Are you hoping to qualify for Boston this year? For many runners, Boston represents the pinnacle bucket list run. The mere act of earning a qualifying time is something to be admired and earns bragging rights. Not sure you could muster a QT (qualifying time) ? Maybe its time to set some tiered goals that will ultimately lead to you earning that Boston QT. 

I don't believe in resolutions, I like to do goals. I have found the best way to achieve the goals I have for myself is to set stepping stone goals that are achievable, realistic, and keep me motivated all year. For example, you might decide to run a 5k every month of the year until June, then you want to run a 10k each month until you wrap up your year with a half marathon. 

Maybe your Boston isn't really Boston. Maybe your pinnacle run this year is a half marathon. It might be a 10k in under an hour. The mountain you climb is yours and yours alone. Whatever it is, attack your goal in manageable steps.

Set smaller goals that help you achieve the big goal.

Set your goal time

If Boston is your goal, then you have to see what you need to do to qualify. So go straight to the source. Boston qualifying time

Clean up your diet

If you have been using marathon training as an excuse to eat more, stop. Many runners training for marathons are surprised to discover they didn't lose any weight while training for a marathon. Despite the thought that burning the calories on those long runs, what you put in your body afterwards is very important. Food is fuel people. Recovery food is super fuel. 

Cut processed foods from your diet. Eat orange, yellow, red and green vegetables. Eat food from cold water. Eat grass fed beef. Enjoys eggs, nuts, and dairy. Enjoy several fruit servings a day. 

Cross train

Cross training is important for your recovery process. Taking a break from running allows for muscle recovery, which is vital for training for an event like a marathon. The mileage can really take its toll on your body, and your chances for injury increase. Training your muscles with a different demand will build them up in different places, providing balance. 

Find a training plan and stick with it

Find a training plan that has a variety of types of runs to not only strengthen your ability to run over a long stretch, but also helps improve your ability to run those miles at a faster pace. Give yourself plenty of time to train. If you are starting from couch mode, you will need to build up a base of miles for weeks before you begin any training plan. If you have a respectable mileage base, then you can set your training out to begin 12-16 weeks out. Don't allow yourself to skip training runs. Believe me, they do stack up against you. Without the mileage on the muscles, they will quit on you race day. 

Strengthen your core

A strong core helps hold your form together. Using weights to help create long, lean muscles versus large bulky muscles is key. Include stretching and foam rollers to keep yourself injury free. 

Choose the right race

With the increased popularity of running, marathons have popped up all over the world. There are many races that are Boston qualifiers. Races can be identified with many adjectives,downhill, flat, and fast. Qualifying races are often themed, scenic, or for a great charity. Take your time, and search out a race that will be worth your time and will make the event itself enjoyable. 

Here is a very comprehensive calendar of races that are Boston qualifiers

Best of luck!