Tips & Tricks

Preparing for a Goal Race – Boston Marathon

Whether you are running the 2019 Boston Marathon, or have another goal race lined up for the year, Hive Athlete and elite runner Lauren Curley has a few of her top tips to share with you. Read below so you can toe the line feeling confident and prepared!

I started running about five years ago as a way to manage stress and improve my health and overall fitness. I fell in love with it right away and I ran my first marathon last year in 2:57:58. I’m currently training for my second marathon – the 2019 Boston Marathon!  I balance my training with work and graduate school, and staying on top of it all requires lots of planning! 

The most important thing? Have a plan! This goes for your training, your fueling, your mental strategy – everything. If you’re planning for a big goal race, you’re going to be investing a lot of time and energy, and you want to set yourself up for success. Some things to consider:

Give yourself enough time to train.

If you aren’t sure how much time you need, the earlier you start the better. For a marathon, this usually means a minimum of 12-16 weeks (more if you’re a beginner). I usually use a 14-16 week plan, and that’s building on an existing aerobic base.

Have a training plan.

This might mean getting yourself a coach, joining a local running club, or finding a plan online. Ideally, you would know what type of run and how long to run each day. That doesn’t mean you’ll follow the plan every day (life happens, after all), but you should try to stick to it as much as possible.

Figure out your fueling.

I’ve always struggled with fueling during marathons since I have a temperamental stomach. In a marathon, you’ll have to get in some calories while running at a relatively hard effort. Figure out what type of fuel works for you and practice with it during your long runs and hard workouts. If you start early in your training cycle, you’ll have plenty of time to figure out what you like. If you won’t be bringing your own fuel to use during the race, look up what will be available at aid stations on race day and practice with that. Pre-race, I’ll either have one pack of Honey Stinger Chews or two Honey Stinger Waffles 2-3 hours before the start of the race. During the race, I carry gels for quick fueling.

A marathon is a mental race.

In a marathon, you’ll have literal hours to think about how uncomfortable you are and how much longer you still have to go. Long runs and hard workouts are crucial parts of building up mental toughness that will help get you through a marathon. Remind yourself that finishing a marathon, even if you don’t reach your time goal, is a huge accomplishment!

Along the same line of thought, have fun.

Especially for a big goal race like Boston, it’s likely that some things leading up to and during the race will not go exactly as planned. Enjoy your training and enjoy the race day experience. Remember to soak it all in – the sights and sounds, the camaraderie, and the sense of accomplishment from qualifying for Boston (congratulations!) and then getting out there and running it!

FOLLOW ALONG WITH LAUREN’S TRAINING AND RACING:

Instagram: @lalabrunning

Twitter: @Curley_LB

YouTube: Lauren Curley

 

Photos by Luis De La Vega and Juan Carlos Ayala Castro