Home Heart Rate Training Boston bound: The who, what, where and why of my Boston training plan (plus week 1’s workouts)

Boston bound: The who, what, where and why of my Boston training plan (plus week 1’s workouts)


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Do you ever get on the 90 and want to keep driving all the way to Seattle?

I do. Lately I think about that a lot. To leave this mess of a life behind and just start fresh, start over in a place where nobody knows my name, my story and my pain. But what would that accomplish? Running from my pain, my life, my troubles? Not too much, actually. Even though I would be walking away from the bad I’d be overlooking all of the good that remains: Lillian, my amazing friends, supportive family, kickass coaching athletes and business and running Boston…. ahhh Boston.

I won’t pretend that I”m not hurting now because I am. But now is not the time to wallow; I need to learn from the many mistakes I have made, to begin to heal and to *hopefully* ultimately become stronger and more self-assured. The healing process doesn’t happen over night, this I know. I have a long, tough road ahead of me full of new firsts: the first time I will actually change a lightbulb (you think I’m kidding), the first time I will set up my own bank account, the first time I will spend a holiday alone in over 10 years and the first time I will walk through the and no one will ask me how my day is, hold my and kiss me,… sigh. Yes, I have many firsts ahead of me. But this blog isn’t an ode to my separation. Rather, it is about adapting in the face of challenges. It is about overcoming obstacles both small and large. It is about finding the light in the dark of the night. It is about being resilient.

Where do I go from here? Seattle? Nope… definitely not Seattle. What about Boston? Yes, I think I’ll go to Boston. I think I’ll start a new life. I think I’ll start over... at the 2016 Boston Marathon!

I’m 100% in for 2016 Boston Marathon and training starts NOW! Onward and upward to Boston!!




Last week marked my first week of training for the Boston Marathon!! To say I am exhilarated to be training for a marathon again is nothing short of the truth!!! I ran the Baystate Half in mid-October and have been running moderate to low volume of unstructured runs since then. The 6 weeks of unstructured runs has allowed the body to fully heal, the belly to soften 😉 and the hunger to train again emerge from the recesses of my mind. I feel like a lion who has been waiting to be let out of her cage!! Low mileage plus no speed work makes for one very pent up Kass on the road. There is NO DOUBT in my mind right now that I am RIP ROARING AND READY TO TRAIN AGAIN!! I’m ready for the 20 milers, the deep freeze, the frozen shot blocks, the brutal wind- ALL OF IT!!! If I can handle my own heartbreak then I know I’ll be able to take on Heartbreak Hill JUST FINE!  Y-E-S!! I’M COMING FOR YOU BOSTON!! BRING IT ON!!

But how you may wonder? What will my training look like? I wanted to give you a brief look at the details of my training (as well as the first week of training itself.


Boston Bound: The Five W’s and the random H.

Who am I?  I am Kass Berry, a lean mean red-headed running machine!! I am a 31 year old mother of the spunkiest four year old you’ve ever met. Yea, she’s fresh like her momma made her ;). I am a 3x marathoner and 3x Boston Qualifier and I am 110% IN AND READY TO TRAIN!!! My goal? I’m not ready to throw out a time so right now I’ll just say that my #1 goal is to HAVE FUN and SMILE on race day… buuut a PR on the course would be nice too 🙂


What am training for? BOSTON, BABY!! Monday April 18th, 2016. I might just be a wee bit excited for this!!


Where will I train?  After running NYC 2013 and Chicago 2014, the hills of Boston 2015 chewed me up and spit me out. Sadness, I know. However, my misteps at Boston 2015 are really just areas for improvement in the run-game, right? So I will train on very hilly terrain. This will be challenging with HR training, but I need to get the leggies, the mind and the body used to serious hill work. I will also get this badonk up to the Boston course multiple times this winter for much needed practice runs.


When do I run? In the wee hours of the early morn. 🙂 But seriously, I get up at about 5:15, putter around the apartment and am typically on the road by 6:30ish to see the sunrise. Seeing the sunrise on the run is simply spectacular; it reminds me that day full of new possibilities is unfolding in front of my eyes. I hope to see as many sunrises at possible this winter! ~ BUT when I will have Lillian staying with me I will run closer to 8 am post drop off.


Why Boston? Why train during this difficult personal time? It’s never a good time to have a baby, right? Well ladies and gentleman it’s technically never a good time to train for a marathon. There will always be some sort of holiday, illness, vacation/family weekend/wedding that will impact training, I am well aware that I will be training for Boston during one of the most emotionally stressful times in my life, but if I thought I needed running before in my life- well I sure as hell know I will need it now. I need to get lost on the long run, to run music-free and not be afraid of the voices in my head, to have something positive in my life to work towards. I need a goal in the distant future. I need to feel hope again. I need to feel alive again. There is no doubt in my mind, I need Boston and this training cycle more than ever..


How will I train?  I will continue to receive superior one-on-one coaching services from pro-athlete Beth Shutt from Your26.2 online coaching. A good friend and coach, Beth is always there with her eagle eyes watching my runs and the answer to my misteps! She might not give me the answer I want, alas girl answers every single neurotic email I have sent. I can’t imagine training  without her!!

I will also train continue training to heart rate with an easy/hard/easy workout structure throughout the week. You will never see me to a long run back to back with speed work or hill repeats. On my hard days I will go VERY HARD and on my easy, recovery days I will go really ridiculously easy on my body. So you will see my average paces for my runs vary dramatically throughout the week. These paces are guided by body and current level of fitness and transmitted via my HR strap. More on HR training in future posts, promise.

How much? I will start at a moderate run volume (about 35 miles/week) and work my way up to 70 miles/week!! Wahoo!! I can’t wait to run long again!!


There is so much to write here but that’s a good start to who I am and how I train!


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Post long run selfie while drinking my Endurox R4 recovery drink. Yummy chocolate!!

Week One (of 19)

My first week of training actually went pretty darn well with a few minor hang ups. Due to the move/life I missed one prescribed lift and one 25 min recovery run. It happens, it’s life. That being said I can’t remember the last time I missed a workout (aside from Snomaggedon) due to personal reasons. This training cycle will be different from any other. It will be a true testament to figuring out how to balance training with work and caring for Lillian.

Last week’s workouts with the prescribed workout in parenthesis…


Monday- 2.6 miles @ 9:30 pace (20 min recovery)

Tuesday – Lift

Wednesday- 7 miles @ 8:30 pace (60 min z1/conversational pace run)

Thursday- 6.2 miles tempo- interval one @  7:39 pace, interval two @ 7:16 pace  (2×12 minute tempo with 5 min recovery jog in between with a warm up and cool down)

Friday- OFF- moving day!

Saturday- 6.1 miles @ 8:13 pace (50 min run @ zone 1)

Sunday- 12.5 miles @ 8:05 (87 min @ zone 1; 14 min @ zone 2)

~ zone 1 interval @ 8:09 pace; zone 2 interval @ 7:28

Translation- zone 1 is conversational pace; zone 2 is a tempo pace, added pressure, but not sprinting

The kind of day that just begs you to close your eyes and use your airplane arms to float through...  Run  Strava - Google Chrome 1272015 55656 AM

Sunday’s splits: Descending pace run into tempo for final 2 miles. Rolling hills. Areas for improvement- start even slower to keep HR in correct ranges! 🙂

Total Miles: 34


Onward to week 2 of training!

Never stop running,


One Response

  1. Nice week 1!

    Sorry about the life stuff. You’ll get through it, and come out stronger.

    I look forward to following your training (70mpw, I’d love to get back to that) as I train for Boston myself!

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