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?
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