Saturday, May 23, 2009


I was reading an online running forum the other day and I ran across a post from a guy (who runs basically as fast as I do) asking the group if he could qualify for the Boston Marathon.  What struck me was that he is my age and has the same insane qualification requirements that I have: a 3:10 marathon.  That means running twenty six 7:15/min miles one right after the other.  It is about as hard as you’d expect.  To look at it another way, go to your local track, run around that track in 1 minute 49 seconds, and then repeat 104 more times without slowing down or stopping.  (I love the track analogy for a marathon.)

I’ve often wondered to myself if running at the speed required for me to qualify is something that is purely genetic, or if it is something that can be trained.  That is, can I qualify if I train my ass off?

If I look at my marathon history, I’m fairly confident that I am not a ‘born’ runner.  But, it is fun and I haven’t died yet, so I continue.  To achieve the 3:10 marathon, I’m basically 19 minutes away.  As I’ve found, early gains are easy while later gains are much harder to obtain.  I’ve shortened my marathon time by 30 minutes in 2 years.  I’ve went from 3:59:13 in 10/07 to 3:29:29 in 5/09.  However, I would assume that the last 19 minutes would be twice as hard as the first 30.

The people in the post above gave lots of suggestions on what the original poster could do to qualify / bring his times down.  A lot of them included running more miles.  60+ miles per week.  The most that I’ve ever ran has been 46 – and 26 of those were a marathon.  So, I suppose that is something that I could do.  Also mentioned was incorporating some speed work after increasing base mileage.  Yeah, I could probably look into that too.

So, what do you think?  Is this even a possibility?

My History:
10/07 - Kansas City Marathon: 3:59:13
3/08 - Olathe Marathon: 3:48:43
10/08 - Chicago Marathon: 4:05:49 (bombed out because of the heat)
3/09 - Fayetteville Marathon: 3:44:12
5/09 - Fargo Marathon: 3:29:29


Pat said...

I think you are closer than you think. But, this is no time to experiment. I would look into getting a running coach. When you get to AZ, I bet the Arizona Roadracers can help you find one that has BQ'd and can get you there. Or you can google Dean Hebart, he a local coach.

Michelle said...

YES YES and YES!!!

Go for it MR!

Christine said...

Have no fear big brother! At the end of the summer I will have several tools for you to make this possible. Those health and exercise science classes come in handy for something...guidelines for exercise testing and prescription should do the trick. haha Love you

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

No doubt at all that you can BQ when you are only 19 minutes away. I'm a whole lot further away from the 3:15 I need, and I still plan on making it happen.

Pat is right, there are a ton of good coaches out here to help you make it happen.

aron said...

Just keep putting in those miles and training hard... you will definitely get there!

sRod said...

There are plenty of runners who BQ without doing 60 miles a week. Just keep at it. I think you'll see progress and make 3:10 yet.