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Conquering the Boston Marathon: A Coach's Guide to OWN the course and snag your Unicorn!

Welcome to the world of legendary marathons and the iconic Boston Marathon! As an experienced coach and a passionate participant in this historic race, I am thrilled to share insights on how to qualify, prepare for the challenge, and uncover the unique aspects that make the Boston Marathon a life-changing event from a coach's perspective.

How to Get Into Boston Marathon:

Earning a spot in the Boston Marathon is a cherished goal for many runners, as it is the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. Here's how you can qualify:

  • Time Qualification: To qualify based on time, you must meet age and gender-specific qualifying standards in another marathon or certified race. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) updates these standards annually, so ensure you meet the latest requirements. Learn more here.

  • Charity Teams: Similar to the Berlin Marathon, you can secure entry by running for an official Boston Marathon charity team and raising funds for a cause close to your heart. One of our favorites is the organization run by Susan Hurley of CharityTeams. The charity bibs for Boston have a much larger fundraising minimum than the other world marathon majors. So don't be surprised if fundraising for this race becomes as intense as your marathon training.

  • Running Clubs: Some running clubs and organizations have guaranteed entries for their members, making it a fantastic opportunity to join a supportive community and secure your spot.

Training for the Boston Marathon:

Training for the Boston Marathon demands determination, strategic planning, and an unwavering focus. Here are some coaching tips to help you prepare for this historic race:

  • Selecting the Right Training Plan: Choose a training plan tailored to your fitness level and goals. Incorporate specific workouts, long runs, and ample rest days to optimize your performance.

  • Weather Considerations: Boston's unpredictable weather can play a significant role on race day. Prepare for potential heat, rain, or strong winds during your training to adapt to varying conditions.

  • Practice Pace and Strategy: Similar to any marathon, practice running at your goal race pace during training. Additionally, work on race strategy, knowing when to push, conserve energy, and mentally prepare for the challenging sections.

  • Hill Training: The Boston Marathon is famously challenging due to its hilly course, particularly the infamous "Heartbreak Hill." Integrate hill workouts into your training to build strength and stamina. Not sure how to add in the right hill training? Well, while hill repeats are integral to any training plan, Boston is a bit different because there is a large net downhill early in the race, which can cause an overstride as folks try to “slow down” and therefore a solid thrashing of your quads. Add to that the fact that the Newton Hills aren’t found along the course until much later in your miles, so incorporating hilly courses during your long run will come in handy. Our workout does a bit of both, working toward the hills later in the race with a solid footwork cadence drills to keep those feet moving nice and quick going downhill.

Race week and day logistics:

Where to stay: STAY where the action is. Will it cost you an arm and a leg? Yep, it sure will, but staying close to the finish line will pay off not just for race day when you wrap up your legendary 26.2 run, but also for the days leading up to it as you’ll want to take part in all of the fun going on leading up to Patriot’s and Marathon Day!

Expo: This will likely be one of the ONLY times you’ll hear Coach Christine say that you should plan to spend time at the expo. The energy in Boston is palpable and it draws some incredible names, athletes, and some of the top industry greats. They will likely be found at the expo either presenting or signing books or answering questions. This is your chance to meet the folks that inspire you to lace up!

Sightseeing: Again, this race does have some beautiful waterways, much like the other majors, but the most unique way to see the city is to book a Marathon Course Bus Tour! They sell-out quickly. so make sure you book your tour and ticket!

Race Day: This is what you trained for, friend, trust your training and go get that unicorn medal.

The Boston Marathon is a celebration of athleticism, history, and human spirit, embodying the essence of perseverance and triumph. As both a coach and a runner, I can attest to the significance of conquering the Boston Marathon. From the arduous qualifying journey to the jubilant finish on Boylston Street, this race is a testament to the resilience of the running community. So, lace up your shoes, embrace the challenge, and embark on a life-changing journey to conquer the historic Boston Marathon!

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