Work Smarter, Not Harder

At the end of 2021, I set my running goals for 2022. If you need a refresher, here they are.

First among them was to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Including my first marathon in 2005, I have completed 8 marathons. My first marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2005, which I completed in 5:49. Since then, I have achieved a new personal best time in each of the succeeding 7 marathons, culminating with a time of 3:21:11 a couple of months ago in Philadelphia.

As I’ve said before, while training for these first eight marathons, I have never really followed a specific training plan. I have always just done whatever I felt was necessary to keep improving my time.

And until now, I have been really happy with my progress.

But now with my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon a priority (and a seemingly realistic target), it seems like now is the right time to change my approach.

Why the Change?

Even though I’ve been happy with the progress I’ve made over the years, both in my running in general as well as my marathon time, it feels like now is a good time for me to follow a specific training plan.

Now that my main goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, something different needs to be done.

In order for me to meet the Boston Marathon qualifying standard for my age group, I need to lower my current PB (3:21:11) by at least 11 minutes and 11 seconds to under 3:10:00.

“Work smarter, not harder” seems very appropriate here because over the past several years I have run more miles than ever. I think that those miles have definitely helped me to continue to get better, but I started feeling like the improvements I was making were minimal, especially in the last year.

By having a more specific plan in place, I think I will be better prepared mentally and physically to achieve my goal.

What’s the plan?

So, with that being said, on this past Monday, I began a 14-week training plan with the hopes of achieving a BQ (Boston Qualifier) in Copenhagen in May.

I don’t need to tell you everything about the plan, but here are just a couple of things.

The plan includes several different types of workouts – easy pace, recovery pace, long run pace, tempo, speed work, steady state, marathon pace, fast finish.

Some of these are new to me, others I’ve done before.

The speed workouts and hill repeats will be newest to me. I did a little bit of speed work last year, but I have never done any hill repeats. This training plan calls for one of these about once a week and I think they will be a big help in improving my overall fitness.

While some of the other workouts are ones that I haven’t done before, for the most part they are just running miles at different paces (which I got from McMillan Running) which is something that I will be focused on during each of those workouts.

Also, just as a side note (because I’ve already been asked), I will continue to run every day as part of this plan. Where the plan calls for a rest day, I will do a very short and easy run on that day.

How Am I feeling about the plan?

Well, I’m excited. And I’m nervous.

Excited because it’s something new that I’m confident can get me to the time I need to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Nervous because, as I said earlier, I’ve never followed an actual training plan. So, while I’m used to running a lot of miles to get ready for a marathon, the overall structure that comes with a specific plan and how I’ll manage that does maybe concern me a little bit.

But mostly, I’m looking forward to working my way through the plan one day at a time and everything else that will come with it.

I know there will be some good days and maybe some not so good days, but that has always been the case with running and life.

But when all is said and done, hopefully at the end of May, I will have my qualifying time for the Boston Marathon!

Let me know in the comments if you have any words of advice or if this is also a goal of yours!

More From RunPatRun:

  • Coming Soon: my experiences at the Seattle and Munich marathon!

5 thoughts on “Work Smarter, Not Harder

  1. I think it’s awesome that you have a new running plan! I have no doubt that you will be able to follow it and it will help you to qualify for Boston. The hill repeats are something I’ve heard can really help, but they seem so dreadful and boring. I’d rather just run. The tempo runs and fast finishes seem a little more fun to me. Best of luck, Pat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great luck with your training! Having specific speed work will be key to improving your results. As Jeremy says, hill repeats are great, and they can be seen as speed work. They will kick your butt, but they pay off in spades. Go get that BQ!

    Liked by 1 person

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