Running a 3:15 Marathon with MTA Coaching

We appreciate our client Jessie Hogue-Morgenstern for writing this blogpost about what it was like to work with an MTA Coach to both BQ and run a blazing fast 3:15 marathon! She writes,

“I started working with Coach Joel right at the start of the pandemic with the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (a tale as old as time).

In previous attempts I would get close but then end up injured, so I wanted to try out a coach to help me figure out a solution. On a whim I reached out to MTA’s coaching program because my dad was a big fan of the podcast (and I am now too).

Stacking up Victories

Because of the pandemic, my goal marathon didn’t happen for another year and a half, but during this time I gained insight to how beneficial working with Joel would be. We focused on speed and consistency until races started opening up, even did a few solo time trials. I found myself nabbing PRs in all sorts of distances.

When it came time for the Philadelphia Marathon in 2021, Joel had taken my history and my concerns, combined it with his expertise, and – even though I didn’t run a single 20 mile run (a staple of my previous training plans) – I got a 20 minute PR and qualified for the Boston Marathon with a 6+ minute buffer. Not only that, it was the first marathon I ran without stopping and I ran a negative split.

Fast forward 2 years and I have the 2023 Chicago Marathon on my schedule and a PR on my mind. I had the idea of running 3:18 after Joel said that was a time I could do after running Philly. In one of our check-ins leading up to the race he mentioned scary numbers like 3:11 and 3:12, but we put together a plan that felt manageable to me, one that would get me to my goal.

Holding the Pace

The race was a dream. The weather was perfect, the crowds were sensational, and my fitness was on full display. Even with the unreliable GPS of Chicago, I held steady and reached the half marathon point right on track and began to progressively speed up from there.

I felt unstoppable.

With one mile left to go in the race I finally looked at my watch and tried to do some running math. I realized if I just held on to my current pace I would finish in 3:15, which was beyond my wildest dreams. But the best part is that I had no doubt I could hold that pace, and it ended up being my fastest mile of the whole race.

One thing about working with Joel, and probably other coaches – it’s amazing what he knows. Some of the times he said I could run seemed crazy, and then I would go out and run them.

His confidence in me isn’t optimism, it is based on all the work he has seen do day after day, month after month. So even when a race or a goal seems daunting, knowing that gives me the confidence to try my hardest, and as a result I am a better runner than I could have imagined being.

Thank you Marathon Training Academy for setting me up with an amazing coach!” -Jessie

One Response to Running a 3:15 Marathon with MTA Coaching

  1. Bob Morgenstern December 18, 2023 at 11:02 am #

    Terrific post. Yay to Jessie.

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