Being the only marathon with stringent qualifying times for participation, most marathon runners aspire or even obsess with qualifying and running Boston Marathon. This applies to me as well - my only running goal in 2012-13 is BQ ie Boston Qualification. The Boston marathon, one of the five world marathon majors, is the world's oldest annual marathon held on the 3rd Monday of April which is a holiday in MA for Patriots Day. The 1st edition was held in 1897- my goal is to qualify for the 118th edition scheduled for 21st April 2014. Of course, with a reduction in 5 minutes across all age groups for men, the BQ time has become even more challenging from the 2013 edition. I need to complete a FM in under 3:40 after September 2012 to qualify in the 55-59 years age group for the 2014 event (I get into this age group in August 2013).
Personally I feel that if I am unable to hit BQ(sub 3:40) in the next 12-18 months then it will be impossible for me to qualify - that is this is my last opportunity to achieve this - as age will catch up sooner than later. Therefore, my focus for the next season is BQ - a daunting task considering I need to shave nearly 10 minutes off my previous best of 3:48:57!
The following is my approach to try and achieve this:
1) Take a break from running and cycling for a few weeks(hopefully max of 4) to recover from the stress in my left glutes and laft calf - this will be my longest break from running since Jan 2004! Will need to be conscious not to put on too much weight - hope to keep it around 62Kgs.
2) Focus on stretching and strengthening - have re-started strength conditioning at Manipal Hospital Department of sports and excercise medicine from Feb 1; have also identified a few glutes strengthening excercises to do. See here and here.
3) Run very few select races - will participate in a couple of 10Ks(Contours Womens day run and TCS world 10K) but do not intend to race in them. Most likely will be skipping Hyderabad marathon and Kaveri trail marathon this year
4) Register to run a marathon in the US in October 2012 by May. Based on inputs from Marathon Guide and Runners World Jan 2012 list of fastest marathons in North America I am looking at running either the Mohawk Hudson marathon on 7th October or the Baystate marathon on October 21st. Both are considered flat, fast courses which typically have over 30% of participating runners qualify for Boston!
5) Start training for the October marathon using the 'Run Less,Run Faster' program from FIRST with a target time of sub 3:40 starting June 2012.
There is of course a long and ardous way ahead to achieve my goal - I hope to fully recover from my left glutes and calf stress and give it my best shot!!