As my alarm kicked off this morning at 6:08 am, I thought to myself, “and so it begins: Day one.” It’s been almost a month since the Flying Pig Marathon, and boy, have I missed the training lifestyle. Yes, I've had a nice break from the mental and physical strain of my previous training cycle, but I’m ready to get back to it! I’ve been doing some reading (and research) in the past month, so today I take that first step towards a goal that has been on my bucket list for a while: Qualifying for Boston. Even as I type those words out now, I get nervous and excited because I know the amount of work this endeavor is going to take; it's going to be unlike anything I've done before, and ironically, my training plan builds on everything I've learned to date in regards to fitness.
So what prompted me to go for Boston now? Well I guess you could say I began to “Think like Meb,“ haha. It just so happens that the first chapter in Meb Keflezghi’s book, “Meb for Mortals,” is called “Think like Meb: How the right mindset leads to running success.” I'm a goal-oriented person by nature; however, something about how Meb explained his philosophy on goals made the wheels in my head turn and helped me decide what my next goal should be.
My goal should be:
- Challenging yet realistic
- There should be a timeline associated with it
- It needs to have specifics. A vague goal doesn't motivate you as much as having a specific goal: e.g. I went to PR vs. I want to PR with a time of blank.
My mind immediately went to Boston, and the finishing time I would need to get in a marathon in order to qualify in the 35 and under age category for males: 3:05. I'm 31 years old, and I'm not getting any younger. I will qualify for Boston someday, and I could just wait till I get older and benefit from the handicaps; however, part of me wants to do before then while I’m under 35. Something in my soul tells me that I can do it! Is there a possibility of not qualifying? Yes, but I would rather have tried and not succeeded than not try at all. To achieve my goal, I need to get under 3:05, and I have a little less than 3 years to do it. I think I can do it in 2. ;) Now, how will I attain this goal?
In the last year, I've changed the way I train for a marathon (Hanson’s Marathon Method), and clearly it has improved my finishing times, but what hasn’t received an overhaul is my diet. The other book I read this past month was “Racing Weight: How to get lean for peak performance.” This book explains in detail the difference between dieting just to lose weight and performance weight management and how your body performs its best (depending on your sport) at a certain body composition. It lists several steps on how to obtain your optimal weight, body fat, etc. It even sets up a chart of food groups and assigns points to those groups. Based off those points, you calculate your Diet Quality Score, which tells you how good, or bad, your diet quality was for the day. There are certain numbers you should hit, and I won't go into specifics of how that is determined (I recommend the book for that info), but there are certain recommended goals when you are starting out, based on estimates. I currently weight 210 pounds with a body fat of 17.5%. Starting off, my current goal should be to weigh 196.8 pounds with a body fat of 13.9%. This is just an estimate, because everyone is different; however, with each adjustment and change in body composition, I will be able to see how that affects my performance in my runs, which is the ultimate goal if I want to get Boston-qualifying fast!
The first 30 days of this performance weight management program is called the quick-start guide because lowering body fat is your priority, and this is done by focusing on strength training. I will be doing this phase for 5 weeks with a Ragnar race in my 3rd week. During the quick-start guide there are 5 guidelines:
- Have a calorie deficit of 300-500 calories,
- Focus on strength training
- Increase protein intake up to 30% of daily calories
- Fasted workouts
- Power intervals aka HIIT.
This is why my day started at 6:08 a.m. today, for a fasted workout.
I usually get a variety of questions in terms of how I train – what I eat, how much do I eat, etc…well, I will take this opportunity to post weekly recaps where I will share these types of details with you about the previous week. I hope this will motivate people to keep going, no matter what they are working towards and also helps me by keeping me accountable. I don't know exactly how long this will last because the book states that it can take several training cycles in order to reach your goal however my next marathon will be the Des Moines Marathon in October. Based off of these tools, I would like to finish with a time of 3:15-3:20 because it's a reasonable goal and would put me in a good spot towards qualifying for Boston.
I know it won't be easy, and it's definitely something I've never tried before ( I'm not one who eats more than 2+ servings of fruits and veggies, haha); but just like I put my faith in Hanson's Marathon Method, I am putting my faith in Racing Weight. The running community has good things to say about the Racing Weight method, and the science behind it makes sense. Qualifying for Boston is something that seems unfathomable but when I think back to when I first started running, so was the idea of completing a marathon and look what happened with that. My sights are set on you Boston…you better watch out.