Thursday, 2 April 2015

Marathon BQ review

The first time I tried to qualify for Boston, I failed.

The second time, I did better.

The race itself, however, was a struggle. As I neared mile 25, my paced dropped to a dead-man's shuffle. I pushed on to Kenmore Square, and to the finish, and then had a much need lie down under a tree in the Boston Gardens. Still, I was there. I'd finished perhaps the best marathon in the world.

But how do you get to Boston? Like me, you can try to guess what type of training you need to do run a qualifying time. Or you can pick Chris Russell's new book Marathon BQ: How to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 weeks.

Chris Russell is the host of the superb Run Run Live podcast. He's an experienced marathoner, who has qualified for Boston several times. More importantly, he is a clear communicator, and his book provides a focused approach to running a qualifying time for Boston.

It also provides a healthy dose of motivation:

When I was 34 years old, I decided to qualify for Boston. I was a chubby, recreational runner with a young family and a fulltime job that required extensive travel. I started training to qualify early one summer. In the process of training that summer I became a different man.... I learned I was capable of inifinitely more than I ever realised.(pg. 10)

What is Russell's plan? Put simply, it's about speed. To qualify, you must run fast, and to do so, you must train at speed. The book lays out how this fits in with a balanced plan that fits in both speed and the necessary long runs.

Even though I am not training for a marathon at the moment, I have taken on some of Russell's workouts. I want to increase my speed for the half distance, and now I know what to do.

Overall, this is an excellent read, and if you are think about Boston, this book will help you get there.

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