Road to Boston – with Joe Spraggins

On my Road to Boston its going to be important to get my training right, and I’m going to need all the help I can get. A Boston Qualification is an ultimate goal many of us aim for, so what does it take to run that fast? I’ve asked a number of runners who have broken sub 3 for some tips and advice on how to achieve this goal.

Joe Spraggins

First up I’ve got some advice from Joe Spraggins (@flatcapspraggs). Joe told me that he started out as a newbie runner, without a scooby about ‘pacing’ or ‘negative splits’. His first marathon was back in 2008 in Edinburgh, where he ran 4 hours 30, vowing to never run again (and he didn’t, for at least 4 years). After university Joe decided to get back on the wagon, and slowly built up his running, before deciding to dip his toe in triathlon, which is “still the dark world I now find myself in”. 

1) Tell me about the first time you broke sub 3 

Barcelona 2016 – 2:51. I’d been trying to break 3 for a couple of years, but kept coming up short. I really put in a big effort over the winter, upping the mileage and paying attention to the little things. When race day came, I could scarcely believe how good I felt – everything just came together. It’s just a case of having a goal and keep believing. 

I remember the moment Joe broke sub 3 at Barcelona, not only did he break it, he absolutely destroyed it coming 9 minutes under. Check out Joe’s blog about Barcelona 2016 HERE.

Joe knows how to refuel

2) what does it take to be a sub 3 runner 

Hard work. Having a good plan. Dedicating yourself to something that isn’t going to be easy. It won’t always be sunshine and roses, but the sacrifices will be worth it. Never put a limitation on what you think you can achieve – your body is capable of so much more.

3) what tips would you give for people trying to aim for a Boston Qualification 

Pick a fast race to give yourself every chance. Ideally have a group of runners aiming for a similar time. Have good reasons for why you want to qualify, so you’re able to visualise these when times get hard. Pay attention to all the little details – stretching, nutrition, rest and recovery.

Joe’s transition to triathlon has been inspiring

4) what is your PB, and how did your training change to reach this goal?

2:39, in Valencia 2017. I actually ran this off the back of high-volume Ironman triathlon training. For me high volume works, but it’s not the same for everyone. You’ve got to find what works for you. I’ve always said – if you’re going to do something, do it properly, don’t half-arse it.

5) if you could give me one tip what would it be 

Wear a flat cap. It makes you run faster.

I will certainly be following Joe’s advice, well accept for the flat cap, not sure that will help, and certainly don’t think I could pull it off. But Joe’s not only far exceeded what is needed for Boston, his inspiring journey into triathlon has seen him achieve the Boston of the triathlon world… Kona… now after I get to Boston, guess what my next target will be!!!!


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