Tips to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the ‘holy grail’ of the running world. It is the oldest annual footrace. It is held on Patriots day every year in April. It is a point to point course running from the small town of Hopkinton to downtown Boston. Along the way you face the famous ‘heartbreak hill’ at mile 21. The race has a rich history, and it draws in around 30,000 runners every year.

You Must Qualify or Raise Money for Charity

Qualifying for Boston in itself is a major accomplishment. The standards are not easy and require most athletes years or decades of commitment to the sport.

Women 18-34 must run 26.2 miles at 8:00 pace or faster to qualify

Men 18-34 must run 26.2 miles at 6:52 pace or faster to qualify.

To give you more of an idea just how quick that is, the ‘average marathoner’ per goggle search runs about 4:47 (26.2 miles at 11:00 pace) for women & 4:22 (26.2 miles at 10:00 pace) for men.

Most people who qualify for Boston have a life commitment to the sport.

It is the mindset of a lifelong journey that enables them to reach a higher level to eventually BQ and hit their potential in the sport.

The joy is in the journey NOT the destination.


Our Boston Qualified Athletes & Coaches Tips:

  • Try not to hyper focus on the time goal or put too much pressure on yourself. Always train for and race at the fitness level you are at. You will get to the destination eventually if you are committed to becoming the best you can be. Try to enjoy the process along the way. Running should be something you enjoy doing. Boston is an added Boston once you get there it is a celebration of years of hard work.
  •  Don’t get hung up on what other people are doing/ compare ect on strava. I’ve been there. Just because somebody is running doubles every day and 105 miles a week you don’t have to. (They will probably shortly burn out anyways lol) Alternatively if somebody is doing 6 workouts a week and you run best off one then do what works for you! (Again they will prob shortly burn out)
    (Something I’ve recently just learnt!) and take negative comments with a pinch of salt. (I’ve been wound up like crazy in the past by them!)
  • There are going to be so many obstacles. Your training won’t go perfectly. None of that matters as long as you are diligent and keep pushing forward. With every race I make a game time decision during the beginning and assess where I think I am that day, because no matter how hard you prepare, you might not be ready that particular day. Learn to be ok with that. Don’t try to force it. The moment I let go was the moment I got mine. I just had to learn to trust myself.
  • Just put your head down and do the work! There really is no secret. Take your easy days easy so you can run those long tempo runs correctly. Try not to expend mental energy by wondering if you are doing enough, if you should have done another speed day last week, should have ran 2 20 milers instead of 1, etc. Enjoy the process, that’s when runners have their breakthroughs!
  • Trust your training and DO THE WORK. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have bad workouts and obstacles that you’ll face but always remember why you’re doing it. Have fun with the process. Watch yourself get faster and fall in love with running all over again. Also, don’t get discouraged if you don’t qualify on your first attempt. You’re not the only one and it’s hard to get in for a reason. Always always remember though that you CAN do it. Anything is possible
  • Consistency is key. You have to find a plan and stick to it. Another thing I learned along the way was that just bc you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. I used to run all of my workouts way too fast for the goal that I was training for. Set your goal, find a pace calculator(or a wonderful run4pr’s coach) and stick to the paces. Also, sloooooow Down. My husband runs sub 3 marathons and does his recovery days with me at an 8:30 sometimes 9 minute pace. I ran 3:24 in Indy and do recovery miles on the treadmill at 10 minute pace. It’s active recovery. Treat is as such! Do the work, be patient, enjoy the journey, and you will get there
  • Believe in yourself! Everything that you need to qualify is already within you. It might take some time, but all good things take time and patience. The journey to get there says so much more about your abilities than the race itself. Try to find the joy in the daily grind, knowing that those days will add up to something extraordinary. Lastly, don’t get caught up in the really great days or the really bad ones. Keep moving forward – you can and you will catch that
  • I recommend having a game plan, sticking to it, and monitoring how you are truly feeling during the race.

    It is really easy to ignore the signals your body is giving you or starting out way too fast trying to muscle through because you want to hit the qualifying time so badly.

    Trust the training, trust the race plan, and let go of any attachment to the outcome and the chips will fall into place!





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