Weekly Workouts: 3 months until race day

September 10, 2023

13 weeks until race day

M: 10 mi @ 9:35/mi. No group run because I slept a little late and did this at ~7:30 am on Labor Day.

T: 9 mi + 6 x 30s hard. Felt like I needed a really gentle chill run, so 10:30/mi it was! 20 min strength for runners (Becs Gentry / Peloton) and 15 min barre (Hannah Corbin / Peloton)

W: 9.1 mi total – speedwork day. 14 x 90 seconds @ 10K pace. Warmup @ 9:42/mi (3 mi), then intervals ranged from 7:27-7:52 pace. Cooldown 2 mi @ 9:09/mi. Wore my AlphaFlys for this workout and feel like I could have maybe pushed harder but I don’t think I totally know what 10K pace actually feels like.

R: 8 mi easy, 10:13/mi (always need a slower one post speed day). Also started this one later (7:30ish) to get more sleep, which was good.

F: 6 mi easy @ 9:33 + 20 min full body weights (Andy Speer / Peloton)

S: 18 mi easy @ 9:41/mi. Weather was 75-80F and 88% humidity and this felt pretty good. Honestly anything under 80 feels decent so I guess this summer of south FL running did its job of acclimation. I used Josh’s Nathan water bottle carrier and didn’t hate it too much (usually I just run loops and swing by my house). I really enjoyed this run. I honestly would have happily kept going

S: will be yoga/barre at home, my hips and glutes need some serious stretching.

How high will my mileage go? Not sure. Guessing will peak close to 70. This week felt doable but it helped that Monday was a holiday.

Total: 60 mi / strength x 2

Marathon Race Pace?

If I continue to see improvement this cycle (and I’m hoping with cooling temperatures I will) – I probably am going to try to run a BQ in December (sub 3:40, or 8:23/mi). I absolutely might crash/burn/fail but I feel like if I am hitting the marathon pace workouts then it’s probably worth a try. I will obviously see what my coach thinks!

If I don’t though, I won’t be devastated. This will almost be like . . .a practice attempt? Particularly because there will be other chances to qualify for the 2025 race. Josh is likely going to do it in December and I would sooo love to go too, but it might take me more time to get there and that’s okay.

(Also if it happens to be hot that day I will either run it as a training run or not at all. I may be acclimated but I have limits.)

PS: Yes aware that 3:39:59 would not guarantee me an actual 2025 Boston marathon spot but they did let everyone in last year and honestly going for any faster than that for me would be insane.


  • Reply Grateful Kae September 10, 2023 at 10:40 am

    So Josh is marathon training too right now? When does he fit his runs in, since you seem to use that morning window…? Is he running every evening then or something? Sounds like he already gets home late from work and then helps with driving kids etc from activities. What about long runs? Just curious about this!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 11:19 am

      He will run after work or late morning. He prefers not to get up early to run! A couple of days per week he has later starts at work and runs then. We honestly could both run early some days right near house (Annabel could text if we were needed and we’d be home in 5 min) but haven’t really done that yet.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 12:53 pm

        One day last week he was able to take Cameron to soccer practice and run during practice – that was awesome

  • Reply Omdg September 10, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Its insane the pace you need to hold to qualify for Boston. Assuming you do qualify, have you given any thought to what you’ll do after?

    In other news, I did my first 5 mi run in three months yesterday and had no pain (yay) but def needed a nap when I was done. 12 mi total this week! I am hoping to gradually increase my mileage to about 20 per week, to include a 10 mi run on the weekend, but I think it will take some time to get there. Trying to be patient. What’s also funny is that my VO2 max continues to decline despite my “higher” mileage, and I am wondering if that’s bc I haven’t really done much speed work. Or it could be a nonsense stat, who knows. My Garmin told my husband his VO2 max was 50, and I am jealous haha.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      After? Maybe try to get faster in the 5K and do a marathon a year or so? We will see!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 12:51 pm

      My VO2 max is 41 but my watch doesn’t know the temperature (which raises HR) so I’m hoping it’s an underestimate

  • Reply Chelsea September 10, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    Based on your training, I think you absolutely have a shot at BQing in December. I think you are going to surprise yourself with how fit you are. Obviously there are a number of things that are out of your control, but if you get to the starting line healthy and with good weather, it is 100% within your capability.

    Also, I have made an extensive study of the time offsets, and – other than when they cut the field size in 2021 – it is harder to straight qualify now than it has been to get in at any time in modern history. People forget there was a time adjustment in 2020, so all the years there were offsets between 2012 and 2020, those were on times that were 5 minutes slower. So a 4 1/2 minute offset in – say 2015 – meant that you would have still gotten in even if you ran 30 seconds slower than the current standard.

    I’m going to go bold and predict that you run a 3:38ish.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 1:37 pm

      lol that’s what Metathon currently says. Ha! I would be BEYOND thrilled with that. I remember I was trying to shoot for 3:40 as an 18-35 year old runner but . . also there were no super shoes then 🙂

      • Reply Chelsea September 10, 2023 at 4:59 pm

        No super shoes, and I bet you are smarter about your training and nutrition (or just have more control over your schedule to be smart about those thing) now than you were back then. Plus you have 3 more months to get even fitter 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 5:36 pm

          yeah my nutrition attempts were hilarious (something like 2.5 gels in 26 miles?), i did no strength, i did a lot of treadmill work, etc. Apparently my PR was using that FIRST program with 3 runs/week? Though I may have added i more, I don’t remember! But it was low mileage.

  • Reply coco September 10, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    I’m so impressed how much mileages you’ve added to your training in such short period of time. I think I’ve increased maybe 30-40% during this cycle but you went from not running much to 60s! how do you do that? hahahah…. your body is built with steel iron.
    I’m not aiming BQ this year for sure, probably not even next year, if I can finish sub-4 hrs I’ll be happy. I’m afraid of getting injured so badly that I am trying to go conservative to keep running for long with a lot of body maintenance (Physio, mobility, massage). maybe that’s the price I have to pay to stay in the game.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 6:21 pm

      It’s been a year since I went from 20 miles per week to where I am now – not just a training cycle!!!

      • Reply Coco September 13, 2023 at 10:20 pm

        still very impressive!!! kudos!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 6:28 pm

      I was running 30-40 by Feb (raced a half then) which is when I hired a coach and he has gradually increased me to this over the last 6m.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2023 at 7:21 pm

  • Reply Kristie September 10, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    I think you can absolutely run a BQ! I just looked up Metathon, and it currently predicts a 3:44 marathon for me—even though I just ran a 3:36:50 today! Just looking at the mileage and paces you’re doing (and strength!), I think it’s well within your capability. If you are ever looking for a scenic downhill course, I highly recommend the Tunnels marathons outside Seattle in June, August and September. The weather was gorgeous and there’s a 2000 ft elevation loss over the course. The Cascade Mountain views were stunning!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 11, 2023 at 7:15 am

      KRISTIE!!!!! Congrats on your 3:36! Totally amazing! And will keep that race in mind for future. I have almost no ability to train on downhills here which is why I’m aiming for flat, but would consider!

  • Reply Jenna September 11, 2023 at 10:45 am

    My recommendations for having a shot at a BQ on race day are as follows: (1) Nutrition early. I like a gel at 3.5 / 4 miles and then every 4-5 thereafter; (2) Salt. I am a heavy sweat-er and I really like to lick some salt off my fingers later in the race; and (3) Go slower in the first half. I have NEVER, EVER been able to take my own advice on this and am always feeling fantastic in miles 7-13 and always run those too fast in an effort to bank time or in a misguided mid-race idea that I’m going to absolutely crush my goal time. The wheels always start to fall off after the half (because I’ve gone way too fast for my training in the first half). So, as best you can, stick to actual MP (or even slightly slower) in the first half. My husband always tells me — “Anyone who has properly trained for a marathon feels amazing at Mile 7 . . . of course you feel amazing . . . DON’T GO FASTER.” And I never listen and I crash and burn — sometimes harder than other times, but always enough to slow down considerable in the last 1/3 of the race. I do it in 5Ks, too. I can’t tell you how many races have had my fastest mile be the first one and the last one be 30-45 seconds slower than my first.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 11, 2023 at 11:21 am

      Love these. My coach wants me doing gel even more frequently. In 2009 I think I took 2-3 gels the entire race – ugh!!!

  • Reply Jenny September 11, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Wait. Your husband runs in the late morning? Is this outside, or on a treadmill?
    I like your goals here. Yes, if marathon day is cool, those paces might feel easy and you should definitely go for it- why not? Your training seems to be going really well, and if you can feel that good on an 18 mile run in the heat (it’s still hot!) then I think you’re in great shape.
    Btw I LOVE my hydration vest! It holds one water bottle in the back, and what I do is- fill the water bottle up about 3/4 full the night before and freeze it. Then I top it off in the morning. That way I have cold water for at least part of the run (it still gets warm eventually) and you don’t have the annoyance of ice water sloshing around.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 11, 2023 at 11:22 am

      I neeeeeed to try this ice trick! If you have time, can you link to the vest you have?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 11, 2023 at 11:59 am

      Late morning or evening. He apparently hates getting up early more than he hates heat! Sometimes he goes right after me so like 7:30 am. Other times he will head out at 10 on a long run. Not sure how he does it and he runs fast too!

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