Run Walk Your Way to a Boston Qualifying Marathon with Coach Stephanie

Stephanie Kay Atwood – Qualify for Boston Using Run Walk

In this week’s episode our host, Stephanie Kay Atwood, runs solo from across the border in Mexico with a tried and true training strategy for Boston Qualifying (BQ’ing): Run-Walk.

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

Run Walk your way to a boston Marathon Qualifier

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 starting in 1976.

In this episode Stephanie shares how run-walking with a time-goal in mind can help you BQ, how this training minimizes injury risk, explains what ‘periodization’ is and why it’s helpful and how she uses a pace chart to create a training plan for athletes to achieve a Boston qualifying time. Stephanie has generously offered a personalized pace chart to us and she tells us more about that easy process.

This podcast may just change the way you approach your marathon training.


4:56 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite race distance or type of race?

5:59 Overview of run-walking to BQ strategy

7:24 Strategic age-based qualifying

8:19 Debunking the “If only I was in ‘X’ age group, my time would have qualified me…” myth

9:40 Stephanie’s personal experience in 2011 using  Run-Walk to BQ

Basics of Run Walk BQ’ing

13:04 Periodization

14:24 Pace Essential for Calculated Race Potential

20:08 Goal pace setting

20:49 Training with only 3 runs per week

21:23 The importance of REST

21:59 Cross Training

22:46 Nutrition

23:27 Over-distance training

In-Depth Run-Walk BQ’ing

25:21 Examples of training weeks including workouts and long runs with calculated paces

Actually Running Your Race

33:21 Pre-Race Tapering

34:44 When to walk during the race

35:40 Race Tips and Reminders

36:25 How to run a race

39:11 How to get your free pace chart from Stephanie

39:57 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite running book(s)?
  3. Words of Wisdom or Humor?

Quotes by Stephanie:

“I got to mile 20 and I had been running a steady pace, but nothing to call home about and I knew I could do the last 6 miles. I was feeling strong, I had good nutrition, I was hydrated, the temperature was working for me, my feet didn’t hurt and I picked up my pace on that last 6 miles and you know how good that feels.”

“I used this training method when I beat the (Boston) Marathon qualifying time by 27 minutes; I ran for 9 minutes and walked for 1 minute and did that for my whole training plan staying within the pace guidelines.”

“(In training) you’re running slower than your marathon pace, but you’re putting in the mileage. It’s very protective, it’s very guarded in the way that we do it, and when you follow through with this, your chances of succeeding are really, REALLY high.”

“I have seen over and over that the people who participate in the long, long (training) runs, the beyond ‘endurance’ runs for marathons, have the mental strength to keep going at mile 20. They know something about how they’re going to feel past that mile, they know about hydrating and nourishment over that 20 mile, and it has worked very well.”

“Finishing Boston is one thing, and that may be the experience that you’re happy with. But if you’re actually trying to QUALIFY by your performance time, then we need to evalutate your time on a 2-mile race, on a 10K race, and a half-marathon race, and then your marathon is much more realistic.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

2019 Boston Qualifying Standards

Marin Headlands Running Trails

Tennessee Valley Trailhead

Book: Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

Email Stephanie for a free pace chart:

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Thank you for listening to Run to the Top. See you next week!

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