Crowd Coaching to Boston

Tapping running community for advice, guidance, inspiration

Here it comes – another year and another run of the Grand Rapids Marathon with the perennial goal of qualifying for Boston. I’ve been trying to achieve this goal for about five years now. I thought maybe when I turned 45 and I my qualifier changed to 3:25 that I would be within range. But events in 2015 and 2016 came and went with PRs but no BQs. 

So now here I am again, my PR only 15 minutes short of my goal. My training has been a bit sporadic this year after some burnout caused by what I think was heavy training through the winter and spring months for the Kettle 100 followed by a challenging race day at Kettle.  I have been running but the energy just hasn't been there like it should be. I figure it's my body telling me to layoff a bit, so I haven't really pushed it until now.

I'm currently running about an 8:45 10K comfortably, which I can push to about 7:30 with effort. My half marathon pace has been hovering around 9:00 and I have not done anything farther than that since Kettle. These numbers are similar to last year at this time and I ended up coming out with a 3:40 PR at Grand Rapids so there is something that tells that I can do this with a little bump.

My sleep is good, getting a consistent 8 to 9 hours a night. I eat mostly vegetarian with some chicken and fish mixed in occasionally for good measure. 

I’ve tried everything I can think of in terms of training. Workouts are a mix of fartlek, high intensity speed and slow distance runs. I try to follow 80-20 as close as possible although there are days I just want to bomb through long runs. I average about 25 miles a week, ramping up to between 40 and 50 in the couple weeks before my two week taper. 

I’ve made modest gains over my running career and I know it’s in me to do this, I just need to figure out how. And since I am too cheap to hire a coach, I am coming to you the running community for advice, encouragement and guidance.

Many of you have been or maybe are where I am right now – at the edge of a longtime milestone in your athletic careers. I’ve been running for long enough to know that there are things, just little tweaks in how you run or train, eat, sleep, live that you can make that improve performance and push you to the next level. That is what I am looking for, that tweak or tweaks that will launch me over the edge where I make up the 15-minute gap. Actually, I would prefer 20-25 minutes, giving me a better chance of actually getting selected for Boston.  

So please ask me any questions about how I am training for this  Oct. 15 event in Grand Rapids, Mich. I have a training schedule published for your review and feel free to follow me on Strava. I will continue writing blog posts here and sharing them through the StarrWriter page to keep you updated on how the training is going and how your advice and tips are helping me along. Probably the best way to comment is through Facebook comments or Messenger and feel free to email me. 

So let’s start this experiment in crowd coaching my way to Boston. 

7 Week Training Schedule

Sun Aug. 27: 8 mi. easy

Week 1

Mon Aug. 28: 2.5 mi. hill rep
Tue Aug. 29: 5 mi. tempo
Wed Aug. 30: 5 mi. easy
Thu Aug. 31: 4 mi. fartlek
Fri Sep. 01: 3 mi. easy
Sat Sep. 02: 20 mi. fartlek
Sun Sep. 03: 12 mi. easy

Week 2

Mon Sep. 04: Rest
Tue Sep. 05: 12 mi. hills and some tempo
Wed Sep. 06: 5 mi.  tempo
Thu Sep. 07: 30 min. rower
Fri Sep. 08: Rest
Sat Sep. 09: 34 mi. easy
Sun Sep. 10: 9 mi. hill rep.

Week 3

Mon Sep. 11: 2-3 easy
Tue Sep. 12: 5 mi. fartleks
Wed Sep. 13: 7 mi. hill rep
Thu Sep. 14: 9 mi. tempo
Fri Sep. 15: 3 mi. easy or rest
Sat Sep. 16: 3:25 marathon test
Sun Sep. 17: 13 mi. easy

Week 4

Mon Sep. 18: 3 mi. easy
Tue Sep. 19: 7 mi. tempo
Wed Sep. 20: 8-9 mi. hill rep
Thu Sep. 21: 5 mi. easy
Fri Sep. 22: 2-3 mi. easy or rest
Sat Sep. 23: 18 mi. tempo
Sun Sep. 24: 10 mi. easy

Week 5

Mon Sep. 25: 3-4 mi. easy
Tue Sep. 26: 8 mi. fartlek
Wed Sep. 27: 7 mi. hill rep.
Thu Sep. 28 5 mi. tempo
Fri Sep. 29: 2-3 easy or rest
Sat Sep. 30: 3:25 marathon test
Sun Oct. 1: 7 mi. easy

Week 6

Mon Oct. 2: 3 mi. easy
Tue Oct. 3: 7 mi. easy
Wed Oct. 4: 5 mi. tempo
Thu Oct. 5: 6 mi. easy
Fri Oct. 6: rest
Sat Oct. 7: 7 mi. easy
Sun Oct. 8: 8 mi. easy

Week 7

Mon Oct. 9: 2 mi. easy
Tue Oct. 10: 5 mi. easy
Wed Oct. 11 5 mi. easy
Thu Oct. 12: 3 mi. easy
Fri Oct. 13: 1-3 mi. easy
Sat Oct. 14: Travel day
Sun Oct. 15: RACE DAY!!!