How I Went from 10-Minute Miles to the Boston Marathon

How I Went from 10-Minute Miles to the Boston Marathon

Written by: Tara Garrison, NASM, ICANS, CFSC and Superfeet Wellness Panel Member. Tara is a health optimization coach who is passionate about human potential. Tara specializes in the ketogenic diet and teaches people to "Do Keto. Not Forever" for metabolic flexibility and optimal human nutrition. Follow Tara on Instagram for more tips about how to live your best life.

“How did you get so much faster?” is a question I’m asked often on social media.

Last Saturday I ran 6 miles at a 6:23 pace in preparation for a 10k race this weekend.

It still boggles my mind I can run that fast, when for most of my adult life, I was running 9-10 minute miles.

So how did I do it?

I’ll break it down for you!

Here is exactly how I did it:

  1. I stopped running so much. I backed way off the weekly mileage, only running 4 days a week, even when marathon training. I ran 3-4 miles MWF, incorporating speed drill and hill sprints, and did my usual long runs on the weekends.
  2. I started lifting weights more. I took the extra time with the reduction in mileage to build strength through lifting. I also incorporated lots of speed & agility drills and plyometrics to increase my power output.

    Weightlifing can help boost run performance
  3. I adopted a low-carb, whole food diet. I stopped making excuses and did the hard work of REALLY changing my nutrition. Combined with lifting and running, I lost 40 pounds. That will help your running speed just a little bit.

    Nutrition can help boost run performance
  4. I continuously pushed the edge on my speed. I took my Wednesday runs to push my pace slightly, and sustain a speed just past comfortable. Finding my “new normal” gradually led to me being able to sustain that speed longer and longer during my long runs.

That is it! No magic sauce. Running less, lifting more, eating really clean, and pushing past my limits.

Qualifying for the Boston and New York Marathons were total dreams come true.

When I first started lifting, I hated it. I just wanted to run. I was so used to that heart-pumping, super sweaty workout mentality, and thought, “If I don’t burn xx calories, I didn’t do much.”

Getting out of that mindset and radically changing my approach was what was needed.

Sometimes doing the things we don’t want to do is the exact thing that will get us to where we want to go.

September 14, 2020
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