Boston Marathon · Hansons Training · Marathon Training · Running · Weekly Recap

Training to train to train to train for a BQ

I remember back in 2006, two days before my first Chicago Marathon, I was talking to my coworker (cannot remember about what) but I do remember telling her that I wanted to BQ before I turned 40. Umm, clearly I had NO idea what I was talking about at that time.  I was a newbie runner.  I had began running the year before and there was still a lot for me to learn about running and races.  My goal was simply to finish and on October 22nd I ran my first marathon in 5:53:33.  Not horrible but maybe I could have done better.

In the next few years I ran a couple more marathons:

I think I used Hal Higdon’s training plans for most of them except the last two marathons.  My goal was simply to finish.  While I did PR on most of my marathons, I never really seriously trained because my goal was simply to finish each race.  I could have done better if I had trained better. << Maybe.  You never know how it will go on marathon day.

I worked with a coach in 2014 to train for the Chicago Marathon.  I liked my coach.  She gave me fun and challenging workouts. I ended up not running it because I got to a point that I did not want to run anymore.  I was burned out.  I did have a GREAT time spectating the marathon.  

I decided to try again for the 2015 marathon.  I hired another coach.  My previous one couldn’t coach me.  She also gave me fun and challenging workouts too.  I finished in 5:21:17.  I was disappointed.  I was devastated.  I had trained hard that summer and I was hoping for a finish time under 5 hours.

Last year I trained using the Hansons Marathon Method.  It was tough.  I was running 6 days a week and I was ALWAYS tired. I felt strong and had some great runs.  I remember one Sunday morning I ran 6 miles @ a 9 minute pace and I was very happy to have done so.  My marathon finish time was 5:12:59. Yes, I did get a PR but I was again aiming for a finish time under 5 hours.  I did so well during the first 9 miles and then I had some hip pain and then struggled the rest of the race.  I remember wanting to quit about 3 times but by the last time I was at mile 22 and I kept reminding myself that I had 4 miles to go.  Why quit now?

I decided not to run the Chicago Marathon this year.  I needed a break.  I did not want to run anymore marathons.  Instead, I wanted to focus on my half marathons and my quest to run one in each state. Well, I was bitten by the BQ bug and decided “Why not?  I can get a BQ.”  Will it be easy?  No.  Will it be this year or next year?  Probably not.  It will take me a few years but I am determined to get there. Reading and writing about Elizabeth Clor’s book Boston Bound about her struggles and determination to BQ also motivated me to work towards a BQ.  

I need a 3:55 for a BQ.  My marathon PR is 5:12:59 (let’s just go with 5:13:00).  That means I need to cut 1 hour and 18 minutes off my marathon time.  << But even that will not guarantee me a spot at the marathon.  So, I will need an extra 5 minutes (1 hour and 23 minutes).  Once I hit the next age group, I will need a 4:00 finish time.  You bet I want to do it while I’m in this current age group.

For now I am running again using the Beginner’s Plan of the Hansons Marathon Method.  The plan ends in July and I am scheduled to run a marathon on July 30th.  I will be on my way back from a cruise in Alaska.  I haven’t decided if I want to run a marathon or run an unofficial one on my own (if so I will probably add 1 or 2 weeks of training depending on how much running I do in Alaska).  The Chicago Lakefront is 18 miles from beginning to end.  With the right preparation and planning I can run my own marathon at the beginning of August. No pressure.  It will be good to see where I am training wise/marathon time.

Another marathon I am thinking about is the Miami Marathon on January 28th, 2018.  But the thought of training during the winter makes me NOT want to sign up.  We’ll see.  <<Edit: I am not attempting the Miami Marathon as a BQ.   Since I am not running the Chicago Marathon I would like to see where I am fitness wise with my training.

I know I still have to make more decisions (hire a coach, use Hansons Method or Run Less, Run Faster Method, sign up for a marathon, etc) but what I do know is that I want to get a BQ.  

I hope you follow along in my journey as I attempt to get a BQ.  The goal is to run The Boston Marathon before I am in the next age group which will be in 2022.

Have you run The Boston Marathon?  Am I crazy for thinking I can qualify when I have to cut more than 1 hour from my marathon PR?  Any advice you have for me?

I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap and Courtney for her Training Recap Link Up!

Hoping everyone had a good week!

Chicago Marathon · Hansons Training · Marathon Training · Running · Weekly Recap

Thoughts on Hansons Marathon Method


If you read my marathon training weekly recaps then you know I used the Hansons Marathon Method.  In a nutshell, this training is based on the concept of cumulative fatigue. You train your body to run often so that you are frequently running on tired legs.  The idea is to run this way so that during the last miles of a race you are prepared to push through the final miles. These plans are 18 weeks and have you running 6 days (easy, speed/strength, tempo, and long runs) a week with one rest day.  

This was my first time using this method for the marathon.  I was fortunate to be off this summer (I am a teacher) so I knew I would be able to handle running 6 days a week.  However, going back to work did not go well.  Please note that I am NOT saying that if you are not off this summer that you will not be able to handle it.  This girl has a job and always made time to get her runs before going to work.  

  • This plan is HARD.  However, I am not saying that it isn’t doable.  It is but you need to make sure you can run 6 days a week with only 1 day to rest.
  • Tempo runs freaked me out.  I ran all of them on the treadmill and they weren’t bad after all.  I managed to run them at the specified pace and that was a confidence booster.
  • Plan to run high mileage.  I was not used to running so many miles in one week.  The Advanced Plan had me running over 40, 50, or 60 miles in one week.  
  • I was constantly tired.  Oh my goodness.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt as tired as I did this summer.  Again, I was fortunate that I did not have to get up early to go to work.
  • Sleep was my best friend.  See point above.  I slept and napped like a baby.
  • Wednesday was the best day of the week.  Remember that one rest day mentioned above?  Yep, that is on Wednesday.  Each week I looked forward to this day.
  • No strength training for me.  In the beginning I did a few TRX sessions before my runs but stopped once I realized I could not wake up in time for the class.  <<Excuses, I could have taken the class in the afternoon or evening.  See points 4 and 5.
  • You can choose from 3 different plans.  In the book you’ll find plans for “Just Want to Finish”, “Beginner”, and “Advanced”.  I chose the latter because, well, this was my 8th marathon so I knew it would be perfect for me.
  • Read the whole book; a few times if necessary.  I didn’t and ended up asking many, many questions that could have been answered if I had read the whole book.

Going back to work was challenging.  I was fine the first two weeks and then BAM it was a struggle.  I had to stay late most days and found it hard to run after work.  I am not making any excuses.  I know everyone has a job and finds a way to make it work but I just could not find a balance nor get back to a different routine.  That left me worried and frustrated and various times I thought about giving up.


Now that the Chicago Marathon is over (read my recap here), I’ve asked myself if I would use it again for another marathon.  At this point I have NO desire to run another marathon.  However, if I were to run another one then I might use the Hansons Marathon Method again.  I am already familiar with it.  I know it is doable.  However, I would run my speed/strength and tempo runs outside instead of the treadmill.  Or at least alternate a bit so as not to do all of them on the treadmill.  And I will make sure I do not skip so many runs. 

I do wonder if my marathon experience would have been better if I had followed the plan exactly as stated.  However, I know that there are no guaranteed and anything can happen on marathon day.  I mean, I was ready for my marathon but somehow my hip decided to be a jerk that day.  I did get a PR and I am definitely happy about it!


I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Hoping everyone had a good week!


Chicago Endurance Sports · Chicago Marathon · Hansons Training · Marathon Training · Running · Weekly Recap

2016 Chicago Marathon Training Week 18

I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Hoping everyone had a good week!



Last week training for the Chicago Marathon.  I am excited (and nervous) to be training using the Hansons Marathon Method. In a nutshell, this training is based on the concept of cumulative fatigue. You train your body to run often so that you are frequently running on tired legs.  The idea is to run this way so that during the last miles of a race you are prepared to push through the final miles. These plans are 18 weeks and have you running 6 days (easy, speed/strength, tempo, and long runs) a week with one rest day. 

Week #18, October 3-9


  • PLAN – 6 easy @10:52-12:16 pace
  • ACTUAL –6.02 miles @10:28 average pace

Great evening for a run!  Ran faster than I wanted to but overall felt great.

Below is a picture of this year’s medal.  Not sure how I feel about it.  I don’t love it but I find it to be plain and boring.  It features an engraving of the original starting line of the marathon, which once began next to the Picasso statute located in front of the Richard J. Daley Civic Center.


Here is the one from last year.



  • PLAN –5 easy @10:52-12:16 pace
  • ACTUAL – 5.02 miles @10:41 average pace

Took it slow today and ran perfect negative splits!!! 




  • PLAN – OFF

After our building meeting I went back to the podiatrist for another cortisone shot.  It was painful but my foot feels better.  I went back because the bunion area in my foot was bothering me.

Major carbo load begins today.  I tried this new cream cheese and it is delicious!



  • PLAN –6 easy @10:52-12:16 pace
  • ACTUAL – Did not run.

The group I run with had everyone’s name written on a wall.  So cool to see my name.



  • PLAN – 6 easy @10:52-12:16 pace
  • ACTUAL – Did not run.

I went to the expo to get my bib.  I walked away with a bunch of cool stuff.  I also went to the KT Tape booth to get taped up.

Love this shirt!


Love this medal for this year’s Rock Little Marathon!


I saw Bart Yasso again.  I purchased a Runner’s World calendar and he signed it for me.


  • PLAN – OFF


  • PLAN – 26.2 miles
  • ACTUAL – 26.94 miles

Chicago Marathon is done!  Recap coming soon.  Spoiler alert: I got a PR and bettered my time from my first marathon 10 years ago.

Total mileage for the week: 37.98 miles <<Including Chicago Marathon

Total mileage for this training cycle: 643.68 miles

Total mileage for the year: 1,126.74 miles