7 Tips to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

If the field size limit has not been reached, then everyone who has beat their qualifying time by less than 5 minutes can register during the second week of registration. Boston will then accept the fastest applicants in their age groups and gender until all remaining spots are filled.

More: How to Run a Faster Marathon

Tip 2: Choose a BQ Course That Plays to Your Strengths

If your goal is to qualify for Boston, the first thing to do is pick a good marathon to attempt your qualification. There are many marathons that can be used as Boston qualifiers, but not all marathons count as a qualifier. If you are not sure if a marathon is a Boston qualifier, contact the race director and ask.

Choosing a fast course makes a big difference. Pick a marathon course that plays to your strengths. If you like a few rolling hills, find a course with some small rolling hills or even a downhill race that is a Boston qualifier.

More: 10 Best Boston Qualifiers

Flat courses are also great for Boston qualifiers because you don't need to train on hills a lot, but doing some hill training will help your strength and endurance even on flat courses. Pick a time of the year during which you like to race. If you do well on your long runs and workouts during the winter, pick a late winter or early spring marathon before the weather gets hot and humid.

Tip 3: Train at Goal Race Pace

The next thing to do is to figure out what goal pace per mile you need to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Once you figure that out, start adding goal-pace miles to your training. Do this in little segments at first until you get used to it.

Start by doing 3 to 6 miles at goal-marathon pace as your run on any given day. Once you get used to that pace, start adding goal-marathon pace miles at the end of your long runs. For example, if your weekend long run is 16 miles, try doing the final 8 miles at or close to goal-marathon pace.

More: Find Out Your Marathon Goal Race Pace

These miles will be difficult, but getting your body used to running goal pace at the end of long runs will provide the precise physiological adaptations necessary to run at this pace, and will build confidence. For most marathoners, marathon pace coincides with 79 to 88 percent of maximal heart rate or 73 to 84 percent of heart-rate reserve. Start these goal-pace long runs comfortably and gradually pick up the pace during the first half of the run, then run your goal marathon-pace miles at the end.

More: How to Train for the Boston Marathon

Many runners make the mistake of doing all of their long runs at one to two minutes slower than marathon pace, then find it difficult to run goal pace come race day. You have to get your body used to running goal-pace miles before race day.

More: When Do I Run at Race Pace?

Tip 4: Run Slower to Get Faster

Slow down your easy runs. Most runners make the mistake of doing easy runs too fast. I like to call them "recovery runs" because the purpose of them is to enhance muscle recovery from your hard workouts. These runs should be noticeably slower than your harder workouts. The optimal intensity for recovery runs is to stay below 76 percent of maximal heart rate or 70 percent of heart-rate reserve.

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