Boston Marathon Goals

So my next marathon is the Boston Marathon, which is Monday 18th April. Less than two weeks away. I fly to Boston, with my mum, on the Friday (15th) beforehand, which should hopefully give me time to de-jet lag and acclimatise.



I’m really excited. I’ve done big marathons before (Paris and Berlin) but never a US marathon. There are apparently going to be around 30,000 people running. I think Berlin was around 40,000 so I imagine it to feel similar. I will never be alone on the course and it’s like London in terms of supporters and crowds. I’ve never done London but I’ve heard it’s amazing. So yeah, I’m really excited.

When I PB’ed (3:24:06) and got my BQ in the Liverpool Marathon last year I thoroughly enjoyed myself but it was hard work and I was very much focused on getting a good time (for me). For Boston, I’m not aiming for a PB because a) I’m not in as good shape as I was before Liverpool and b) I’d quite like to enjoy the marathon and feel somewhat relaxed so I can take everything in.

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I’m not saying I’m not aiming for a PB to then secretly go out and smash a PB and be like “oh it just happened, didn’t I do well la di da”. No. I am literally not in that shape and as the course for Boston is quite challenging I would need to have the clear intention of going for a PB. I’m not the type of person to just go with whatever pace I fancy on the day. I am a Type A personality and will have paces written down that I aim to stick close to (as I have done in previous races). I just haven’t decided exactly what my time goal is right now.image


The Boston marathon is somewhat undulating – long downhills and short, sharp uphills throughout the course which can “trash your legs”. The first four miles are downhill. I’ve been advised by everything I’ve read and heard to NOT just go off flying at a ridiculous pace “banking time” as this would then ruin my quads and kill me later on when I hit the four clustered hills from mile 16 to mile 21 (this includes the Heartbreak Hill). Handily, I found a very cool pace calculator from the Runners Connect website which takes into account all the undulations and gives you paces to stick to in order to reach a certain time goal.


I’ve plugged in four different time goals: 3:45, 3:40, 3:35 and 3:30. Despite saying I have no time goals, I’ll be honest, if I go over 3:45 I’ll be disappointed. If I go anywhere near 3:30 (8:01 pace) I’ll be really pleased. I just need to think sensibly about how I’m feeling as I get closer. I’ve been running most of my long runs around 8 minute/miles but the undulations of this course (especially being so far through the race) make me doubt my ability to have that pace as an average. In all likelihood I’m probably going to aim between 3:40 and 3:35. I see those range of paces as achievable (8:12-8:23 min/miles).

My big fear is the weather as last year’s weather was awful. I don’t mind a cold start, I just don’t want relentless rain and/or wind. I’ve done that for other races but never for a whole marathon. I’d like it to be enjoyable and I’m not sure almost four hours of rain and wind could make that possible! But you can’t control it so there’s no point worrying.

My absolute number one goal is TO NOT GET INJURED. I am scared that, despite my training going really well (bar one foot niggle that lasted a week due to poor trainer choice), I could have an injury crop up during the marathon randomly like I had in Bournemouth. I just hope that for Bournemouth it was because I had done too much beforehand and hadn’t really done structured training or had a pace strategy. Who knows. But saying all this, I do want to finish Boston so if I do get injured, it could get ugly.


Anyway, my bib is 13445. Feel free to track my progress on race day if you’re bored on that Monday. There are ways to track athletes I believe HERE (I’m not that self-obsessed to think you all will, I just know this for my dad as he’s not coming!). I start in the second wave at 10.25am (3.25pm British time), which I’m quite happy with (though I do have to catch the shuttle bus to the start at 6.45am and made me have major anxieties about what the hell and when the hell I’m going to have for breakfast).

And that’s that. I’ll be packing about five different race outfits for different weather scenarios (I’m sort of joking…), old clothes to wear at the start and keeping my trainers in my carry on luggage…just in case. And my passport has stayed far away from my washing machine Winking smile

Have you ever done a US marathon?

How would you pace Boston?

When and what do you eat for breakfast before a marathon? I just feel like 6am will be far too early for breakfast but this causes me issues about having porridge.

23 Replies to “Boston Marathon Goals”

  1. Eeeeek so exciting! I shall be having a look at how you get on for sure- it’s the first day back after the spring holiday but as you have so kindly given the UK time (as I am terrible at working those out) I shall be home from work towards the end of your run.
    What to eat is so tricky- before Stockholm I had porridge- my mum lent me a travel kettle so I could boil water and make it in our room (one of those pot things) but since then I have not got on so well with porridge, so I tend to have either toast before a race, if I am at home, or a clif bar or pulsin bar if we are away somewhere and toast isn’t an option. I had toast before Brighton and that was fine- can’t remember how long before as we had to walk the mile to the park at the start too, so it was a good 90 mins before the start I would think.
    Doing a race in the US is very exciting- I did a 5k in Hawaii, and the San Fran parkrun (not a race I know) but they were both very relaxed events and I had breakfast after doing them.
    It sounds like you are being sensible with your pacing too- I heard them on MT talk about that pace calculator and it sounded so good as normally they don’t take into account elevation. Just enjoy it- read all the signs on your way around, see the crowds and the sights…. it’s going to be brilliant! If I were you I would aim for a slower time and just take in the sights- if you are not going for a pb then time does not really matter? That is my thought anyway.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Hooray! Finally a run!My Profile

    1. Clare posted below about overnight oats which has made me think… I don’t like cold oats but if it means I essentially get exactly what I’d normally get just cold then this seems like a small sacrifice! Just pop it in my bag and have it a couple of hours before.
      I didn’t know they’d mentioned the pace calculator on MT! I haven’t heard the latest show. This is so cool! I literally just stumbled across it on the Runners Connect website when I was looking up course info.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Boston Marathon GoalsMy Profile

  2. Have a great time at the race (and the holiday in general).
    Really enjoyed the Austin half marathon when I did, it was a big city race with a marathon also going on. Lots of crazy spectator signs to entertain you along the way. It was also a hilly route so didn’t go for a PB.
    That race started at 7am so no chance to get a hotel breakfast, so I had a couple of oat bars/clif bars, which were absolutely fine.

  3. Eeek so excited! I’d love to do a US marathon one day. The downhill start sounds dangerous – I’m sure loads of people get caught out and speed through those early miles. x

  4. Hope you have a wonderful time in Boston, you’re right to just go and enjoy it rather than pushing for a PB! Bet you’re really excited, can’t wait to see lots of pictures and read the race recap! 🙂 xx
    April recently posted…Let’s have a catch up!My Profile

  5. I shall be tracking you tomorrow! Thanks for including the time for over here. Luckily school finishes at 3 so I shall be marking away whilst your tracker ticks over in the corner of my screen! 😛
    That pace calculator looks like a really good idea. Most of my marathons where I have raced have been fairly flat – it has only been my coastal marathons where the elevation has been rather up and down. Those have been off-road so I allow myself to walk the hills anyway! 😉
    I’m really looking forward to reading your recap next week!
    Mary recently posted…The first trimesterMy Profile

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