With the knowledge gained on what it takes to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I need to pull it all together and create an action plan, which is the second A in the DREAMS Cycle ™. The action plan is comprised of two parts, the training plan and the logistics plan.
Training Plan
The training plan is a description of the daily runs you will need to complete to get ready to attempt your qualifying marathon. It describes what type of run (e.g. long, steady, hills), the duration, the pace or effort of each run. The length of the training plan will depend on how much time is available before the chosen race. When I started training for my qualifying marathon, I had 22 weeks.
You can develop your own training plan based on what you have learned and experienced. You can also find some sample training plans on the internet through websites and online platforms. Another option is to hire a coach. Here are a few sources of training plans:
As mentioned in a previous post, in order to reach my goal of a 3:30 marathon, I figured I needed to reach at least 75 km per week and complete some 35 km long runs. My base running was comprised of four training runs per week with a long run of 15 km. Executing my plan would take a gradual buildup. The increase from a consistent running base should be limited to about 10% distance increase per week and no more than 5 km increase per long runs.
Here is the plan I devised for myself. Initially I did not define the details for the Hills and Speed workouts; I was going to set those up as I went along.
Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Total

1

Rest

8 km easy

8 km easy

8 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

15 km long distance

47 km

2

Rest

8 km easy

8 km easy

8 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

15 km long distance

47 km

3

Rest

8 km easy

10 km hills

8 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

20 km long distance

54 km

4

Rest

8 km easy

10 km easy

8 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

15 km long distance

49 km

5

Rest

8 km easy

10 km hills

10 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

25 km long distance

61 km

6

Rest

8 km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

15 km long distance

51 km

7

Rest

10 km easy

10 km hills

10 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

30 km long distance

68 km

8

Rest

10 km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

15 km long distance

53 km

9

Rest

10km easy

10 km hills

10 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

35 km long distance

73 km

10

Rest

10km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

15 km long distance

55 km

11

Rest

10km easy

10 km speed

10 km easy

Rest

10km easy

35 km long distance

75 km

12

Rest

10km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

15 km long distance

55 km

13

Rest

10km easy

10 km speed

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

35 km long distance

75 km

14

Rest

10 km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

15 km long distance

55 km

15

Rest

10km easy

10 km speed

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

35 km long distance

75 km

16

Rest

10 km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

15 km long distance

55 km

17

Rest

10 km easy

10 km speed

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

35 km long distance

75 km

18

Rest

10km easy

10 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

15 km long distance

55km

19

Rest

10 km easy

10 km speed

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

30 km long distance

70 km

20

Rest

10 km easy

8 km easy

10 km easy

Rest

10 km easy

15 km long distance

53 km

21

Rest

8 km easy

5 km easy

8 km easy

Rest

8 km easy

12 km easy

41 km

22

Rest

8 km easy

Rest

5 km very easy

Rest

Rest

Ottawa Marathon in under 3:30

55 km

Logistics Plan
The Training Plan will provide guidance as to what you need to do on a daily basis in terms of running. The Logistics Plan will highlight the activities and tasks you need to do to get to the starting line of the marathon.
My Boston Qualifying race was the 2019 Ottawa Marathon. To run the race, I needed to register. To get good prices, the earlier you register, the better the prices. I was a bit behind on this, but my spouse noticed at the end of March that the Ottawa Marathon had an April Fool’s rebate of 25%. This was too good to pass up so we registered on April 1st, eight weeks before the race.
To train and race for the marathon, you need to have the proper running shoes and attire. I tend to run my shoes into the ground, but to race a good race, I figured I needed some new shoes. My old Sketchers and Reebok needed to be replaced. I found a pair of Brooks on sale that provided a bit more stability as I tend to pronate. Over the years, I gathered a few running shorts and I settled on the most comfortable pair. For a shirt, in order to avoid any rubbing issues, I found that the 2018 Ottawa HalfMarathon shirt was the lightest I had. For socks, I had quite a few relatively thin ankle socks that I bought at Giant Tiger that were just right and inexpensive.
Nutrition during a marathon is critical. It can be the difference between finishing strong or crawling at the finish line. Over the course of the 22 weeks of training, I would need to determine what would work best for me in terms of hydration, electrolytes and fuel. Your basic Gatorade Thirst Quencher is fine, but it is not sufficient during the marathon. I also have suspicion that my stomach does not agree with it. I decided to purchase some powder and mix my own. In Canada, I could not find the Gatorade Endurance. Instead, I visited a local Popeye’s Supplement and chose eLoad, which was created by a Canadian sports medicine physician and a track athlete. I then searched for some gel packs. The least expensive and the ones that contained caffeine were the GU Energy Gels. I ordered a box from Mountain Equipment Coop and one from Walmart. The last item I figured I needed was some energy beans. I bought a package of organic beans at the grocery store and then bought a few Sports Beans packs from Sports 4.
I now had a training plan and a logistics plan. Now time to move forward.