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Boston Marathon Training Update: Is it time to set a goal pace yet?

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The Boston Marathon is 55 days away.

Let’s let that sink in for a minute.

8 weeks. 2 measly months.

Yikes.

A few readers have asked me what my goal pace/time is for Boston and to be honest I don’t have one… yet.  Of course I’d love to break 3:16:02 (my dad’s marathon PR), 3:15, 3:10 and 3:05… why stop there? :).

For the past year I have followed a custom training plan created by coaches at I trust at Your26.2/QT2 Systems (Tim Snow and Beth Shutt). Each training cycle I have gotten faster and stronger in my running. Honestly, what more could I ask for?

While many avid runners use a paced base style of training, I use heart rate training to guide me throughout the season (I will devote future post to ins and outs of HR training).  Your heart rate during a run is dependent upon many variables: the temperature, sleep (are you well rested or exhausted), what you’ve eaten, elevation profile and many others. Beginning a long run sleep deprived and dehydrated will be reflected by an elevated heart rate; even though your mind wants to run at your typical long run pace your body is telling you another story. Your heart doesn’t lie!

So far, heart rate training has worked well, so much so that I don’t get caught up in the numbers of a run. I don’t currently have a goal pace/time for Boston and I probably won’t come up with one until I hit taper (two weeks before race day).

What I can tell you is that when my training plan tells me to run hard, I do. I put all of my heart and soul on the pavement  during those tempo runs, track workouts and long runs. I empty the tank and give all I have to give. I have faith that when I call on my body and legs to go faster, they will because they have. I focus on accomplishing each training run of the plan exactly as my coaches intended so that the vision of the entire training plan can take shape. Training for a marathon and coming up with a goal time is so much more than piecing together a few good long runs. It is about the big picture that evolves  during your four to five month training cycle. Training for a marathon is an all encompassing lifestyle that slowly takes shape as your run volume gradually increases and your body simultaneously gets broken down and yet stronger at the same time.

I will allow my body to dictate what my goal pace will be for two reasons. First, I don’t want to choose an unrealistic number that will lead me to feel unsatisfied with an amazing experience, and secondly I don’t want to short change myself. Maybe, my body will choose to improve a ton! Who knows!

I may run a 4 hour marathon, a 3:35, a 3:15 or a 3:10 at Boston. Who knows. The training this season has been brutal and the weather at past Boston Marathons has been erratic at best.

What I do know is that I will do the best that my body will allow.

Simple as that.

Do I have a plan for the marathon yet?

Yes, I suppose I do.

I plan to run my heart out.

Never Stop Running

XOXO, Kassandra/The Lone Runner

* To be clear, my training plan and coaches provide specific training paces and heart rate zones for my training runs and speed work. I work hard during each training run to hit the paces/training zones accordingly, however I do not set a goal marathon pace early on in training.

Right now I chase the unknown. I thrive on the endless possibilities. I do the best that my body will allow.

On race day I will have a plan.  I will have a number and a pace in mind, but not yet. Now I will run, I will run my heart out.

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