Boston Qualifiers, Winter Training Tips and Marathon Photos

Your alarm is unrelenting as you scramble to find you phone in the dark. You pull back the covers and put your feet on the floor you feel a chill in the air. You glance once more at your phone. 5:45. It’s just as dark out as when you closed your eyes, but it’s 18 weeks until Boston. Pour that coffee. It’s running time.

Boston is only a few months away, but as we inch closer to the end of the calendar year, many will begin to kick their training into high gear. A fall of loose unstructured training will become a strict regimen of hour long runs, and twenty milers on the weekends. While many await Patriots Day as an opportunity to run on a historic course and an opportunity to run on a fast net-downhill course, it’s still a long way until April 20th.   

By the stats, some of the most popular places to hit a qualifier for the famed marathon are Chicago and New York–both of which Flashframe photographers were out capturing race memories. However, it’s not too surprising as they are also two of the largest races in the world. Other key qualifying courses include London and Berlin, but if you’re looking to keep it local in qualifying for 2018, make sure to just check out United States Track and Field, which keeps track of all approved courses to that you can run a qualifier on. Nothing worse than finding out your local course isn’t ratified for BQs after you hit the mark.  

Since the inception of the race in the early 1960’s, Boston has strived to maintain a high quality field. The qualifier came about in trying to limit the field size to only one thousand runners, regardless of age or gender. As the popularity of running has grown, so has the number of runners applying to run, and thus the loosening of standards across age and gender.  However, that doesn’t mean these folks are slow! Keep in mind that the fastest time by an American was set here in a blistering 2:04:58, but was not eligible for the American record due to the overall net downhill. This is a great opportunity for you to pour it on this winter and set the personal best in Spring in Boston, Mass.

photo by Kyle Merber

With those personal bests on the horizon we crawl out of a warm bed and venture out before sunrise. In the winter, the bulk of our pre-run routine can be thrown out the window for the sake of time. Our bodies, however, are looking for a little extra love during the cold months so it’s important to take extra care starting before you go to sleep. Here are some tips to help prepare you for what lies ahead.

Hydrate yesterday. Though we don’t always notice, we are still at risk for dehydration during our winter training. Without a ton of time before your morning run to get fluids in, make sure you are getting started before you get to bed. If you’re a morning runner and wake up dehydrated—it’s too late! If you run after work, be sure to spread your hydration out through the day. And yes, that means have some water with those 3 cups of coffee.

Take your time warming up. We’ve all rushed out the door and into a run after hitting snooze two too many times. It’s much easier to neglect our warmup routines when the blistering cold run beckons, but the colder it is the more susceptible we are to soft tissue injuries. Try hitting your warmup drills before you step outside. That way when the cold air hits you in the face, you are already moving!

Make friends with a hill or two. Hills provide a lot more than just adding intensity to our runs. Whether it’s working on your stride, building strength, or trying to prepare yourself for Heartbreak Hill, there are plenty of reasons to find a good hill along your training route. Instead of finishing a run with strides on a flat surface or on the track for your speed work, find a hill and do some strides to work on keeping your form when you are already tired. Work some hills into a long run from time to time so when you hit Heartbreak Hill after 20 miles of running, you can press on with a smile on your face.

Don’t hang around outside after your run. Running is a social event for many of us, especially our longest runs on the weekend. Make sure you aren’t hanging around in the cold following a run that got you sweating. Slow the drop in your body temperature down by getting inside, drying off and having a warm beverage! Change clothes, grab tea or coffee and maybe even curl up for that post-long run snooze.

As marathon season is in hiatus in FlashFrame’s hometown of Chicago, we’ve been taking advantage of the lull in our local race calendar to expand to warmer regions and introduce more photographers and races to a better way to share photos. There are thousands of races this winter in places like Texas, California, and Florida where the racing season is gearing up! If you’re interested in using FlashFrame at your race this winter don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Races on the track, indoor and outdoor, are great opportunities to try out our platform and see how it works with your local runners!

It’s been interesting to see how many different people involved in the racing world are touched by race photos. Of course there’s the runner happy to have a memory from a race well run. There are also photographers, many paid, many more volunteer who take so much pride and joy in being able to capture race day smiles. Race directors, timers, spectators (and even us photo storage website guys) all see the fruits of this labor down the line, and it’s nice to know that we’re a part of that memory. So whether you’re resting up for the spring season or training hard for Boston, make sure you get out and start working on those action shots for Marathon Monday! Happy running!