On Jan. 13, I officially kicked-off my training for the 117th Boston Marathon. While this is now the twelfth consecutive year that I have embarked on this journey, I must admit that there is always something very special and unique about this “official” first day of training.
Prior to last Sunday, I’d been logging on average around 40 miles per week. So while I have not been officially training, I have been keeping up a relatively active and consistent running schedule. However, with the Marathon a mere thirteen weeks away, I decided that it was now time make it official. In short, as of last Sunday, I am no longer just “running” for the sake of running, but rather I am now “training” for the Boston Marathon.
So, what does this all really mean?
Simply stated, everything now in terms of my running starts to take on a little bit more significance. However, in thinking about things after completing my first training run, it seems to boil down to three key factors:
2) A Goal
I have begun the process of executing my training program. I’ll spare you the details of what this entails, but at a high level it involves key weekly mileage goals in conjunction with planned runs of specified distances. This not only prepares me physiologically for the race, it also ensures that I am mentally prepared as well. However, in order to execute my training plan successfully, I need to now plan ahead, look at my weekends and start to coordinate activities so that I will be able to accomplish my set training goals in time for race day. Therefore, I now need to think of my running schedule not just in terms of the next few days, but more importantly the next few months. For example, I know that toward the end of February, I am going to be out of town and therefore, that weekend I will not be able do my planned run. However, because I am aware of this fact and am already planning accordingly, it’s not going to be an issue.
2) A Goal
First and foremost I am runner who runs for the sake and love of running. Just being outside, getting my blood moving, breathing fresh air, and the “high” you get after nice run, is enough to motivate me. However, now that I am formally training, I approach each run with the mindset that it’s one key step in accomplishing my goal of running Boston. Therefore, for the next 13 weeks, my runs will not just be about running, but rather framed within the context of my goal of running this year’s Boston Marathon. This is an incredible motivator and something that will help guide and get me through the training season.
I must say that the way that I start to view my runs once training begins is a truly unique and transforming process. In short, I start to envision them within the context of running the race. For example, as I approached a hill, I thought about how this would help me prepare for the hills on the course. As I ran down a portion of Route 16 in Wellesley (yes, I live near the course), I was thinking about what this section of my training run will actually be like on race day. In short, now that I am training, I will now start to view my runs outside of the moment and within the context of that goal I am looking to accomplish. This factor certainly causes me to see my runs in a different light and is simultaneously a big form of motivation both when I am out training and preparing to do so.
While the next 13 weeks will certainly not be easy, I must say that I am looking forward to them. While it’s hard to classify training as “fun”, there is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that is to be derived from this process. For those of us in New England we will most likely endure sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice, and other challenges over the next several months. In short, I know it won’t be easy. However, I also know that training is also what makes a marathon not just simply something you “do”, it makes it something you truly “earn".
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes