Training You Ask, JP Answers

You Ask, JP Answers


Dear JP:

I set a lofty goal to qualify for Boston, within the next few years. I’m not nearly fast enough yet. My first marathon in 2014 was a humble 4:27:05. I turned 39 today. What top bits of advice bubble up for you?


Wendy R.

Dear Wendy:

First, Happy Birthday! The only people who appreciate “getting on in years” are runners waiting to move up into their next Boston qualifying age category! Every runner has a goal – to get into better shape, to meet new friends, to keep upping weekly mileage, but for sure, a big goal for many runners is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

I’m heading back to Boston for my 13th time this April, and I was even nutty enough to do it twice on the same day a few years. Needless to say, I’ve got a serious love affair with the Boston Marathon. For me, it is the glowing beacon off in the distance that keeps me motivated to train through our ‘challenging’ winters.

Here are a few suggestions I would offer to get you to the starting line out in Hopkinton: (1) Analyze your training plan, and eliminate any of those ‘junk miles’… You want every run to count – tempos, hills, long slow runs, and recovery runs. (2) Train with faster runners on at least some of your runs. The best way to get faster is to run faster. Find a running group (or partner) who can set the bar a little higher for you. Nothing builds comradery like suffering through a tough tempo or interval workout with some running friends. (3) Break down your ultimate goal (qualifying for Boston) by setting benchmarks along the way. For instance, you might consider setting an intermediate goal of taking significant time off your half marathon PB, or you might set your sights on grabbing your BQ by taking 5 minutes off your marathon time over 2 or 3 consecutive running seasons. (4) Whatever you do, make life easier for yourself by targeting a fast and relatively flat marathon course on which you can nail that Boston Qualifier. I’m partial to The Toronto Waterfront Marathon, The Ottawa Marathon, and Hamilton’s Road 2 Hope Marathon.

Dear JP:

Just curious, with the mileage you run, how long will your shoes last you?


Gordon M

Dear Gordon:

I’m a little embarrassed to answer this question. I blow through shoes at an alarming rate! I average about 200 km a week, for 46 weeks of the year. I wear an orthotic to help correct my over pronation issue, but I can tell by the wear and tear on the heals of my shoes that the orthotics have not solved the issue entirely.

The timing of when to change into a pair of new shoes depends a lot on whether you do most of your runs indoors or outside, and also if those miles are on the road or on the trail. Almost all my mileage is logged crisscrossing the streets of Toronto, and believe me, with the mileage I do, I see ALL of our city! One of the weird things about running is that your shoes feel perfectly fine one day – lots of bounce and flex in them, and then the next day they are suddenly ‘dead’. You know it when you feel it, and that’s when you need to rotate a new pair into the mix. For me, that point usually arrives around the 600-700 km point… Yes, that’s a new pair every three to four weeks. All I can say is thank God I have a shoe sponsor!

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