I would like to qualify for the 2012 Boston Marathon at the Queen City Marathon on 9/11 in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The 2011 Boston Marathon sold out in eight hours. The previous record for fastest sell out was two months. In response, the Boston Athletic Association is making some changes to the qualifying standards. For 2012, they are letting runners who are dramatically under the qualifying standard register early. For 2013 they are dropping the qualifying times by 5 minutes.
Sep. 12, 2011 – Qualifiers 20 minutes or under the qualifying times listed above.
Sep. 14, 2011 – Qualifiers 10 minutes or under.
Sep. 16, 2011 – Qualifiers 5 minutes or under.
Registration will close if the field fills up between September 16th and 19th. If there are still spots available on Sep. 19th (week two), all qualifiers can register. This doesn’t mean you have been accepted into the race. On September 23rd, applicants who register during the second week of registration are notified if they qualified for the race. All the applications will be processed, and the fastest runners from the second group of applications will be allowed in.
I’m not sure what it’s going to take to qualify. My marathon personal record is 3:08:03 (7:11/mi pace), which I think I can get close to. That may not be enough to get into Boston with the new process, but it would be enough for me to know that I gave it my all.
To that end I’ve been training hard for the last month. After a spring dominated by my new job, I was very undertrained. But I’ve been diligent lately, and I’m now up to 35 miles a week.
I’ve been doing track workouts to build speed. The track workout I typically do is called “Yasso 800s”. This workout can supposedly predict your marathon time. The workout is comprised of 10 fast half mile separated by resting jogs of the same amount of time as the fast half miles. If you can complete 10 of these with three minute half miles followed by three minute jogs, you should be able to run a marathon in three hours flat. During my most recent track session I completed 10 at 3:06 pace, which should correspond to a 3 hour, 6 minute marathon. While this is encouraging, I did complete 10 at 2:55 pace before my personal best marathon. On the other hand, I’ve been increasing the pace of my jogs during this training cycle, so 10 at 2:55 would probably be more like 10 at 2:58 or so with fast jogs. I have five track workouts remaining, my hope is to complete the final one at 2:50 pace (5:40 half miles). That’s probably too aggressive, but it’s the goal for now. This week I’ll be attempting 10 at 3:02.
*Update: I’ve been advised to run my intervals faster and my jogs slower. My new plan is to attempt 10 at 2:59 this week with much slower jog intervals.
I’ve also been racing each of the last two weekends. Two weekends ago I ran the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz. I completed that six mile race in 38:33 which is 6:26/mi pace. Though my heart rate for this race was very high, this was a very encouraging result. I also ran the first half of the San Francisco Marathon this weekend. My time there was 1:32:24 which is 7:04/mi, a very disappointing result. Another good indicator for marathon ability is to take your half marathon time, double it, and add 10 minutes. Using this methodology, I’m currently capable of a 3:15 marathon, which is not fast enough to qualify. This was the reason for my disappointment in my result.
However, I did some checking, and I am no longer as concerned about my somewhat poor performance yesterday. The first half of the San Francisco Marathon is a ridiculously difficult course. I decided to check to see what the top finishers in the half marathon yesterday have run in other half marathons. The winner was Brett Geithman, with a 1:12:33. He doesn’t have any easily found half marathon results, but he did run a marathon at 2:26:58 pace, which would vaguely correspond to a 1:04 half marathon. So he was eight minutes slower on this course. Similarly, other top finishers saw a 5-10 minute spread between their San Francisco half and personal best half times. So, this means that my time of 1:32:24 more likely corresponds to a half marathon time around 1:27. This is a much more positive result, especially considering the marathon I am running on 9/11 is flat, and easy.
I have a lot of work to get there, but 3:08 seems within reach.