Chapter 1: Commitment and Self-Assessment
I read somewhere when I was starting to commit myself to train for my First Marathon Race, the first step is commitment and the author of the article would say that you should prepare a “written contract” with yourself as an evidence for your commitment to engage yourself to a Marathon Race. Let that written contract as an evidence to be posted in your bedroom door or refrigerator! It will remind you of your commitment on a daily basis. To make it more binding, get two witnesses to sign the contract, too! It may be “corny” but it is one of most practical ways to remind yourself that you are committed to your goal which is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
There are things that you should think before you start your journey. First, is how to balance your time with your family, work, and your training. If you are a retiree like me, you can afford to just think about yourself and your training. If you have been an average competitive runner (I mean, your Marathon Races finish times would be within the 4:00-5:00-hour range) and your age is within the range of 45-60 years old, there is a lot of work to be done to be able to improve your Finish Time. And this blog is for you! (Note: This article is not for those who have not yet started running or for those you can not finish a Marathon Race in 6 hours). If you are within this range of age and finish time in the Marathon Race, there is a need to revisit the new Qualifying Time For The Boston Marathon which was implemented for this year’s edition (2020).
The next thing that you will think is the time frame for yourself to train and be able to select the Marathon Race where you would plan to qualify. Your goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon will need a lot of patience and work from you. You have to be physically, mentally fit and financially prepared along this journey. But let us deal with the physical and mental aspects of your preparation but it would be nice to prepare to put some savings or come up with a “kitty bank” for your future expenses. I would say you need two years as your minimum time frame and three years as your maximum time frame to attain your goal. You might ask me why is it that it is too long? Well, that is the fastest time frame that I would suggest. You need patience and a lot of sweat along this journey.
Next is to conduct a self-assessment on your capability to run faster. After comparing your present performance with the qualifying standards of the Boston Marathon, your first reaction would be frustration and sadness as your goal is too fast from your latest Marathon Finish time. This is where you will challenge yourself and do the work. Sometimes, it is unfortunate that you are an average competitive runner and you have all the much available resources (time and money) but you are still slow as compared with the qualifying times. On the other hand, there are people who are gifted with running talent that they could be within or surpass the qualifying times but they don’t have the resources (money) to spend to be able to leave the country. That is the reality of life. So, we you back to our goal.
Just because you are too slow as compared to your goal time, it does not mean that you would hit the road immediately and try to run as fast as possible everyday until you will be able to improve your pace/speed at a certain distance. This is suicide! Running does not work that way. You need patience and lot of running hours for you to improve and be faster with your time.
There are so many training plans published in books and running magazines in the past and you should study them. The Internet is also full of training resources and plans on how to make you faster. I don’t want you to simply pick a plan and apply it to yourself. Study them first and get the pattern of workouts in every week of the training plan. Do some research on the different of running workouts that are mentioned in those plans like Long Slow Distance (LSD), Tempo Runs, Steady-State Runs, Interval Runs, and Recovery/Easy Runs. In most of these training plans, they will tell you first on the Principles of Running. If you absorbed these time-tested principles and apply them, you will enjoy your journey and you will be safe from any injuries.
One of the books that I would like to recommend as your guide and reference is the Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels which you can buy in Paperback or Kindle Edition.
For the moment, I will leave you to think and plan for the time frame you need to apply for your to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Will you choose two years or three years?
Thank you for reading. The next story will be posted tomorrow.