess that was more than 2 cents.

  2. I don’t think you are crazy. I think it’s a great goal. You already know how much work it’s going to take. It’s going to be a lot of sacrifice and a heck of a lot of running. Work hard and I’m sure you can do it!

  3. I don’t think you are crazy at all. If you want to run a BQ, you can do it! Nothing is impossible and you are dedicated to training, which is always the first step!

  4. You are not crazy. You can do it and putting your goal out there shows that you are determined. I think a coach really helps. I’m looking forward to following your journey.

  5. Wish you the best of luck and hope that you keep us updated on your journey. Chicago in 2015 is still the fastest of my 11 marathons and have great memories of the race and, to date, it is the only marathon that I broke 4 hours (by 5 seconds!). I’m also juggling the idea of attempting a BQ but honestly just not sure I can get there…even though I’m closer to 50, my BQ would need to <3:25 and not sure I can get that low…but who knows! You know the Chicago race very well and I would agree that is a great BQ course. I think Miami could be tough…you have the cold winter to train and then go run in heat and humidity which is a huge challenge. If you're willing to travel though there are other very favorable BQ type races…I was looking at mountains to ocean in California as a possiblity…I've also read runners that use one of the Revel series of raes, St George, UT, and Phoenix AZ. Lots of options…best of luck!

  6. I love this post – I love your story and your journey so far in trying to get that BQ. I am a very new runner (still at the 10k running stage) so I don’t have any useful advise, but I don’t think you are crazy at all. I can feel how badly you want this, and you already have so many lessons learnt from previous attempts. I most certainly think you have it in you and I will be right here cheering you on! 🙂

  7. Very inspiring – I look forward to seeing you work towards a BQ – it is definitely an ambitious goal but you’re not crazy at all! I would think if you’re trying to get faster that you would want to do more shorter distance races leading up to the marathon so you get more comfortable with holding a faster pace for longer periods of time. Good luck!

  8. If you believe, you can achieve! It will be tough, but you are well aware of the time and hard work it takes. And, that will make the end result that much sweeter. I’d love to BQ but I’ve got to stay healthy, first and foremost. A good downhill course would help me too. I can’t wait to watch you reach your goal. Thanks for linking, Zenaida!

  9. I know nothing about marathons as I’ve only run halfs. However, you certainly have run enough of them to know what training and committment is involved! When you ran your other marathons, your goal was simply to finish …this time you have a fire in your belly for Boston BQ! That will be the difference that pushes you beyond your limits! Good luck! Can’t wait to follow along on your journey. 🙂

  10. You have such a fantastic approach here. One thing that my coach says is “do the training so that you can do the training so that you can do the training.” It’s so true. You need to get yourself to a level where you can train for a BQ without injury and I think you are on the right path! Also, your 5:12:59 is totally a “5:12”. The unspoken rule is to simply leave off the seconds and never round up! 🙂

    • Thank you Elizabeth! Now more than even I am motivated to go for that BQ. I know I will not get it now and that’s why I am looking at training to train to train for that BQ.

  11. I almost got bit my the marathon bug after Chicago last year – it looked so awesome – but my body reminded that running for 4/5/6 hours is just not going to happen. You’ve gotten some great advice and I’m sure you’ll be able to BQ if you keep after it!

Thank you for your comment!