Best Boston Qualifying Marathons | 2024 Pro Tips

Are you seeking some tips on what are the best Boston qualifying marathons? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. My goal with this post is to share some of my favorite marathons that can help you get your BQ. More importantly, some strategies to help you run the marathon distance faster and more effectively.

The Boston Marathon is a negative downhill course. That being said, it is still highly challenging. I ran 2:19:35 on the California International marathon. In fact, I would have never envisioned breaking 2:20 there versus running at Columbus, Rotterdam, Berlin or London. I would most certainly rule those races at the best Boston qualifying marathons to compete in.

They are flat, have few turns (minus London) and highly competitive competition. CIM and Boston have a lot of rolling hills, flat sections and some downhill portions as well. Remember, getting a Boston marathon qualifying standard is not an easy feat. The weather has to be perfect, competition has to be at the race and you need to be in perfect shape.

What is the Easiest Marathon to Qualify For?

I would have to rank Chicago or Berlin as the easiest in terms of being flat. Berlin is the fastest course in the world in terms of elevation. That being said, there is no such thing as a flat course unless you are in superior shape. A major mistake a lot of runners make when it comes to the marathon is running their long runs too slow.

I improved from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 using faster, varied paced long runs. Of course, I do not do faster long runs every weekend. Remember, the real benefits of your hard training come from within the rest cycle. So, you have to slow down and jog on your easy days. It is absolutely vital to do this after faster long runs too.

It is not uncommon to need 2 and up to 3 days of easy running after workouts like this. What you do not want to do is run slow every single weekend. Remember, you are going after a Boston marathon qualifying time. So, that tells me you are already highly competitive. You will need to be smart the hours after your track or road workouts are completed.

Is it Easy to Qualify for Boston Marathon?

As mentioned above Chicago, Rotterdam, St. George, CIM, Berlin, London or Paris are my top recommended best Boston qualifying marathons to go for a qualifier at. Remember, a longer build up is always the best bet. I recommend runners focus on a minimum of 16 and preferably 20 to 24 weeks preparing for their marathons.

The body takes between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it. So, quick results will not occur in the marathon. My goal for you is to train smarter rather than harder. Higher mileage is not a guarantee any of the best Boston qualifying marathons will assist you. I write that because if too much of your mileage is too aerobic what will that make you? Well, an outstanding long, slow distance runner.

No, it is not easy to qualify for Boston but it is most certainly achieveable. What has been the longest duration you have spent doing your tempo runs? I write that because too many runners are not running far enough at their anaerobic threshold. Yes, you should first focus on 3 to 4 miles. That being said, work to extend that out to around 8 to 12 miles later on when you get in better shape.

What is the Fastest Way to Qualify for Boston?

Focus on a longer build up and practice training at 15 to 30 seconds faster than your goal marathon pace. Our number one goal is to improve our body’s lactate tolerance. Easy running is important. That being said, the real benefits come from training at our lactate threshold. We run between 85 to 89% of our max heart rate at this effort.

Also, training at our Vo2 max. Your Vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at speed that are so aggressive you cannot clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Naturally, we have to take small breaks to recover before starting our next interval. We run between 95 to 100% of our max heart rate running at vo2 max.

The good news is that it will make your goal marathon race pace feel that much easier. The bad news is that it hurts and does take time to adapt to. Examples of Vo2 max workouts are hill sprints, road/track inrervals and fartlek running workouts. You should be doing 1 tempo, 1 vo2 max and 1 faster long run per week. The faster long runs should always alternate with an easier, relaxed long run the following week.

What is the Average Time to Qualify for Boston Marathon?

The best advice I can give is to ensure to visit the Boston marathon website. The race seems to become more competitive with each passing year. Times runners will need to run are based on their age group. The key tactic to focus on building a large base of mileage. So, focus on running easy for at least 4 to 8 weeks before transitioning into your marathon specific training.

I would be doing strides twice per week to work on your leg speed and acceleration. Strides are only 50 to 100 meters on. That being said, are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid. So, you can do these throughout your training build up. The fastest times to qualify for the Boston marathon fall within the 18-34 age group. Men (as of 2023) will need to run a 3:00 and females will need to run 3:30 or better.

Again, always reference the Boston marathon website and find out what you need to achieve. Then, focus on a long build up with emphasis on training at, near and far below your goal marathon pace. The goal here is to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Easy running is still important. That being said, it will not help when it comes to racing. So, you have to stress the energy systems of the body properly.

Also, slow down on easy days and allow sufficient time for your body to adapt. Remember, the real benefits of your hard training will come from within the rest period. Google the word “Supercompensation”. It is a word your competition more than likely has never heard of.

What Percentage of Boston Marathon Runners Qualify?

There are less than 11 percent of marathoners who qualify for the Boston marathon each year. So, it is highly competitive to earn a Boston qualifier. My goal with this site is to create running courses, training plans and personal coaching to speed up your learning curve. Also, to bypass the mistakes that many other marathoners are making.

In addition, I also cover the mistakes I made earlier in my career and what I did to break the 2:20 marathon barrier. I highly recommend subscribing to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new training videos there each week to help runners like you surpass their fitness goals.

Also, consider investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245 and it helps to ensure that I am not running too fast on easy days. In addition, that I am not running too slow on tempo and long runs. It is very easy to run too quick on days you really need to be jogging on. Remember, the goal here is to work smarter, not harder. There are many hard working runners who still never meet their time goals. Also, several who never qualify for the Boston marathon.

Closing Thoughts

How much time do you devote to mental rehearsal? I ask because most runners only focus on physical training and bypass mental training altogether. The world’s top runners focus on both mental as well as physical preparation.

So, start spending 10 to 15 minutes daily visualizing yourself surpassing your Boston marathon qualifying time. Also, running strong in the race, passing people and crossing the finish line with your goal time on the clock. It all has to start in the mind before it will ever become reality.

Remember, you are going to have to pay attention to the other details that your competition are not. Are you practicing hydrating during your long runs? Do you drop water bottles out every 3 miles or 5 kilometers along your route? Hydrating and nutrition during the marathon is absolutely vital to earn a BQ.

So, you can attend and prepare for the best Boston qualifying marathons mentioned above. That being said, if you neglect hydrating well and go out too fast you could pay for it. I always tell the athletes I mentor to focus on a negative split. Go out slower and finish the second half faster. They are seeing the results. Check out our testimonial page to see what they are saying.

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