Qualify for Boston A Closer Look With Coach Stephanie

Stephanie Kay Atwood – A Closer Look at How to Qualify for Boston

In this week’s episode our host, Stephanie Kay Atwood, expands on her marathon training method and goes even deeper into what the plan looks like and how it has helped athletes qualify for Boston. This week focuses on 3 quality runs per week and introduces early training nutrition as an additional and essential part of effective training.

BQ Part 2

Three quality runs per week

The response to last week’s episode was so great, she took the opportunity to elaborate further on what the 3 QUALITY running workouts per week are and the rationale behind them, other workouts and strength training to do on non-running days, and the importance of rest and nutrition, especially leading
taper. She is continuing to offer her pace chart for free to anyone who emails her; a link is included below.

We also learn a bit more about the area in Mexico where Stephanie is visiting for the next few months as well as what she has been up to recently.

Add in good nutrition from the beginning of your training

If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to last week’s episode, please do as you will get more value from this deeper look into the training with that context. In this episode, Stephanie grounds her training plan to reality by providing an example of a hypothetical runner who is using this training method to improve their marathon results and earn a prized Boston Qualification.

By using run-walk, over-distance training and only 3 days of running / week, Stephanie and other athletes she has coached have successfully BQ’d using this training method.

Stephanie has been running for about 50 years and coaching for over 30. She has national certifications as a nutritionist, personal trainer, and distance run coaching with Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and US Track & Field (USATF) Levels 1 and 2. And she has qualified for Boston multiple times since 1976.

These two podcast episodes may just change the way you approach your marathon training.


7:15 Meet our hypothetical athlete and another great qualification strategy

Starting with the pace chart

8:42 Establishing our athlete’s baseline

10:50 Accurate marathon pace extrapolation

11:43 Using shorter distance races to assess BQ readiness

12:38 How close is close enough to start focusing on BQ’ing

13:29 Keys to success even if it takes some time

14:37 The importance of Workout 1: Speed Training

15:24 The importance of Workout 2: Tempo Run

16:14 The importance of Workout 3: Planned Marathon Pace (PMP)

Week 1 Training Plan Details

17:30 Day 1: Rest

17:53 Day 2: Strength and Core

18:46 Day 3: Track Workout – Absolute Speed, Max Effort

19:57 Day 4: Rest or Flexibility

20:22 Day 5: 4 mile Tempo Race Pace

21:06 Day 6: Rest or Strength / Core depending on resting heart rate

22:10 Day 7: Running Workout – 90 minutes at PMP

22:53 Rationale and ‘what if’ training adjustments

Week 10 Training Plan Details (Incorporating Over-Distance Training)

24:14 Why Over-Distance Training

24:50 Day 1: Rest

24:58 Day 2: Strength and Core

25:08 Day 3: Track Workout – Short Tempo Pace

25:50 Day 4: Rest or Flexibility

26:02 Day 5: 4 mile Tempo Race Pace

26:27 Day 6: Rest or Strength / Core depending on resting heart rate

26:43 Day 7: Running Workout – Endurance Run, 20 Miles at PMP + 30 seconds 2 miles at any pace (
including walking

29:18 Quick Recap

29:59 Periodization Review

31:28 Why rest is essential and resting heart rate as a training guide

31:58 The importance of cross training

33:22 Why Over-Distance and what to learn from trail-runners

Nutrition During Training

34:39 Rethinking Nutrition

36:51 Macro and Micro Nutrients

38:19 Balancing energy sources

39:30 Converting grams to calories; Protein vs. Carbs vs. Fats

41:09 Nutrition early on in training

41:40 Middle Training Nutrition

43:15 Caffeine

Final Thoughts

44:33 Race Day Bio-Strategy

45:46 Multiple goals per race

46:51 Listen to your body

Quotes by Stephanie:

“Real food vs. processed food is the way to go. The closer you can get to the source and the closer you can be to the natural food, the more likely you are to get the full nourishment and the full energy that you want out of it.”

“Cross training is an essential part of being a good runner and staying uninjured, so please don’t devalue the days when you’re not running and when you’re allowing your body to be strong in other ways.”

“We’re upping the distance, but dropping down the time. But we’re not just dropping down to any time; we’re working toward a more specific goal and we’ve got a more specific training plan to make that happen.”

“Because we’re doing three focused runs per week, (BQ’ing) is very possible for you to try to accomplish and, if not, then you have a really good base in order to keep working towards it as the years go by. This is not something that has to happen the first time.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

Want more awesome interviews and advice?
Subscribe to our iTunes channel

Mentioned in this podcast:

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

2019 Boston Qualifying Standards

Matt Fitzgerald

Email Stephanie for your free pace chart:


We really hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Run to the Top.

The best way you can show your support of the show is to share this podcast with your family and friends and share it on your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media channel you use.

If more people who know about the podcast and download the episodes, it means I can reach out to and get through to the top running influencers, to bring them on and share their advice, which hopefully makes the show even more enjoyable for you!

Thank you for listening to Run to the Top!

Have a running friend who would love this? Share it...

Connect with Jeff Gaudette on Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adding new comments is only available for RunnersConnect Insider members.

Already a member? Login here Want to become an Insider for free?.Register here