Tyler Lyon’s story of Qualifying for Boston

 

Name: Tyler Lyon

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height: 5’5″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 125lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Manchester City Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. I did not plan on this race being a BQ at all. I had come off the Hartford marathon with my only real training the month before and in it I ran a 14.5mi, disappointing 18mi, a VERY slow 20mi, and a 15mi for runs over 8mi (really only 16 runs of training total!). I ran a 3:06:18, which was only a 26sec PR from my first marathon 3 years prior following the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 plan. I was crushed to come so close again to a BQ and planned a December marathon to try again, with the Manchester City Marathon as a tune up where my only goal was to negative split and earn a free pair of NB from a Strava promotion.

I started increasing mileage immediately and logged a 33.5, 60.5 and 68 miles run two weeks ago. I took the runs slower than usual to accommodate the volume.

Because this race was only 4 weeks away from the last and was a challenging course, I sought to incorporate it into my training as a long, leisure run to simply negative split and claim my free shoes, taking that pressure off next month’s marathon. My dad was also going to run it so I first thought I’d run at his pace. As the race got closer I decided an 8:00/mi would be just fine… then decided since that is slower than any of my training runs so far, 7:45 sounds good. The night before I told myself I could definitely get away with 7:30 and be fine for a negative split.

I actually tweaked something in my right hamstring trying to fit in some speed work on wednesday and so I took thursday, friday and saturday off running and instead did a lower body lifting day and swim sprint workout friday. I had NO intention of pushing it in the race.

The morning of the race, standing behind the start I nearly committed a Cardinal sin of running for me… using earbuds for music during the race. I set up a random playlist, checked the play button on the mic and waited for the start. My thinking was: if this race is going to be meaningless for time, what do I care to make it a little more enjoyable?

### Miles [1] to [7]

The gun fired, I started my watch at the line, and went to play my tune, only NO MUSIC! I quickly stowed my earbuds in my spybelt, frustrated that I would have to carry my phone as extra weight for nothing. I had been given some great advice to not get sucked into the pace of the half marathoners who run with the marathoners the whole race, and be prepared for the hills. Although I planned on going very easy, even at a 7:00 pace I was getting passed left and right. The first 7 miles were a bit hilly and the wind was bad at times, but overall I set into a very comfortable, but faster than planned pace.

*6:53* – *7:03* – *6:59* – *7:07* – *7:10* – *7:01* – *6:55*

### Miles [8] to [13.1]
Around mile 6, I realized my hamstring wasn’t bothering me at all and the rest I took made me in better racing shape than my marathon 4 weeks ago. The hilly long training I was doing also made arguably the hilliest portion of the course much easier. My plan now was to keep my watch pace reading 7:00 and then 6:59 for the second half, ensuring I’d negative split. However, each mile onward was consistently faster than this goal and I crossed the 13.1 point with a 6:55 pace and 1:31:30ish

*6:44* – *6:53* – *6:45* – *6:53* – *6:39* – *6:41*

### Miles [14] to [20]
after about 3 miles of road running, the race transitioned to a linear trail with a gradual incline ended by a loop and then back on the trail. I began to push my pace after mile 15 to keep hopes of a negative split after still feeling good. The trail was a little loose in spots but I kept it up motivated by the leaders running the opposite way.

*6:41* – *6:40* – *6:24* – *6:38* – *6:37* – *6:35* – *6:28*

### Miles [21] to [26.2]
The ride back on the trail felt great, and the brand new course left out a huge hill I was warned about at mile 20. But around mile 22, the course left the repeated section and I could hardly see anyone in front of me. Water stations were scarce and I began to lose slight motivation. Three things kept me going however: The need to reimburse the race fee with a free pair of shoes, the desire to qualify for Boston passed a 3 min cushion for acceptance, and a text displayed on my watch I got early in the race from a friend replying to my “I have no idea how to run this!” with “kill the course fuck it lol” (my mantra for the race)

mile 24 came, the kryptonite to the Hartford Marathon, but I powered through with the help of a Gu and two Untapped to the fifth fastest mile of the race.

mile 25 and 26 were just cruel. After returning to downtown Manchester, we went RIGHT next to the finish only to run out, take a left, and circle a bridge before returning back.

At the end of mile 26 I found the energy to kick and pass one more person, registering the fastest “kick” of the entire field on the results (whatever that means!) and finished with **2:56:28**

*6:19* – *6:10* – *6:20* – *6:24* – *6:49* – *6:34* – *5:39 (0.2mi)*

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 8 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? no

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes! Primarily weight lifting (3 to 4 days a week), then swimming (1 day a week), yoga (class 1 day a week), and biking to class (~5mi a day).

The weight training I believe had the most impact with one dedicated lower body day, one back/shoulders, one chest/arms and one mix day a week.

Yoga had a profound impact on my relaxation and flexibility too.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? I did a few track workouts of 1000m repeats, but mainly got workouts from the hilly training courses around.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? The main things I learned from this race were:

*adapting your body to high mileage weeks can be beneficial

*going out slow is the was to go (don’t bank time!)

*plenty of rest before the race may not be a bad idea

 

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