Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Do you think it's reasonable to combine these goals during one year?

1. Dropping about 45 minutes from current marathon ballpark time, to hopefully run a Boston Qualifier in the fall, and

2. Continuing through that same year to run a few other marathons to add to my 50-state quest?

Background: In 2001 (before I started doing triathlons and was just a runner) I ran a 4:21 in late April and a 4:12 in October. The 4:21 inspired me to try for a BQ, which would have been 4:05 at the time. I went out too fast and blew it, walked a few miles, and still made 4:12. This was 5 years ago.

My qualifying time at my age now is 4:15.

Do you think I could do the necessary speedwork AND get in a number of marathons to increase my state tally?


jbmmommy said...

I'm absolutely useless for running advice, but I think if you decide to do it, you'll do it. If you're headed Boston way, you'll have to give us a beep and wave as you head up I-95 through CT! I'd be so thrilled to ever run a marathon, your times would be great to me. Good luck.

runr53 said...

Makea decision to concentrate on an "A" race for speed and the rest as training runs and you can do it. My brother just did at Huntington this past weekend! Run Good!

bunnygirl said...

I know I couldn't do it, but I'm the Queen of Weird Injuries, so don't pay me much mind. Trying to do both sounds ambitious, but you're the best judge of your own body. I don't believe following someone else's rule is always the way to go.

21st Century Mom said...

If you have time to do a lot of really long runs with occasional speedwork you could do it. Injury will be your enemy, though. You'll have to make sure you have great shoes and lots of them so you can rotate.

Ultimatly you don't know if you can or can't do it until you try, right?

ShirleyPerly said...

Hi Ellie,

As a 50-stater myself, I'd say it depends on 3 things:

1) is running a BQ time is realistic for you (i.e., do your shorter race times indicate you could do so with speedwork?)

2) how many marathons you plan to run and how fast you recover (i.e, can you effectively use the other marathons as long training runs and still do speedwork?)

3) choosing a fast course and running a smart race (this would apply to anyone who wants to run a fast race time)

Personally, I can choose one race to be a fast-for-me, hard effort marathon if I run "only" 4-6 marathons a year. If I run over 10 marathons a year, I treat all as long training runs to avoid getting injured.

Best of luck and feel free to email me offline about running marathons any time :-)

William said...

How about 1 other marathon, and many 1/2 marathons?

Sounds like the BQ will be pretty easy to reach with proper nutrition, and a little speed work.

Injury would be my concern. Marathons take a toll mentally and physically and can blow a month of proper training out too.

TxSkatemom said...

Dang, no resting on the laurels for you! Jumping right back into the fray, I see.

I say go for broke and go for Boston. But that's just me. It's on the list, but probably not for a while -- there's no way I have that kind of speed in me. I'm thinking when I hit 60-64, my times might warrant me a Boston bib!

Dianne W. said...

Sure. Why not.

Rachel said...

I think it sounds like a reasonable goal. You can combine them. Use the marathons to strengthen your endurance and become faster and, hence, qualify for Boston.

Sheila said...

A :45 drop is a lofty goal for where you are at now, but it can't hurt to try.

If you want a realistic picture of where you are now and whether it's reasonable to drop where you want to be, I highly suggest you buy Daniels' Running Formula by Jack Daniels.

There's a chart in there (among other things) called VDOT, which is basically a measure of your current speed. In training to get to the next higher value, I think he recommends something like at least 4 weeks at current paces before changing to the next one. It sounds like you believe you're at a 5:00 marathon right now (approx.), and :45 is a lot to drop in 6 months or less.

BUT, if all you do is run (with a bit of cross training), that is the way to find out if you CAN do it.

The book has awesome marathon training plans, and is known as one of the BEST books on the sport for training.

The steps I believe get you faster at marathon are:
1. Train yourself to run at proper cadence, if you don't already (90-95 foot strikes on one side per minute).
2. Run more frequently, i.e., # of days per week
3. Run more miles. Sometimes a by-product of #2, but at some point you need to increase distance as well.
4. Elevate your tempo pace, which does not require track work, just tempo work which is much less stressful to your body
5. If you are able to run frequently, many miles (35+ per week), do a tempo run once a week and do some tempo during your long run, THEN you can safely add true speed/track work.

The Daniels book explains all of this.

Oh and you might want to get a coach, or not. Depends on how well you do with the book alone. As far as doing other marathons as training, why? I think 1/2 marathons are good races to keep you racing sharp but that don't require a ton of recovery; whereas marathons have a strong propensity to leave you with lingering injury or illness.