How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon | PR Faster NOW

Are you wondering how to qualify for the Boston Marathon? If so, welcome to RunDreamachieve. I am glad you have made it here. The overall goal with marathon training is to improve your lactate tolerance. Yes, easy running is vital for running success.

That being said, we have to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. The world’s top runners run between 35 to 40% of their weekly training at or below their anaerobic threshold. So, they make it look easy for a reason.

how to qualify for the boston marathon

A gentleman recently qualified for the Boston marathon running 3.27 at the Philadelphia Marathon.

I watched my wife run the Boston Marathon in 2008. It was great to see her come in with a finish time of 3:23:11.

This is the oldest marathon in the world so there is a great deal of history. That being said, it is also one of the hardest to qualify for.

In 2011, there were more than 1,000 media members from around the world invited to the race to cover the Boston Marathon.

How Do I Qualify for Boston Marathon?

Boston is one of the world marathon majors with a prize purse of $150,000 for the winner with the top 15 winning cash prizes.

If you qualify for the Boston marathon you have done something very special. There are many athletes from around the world who would love to compete here.

There are so many runners who want to know what is the best way in how to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The best way to find out what time you need to run is to visit the Boston Marathon website.

It is one of the few great marathons in the world where you have to earn a certain time in order to compete. What is the best way to prepare? You need to train well below your goal marathon race pace.

Also, spend more of your mileage running at higher intensities. Remember, too much aerobic mileage will only make you a superior, long slow runner.

Standards Rise

They have made the standards of qualifying for the Boston Marathon even harder. Thus, you need be focusing on your goal race pace. How often are you practicing it? There are many resources here on the site that can help you get to your goal.

We have marathon training plans specifically catered to race pace training.

Standards are now nearly 6 minutes faster per age group than they were. All the more reason to motivate you to get to the starting line in Hopkington.

The current standards for qualifying for the Boston marathon are as follows with male and female times listed:

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times 2023

18-34 – 3hrs 05min – 3hrs 35min
35-39 – 3hrs 10min – 3hrs 40min
40-44 – 3hrs 15min – 3hrs 45min
45-49 – 3hrs 25min – 3hrs 55min
50-54 – 3hrs 30min – 4hrs 00min
55-59 – 3hrs 40min – 4hrs 10min
60-64 – 3hrs 55min – 4hrs 25min
65-69 – 4hrs 10min – 4hrs 40min
70-74 – 4hrs 25min – 4hrs 55min
75-79 – 4hrs 40min – 5hrs 10min
80 & up – 4hrs 55min – 5hrs 25min

Is it Hard to Qualify for Boston Marathon?

We all have to earn the right to toe that line. Here are 23 short marathon training tips to help you get your ticket to Boston. No, it will not be a simple process but asking how to qualify for the Boston marathon tells me you are seeking excellence. Remember, others have qualified and so can you.

1. Stay motivated.

No other force on the face of the earth is as potent than being committed.

Find you WHY. Why are you doing this? What has gotten you this far? Write down your goals and fully commit to making it to Boston.

2. Be patient. Results come when you’re not pushing.

The great Bruce Lee put it best,

water can crash or it can flow, be water my friend.

Water can carve through mountains over time. Be persistent in training and you’ll make it.

Focus on the positives

3. Focus. Never let negative people bring you down.

Can Anyone Compete in the Boston Marathon?

Runners aged 18 or older can compete in the Boston Marathon. Of course, you do need to qualify as well. My best advice is to start off by running at least 4 weeks of easy, aerobic mileage. In addition, start doing strides twice per week. Strides are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid.

In addition, will help you improve your form and acceleration capability. Also, you will have spent several miles or kilometers at sprint speeds over a 16 to 24 week block of training. Remember, a longer build up is always going to be better than a shorter one. So, a minimum of 16 and preferably 20 to 24 weeks is best for the marathon.

4. Surround yourself with like-minded people. People may think you’re crazy for going out on the weekends doing 20 mile runs.

Stick with people who will support you along the way.

I was told to ‘get a life’ I ran so much during high school and college. Be fanatical. Everyone who is committed has been ridiculed for some reason.

I’ve been able to travel the world and met and trained with Olympians, world-record holders and world champions. There are no regrets.

Two world armed forces teams.

An Olympic Trials qualifying time,

Three years with the  Army World Class Athlete Program

Several countries visited.

Get a life? I did.

I could quit running today and be satisfied, that I gave it my utmost effort. Do not have any regrets after you stop competing. Give it everything you have now. Qualify for Boston. Make the necessary commitments now.



What is the Easiest Marathon to Qualify for Boston?

There are no easy marathons to qualify for the Boston marathon on. Of course, there are flat courses. That being said, just because a course is flat is a guarantee you will fun fast on it. My top picks would be Valencia, Berlin, Frankfurt, Chicago or Rotterdam.

Be patient and stay positive during your build up. Surround yourself with like-minded people that will support you. None of us doing anything on our own. Always find and search for the people who know more than you.

They are the most precious gifts in your life.

5. Shy away from contentment.

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is not an easy task.

It is a tough standard. That being said, you cannot be content with just good enough.

When excellence is in sight, good is not enough

Olympic Coach Joe Vigil

What is the Entry Fee to Run the Boston Marathon?

It will vary from year to year but usually hovers around $225 for US residents and $235 USD for international competitors.

6. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Those who have qualified for Boston have failed along the way in order to qualify. Do not lose your enthusiasm with a few setbacks. The event is what is always seen. What about the process? That is what so few people get to see. The hard work behind the scenes.

You are bound to obtain your goal. Failure is the motivation that will deliver the result.

The greatest successes in sport usually is the direct result of failure. Use it to your benefit.

Focus on Goal Pace

7. Practice the pace you want to hold to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

There is no short cuts. You cannot ask yourself to hold 6.30 mile pace for 26.2 miles if you haven’t practiced running the same pace for 12.

Does that make sense?

8. Run Easy.

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Yes, just as important as race pace. The discipline to run easy on your recovery days is just as vital in answering how to qualify for the boston marathon as practicing at race pace.

A rested body will always perform best.

9. Stay Positive. 

I was told  to quit years ago when my marathon PR was “only” 2:43:36.

This came from a 2:16:00 marathoner I used to train with.

Do not put your focus on people. Focus on what you can control.

Surround yourself with winners, not small thinkers.

Why is Boston Marathon so Prestigious?

It is the oldest second only to the first Olympic marathon that was run in 1896. The first Boston marathon was held in 1897. So, it is prestigious due to the competition. In addition, the longevity of the event.

10. Alternate paces during your long runs.

Don’t make it a long slow distance run every time. Remember, specific goals require specific training.

Running easy is good but running fast over longer durations will bring specific results.

Boston Marathon qualifying results.

For example, doing a workout like this will produce results.

Do the first 10 miles easy, next 5 miles at 20 seconds slower than goal race pace, with the last 5 miles at goal marathon race pace.

11. If others have done it, so can you.

Remember that. Simple, but fact. If others have done it why not you? What did the do to produce that result? The secret is finding what successful people do and duplicate their work habits.

Why is Boston Marathon So Difficult?

It is mainly due to the hillier terrain found on the course. Boston is a net downhill course similar to California International marathon. That being said, Boston has more of net downhill drop. So, make sure you do…

12. Do hilly long runs.

Practice doing your long runs over hilly terrain. This will prepare you better than someone who trains mainly on flat roads.

You will gain massive stamina and strength running long periods of time over challenging terrain. In addition, doing faster, varied paced long runs will help you drop significant time. Have you been running long, slow long runs every single weekend? If so, please stop doing that.

Below is an example of a long run I was doing prior to running 2:19:35 for the marathon.

  • 2 mile jog, 5 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 7 miles@6:05 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:00, 2 mile jog cool-down (22 miles)

13. Do longer speed intervals.

10x1mile is a great workout.

Running longer reps at paces much faster than goal marathon race pace will do wonders. Endurance is good, speed kills.

Andres Espinosa ran his world masters marathon record time of 2.08.46 at the 2003 London Marathon. What was his last mile? 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

The masters world-record has since been lowed to 2:07:50.

Think of all the miles Andres had to prepare that were run far below his goal marathon race pace leading into that race.

Can I Run Boston Marathon without Qualifying?

No, usually you have to qualify to compete in the Boston marathon. There may be some special occasions where you can run for charity though.

14. Incorporate two high weeks of training followed by a lower week.

This will prevent you from overtraining and will allow your body to recover from the previous two weeks.

A recovered body will always spring back and super compensate.

This is how our training was constructed when I was in college. Our training revolved around , Dr. Joe Vigil. ‘s philosophy.

15. Study those who have hit the time you want to run.

What did they do? How did they train?

Training is universal and physiological adaptations occur in everyone.

Results will come to you faster if you research ways in which runners faster then you have achieved what they have.

What is the Hardest Part of the Boston Marathon?

A lof of people say Heartbreak Hill is supposedly the hardest part of the race. My wife ran it in 2008 and says she did not even know when she went up it. So, it just depends on the athlete and how well-prepared they are to run it. Again, if you focus on quality training over high mileage your chances of success will rise.

Remember, higher mileage is not a guarantee that you are going to set a new personal best.

16. Do longer fartleks.

My least favorite workout?  1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy for an hour. I did this workout with Gilbert Rutto while I was still in college in 1998. Gilbert is a 2:10:01 marathoner from Kenya.

The 1 minute bursts were at 4.50 pace with the 1 minute ‘easy’ section at 6.30 pace. I was only 23 years old. It was my first real dose of what it was going to take to be exceptional at this sport.

The Kenyans are famous for doing well at the marathon distance for a reason.

They practice running at speeds exceeding goal marathon race pace for longer period of time and often.

Focus on glutathione foods.

17. Eat a high protein and carbohydrate meal immediately after a hard training session.

This will replenish what you have lost, help you recover faster and repair muscle tissues disrupted from that hard workout.

The muscles are like sponges after workouts.

The quicker you replenish the body, the more recovered you will be for your next workout.

What is the Average Time to run the Boston Marathon?

Marathon Book did a study where they found the average time run at the Boston marathon was 3:52:40. So, this gives you an indication of just how competitive this race is.

18. Make the choice to qualify.

You have to have an unshakeable belief in what you are doing.

Hold yourself accountable.

Coach Joe Newton put it beautifully,

You have three choices in life, be average, be good, be great. Your teacher didn’t make it, the preacher didn’t make it, you make it! If you choose to be average, that is all your ever going to be in life.

Many people think that unless you are out running a national or world class time you are average. Not true.

The stories are usually about the top runners. There are millions who have their own stories of triumph and deserve the same notoriety.

Is Boston Marathon a Slow Course?

Boston is considered the slowest of all the world major marathons. I always thought New York City marathon would rank as the slowest but it isn’t.

19. Be relentless.

You cannot let up.

Be razor sharp in the pursuit and don’t look back when your older wondering ‘what if I had done this or that’.

NOW is YOUR time!

20. Focus on your rest

The normal individual needs anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep.

Runners training to qualify for the Boston Marathon or any other marathon for that matter need even more.

What you are doing the other 24 hours of the day is just as important at the workout itself.

Is Boston Marathon harder than NYC?

Boston is considered to be a more difficult technical course versus New York City.

21. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Think of all the problems in the world and stop to give thanks that you have your health, others do not have it as good as you do.

There is always another marathon to achieve your Boston Marathon qualifying time at. I was a 2.40.02 marathoner the day before I ran 2.19. That being said, I failed several times before I broke the sub-2:20:00 marathon barrier.

I was certain I would that I could break the barrier. It was simply a question of when.

Focus on the future

You have to always be looking ahead and believe in your goal, at all times.

In addition to that, you need to visualize yourself qualifying every day. It has to happen in the mind before it can happen in reality.

22. Give Back.

Do you have expertise in this race distance? Give back. Help someone else trying to do what you have accomplished.

There is nothing more beautiful than helping another person achieve the so-called impossible.

Sometimes all that is needed is one person who says, ‘You CAN do it, I believe in you’.

It is more blessed to give, then it is to receive.


Think about it…

23. Focus on what YOU can control.

In closing, you can control slowing down on runs the day after a hard track workout. You have that discipline, that ability, to hold yourself back running in a training group and that takes practice.

It takes more discipline to hold back when you know you’re not recovered than to push a run when you are still recovering.

The smart runners will do this. They know results come in the rest, not specifically from the hard workout itself. I hope this post on how to qualify for the Boston Marathon has been helpful to you.

Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new content there each week to help runners like you get to the next level in their training and racing.

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