The BQ(Q) – Luke R

I love reading everyone’s BQ story, but I especially love sharing the stories from my teammates on Prospect Park Track Club. Congratulations on a great race, Luke!

Name: Luke R

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 38

Height: 6 ft 1

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

I was fortunate to have qualified for Boston on my first marathon attempt, which was at Steamtown last month (October 2014).  I finished in 3:13:57 which meets the 2016 qualifying standard for the 40-45 age group (I turn 40 in November 2015).

The first 18 miles were a joy, the next 4 an increasing slog and the last 4 a sheer test of will.  Thanks to the huge downhills in the first 8 miles by mile 22 my quads were screaming at me to stop.  Thankfully nothing cramped up so with an eye on my pace band and some positive self-talk I managed to convince my legs to give me a few more miles.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school? 

I started running in late 2011 (3 years ago).

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

Approximately 1400 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

For the 12 months leading up to the race I ran approximately 1000 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

For the 12 months leading up to the race I ran 12 races

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I followed a customized 18 week Run SMART program designed by Jack Daniels.  http://runsmartproject.com/coaching/training-plans/

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

I did most of my speed work and some of my long runs with a running club, Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC).  The Run SMART program functioned somewhat as a coach, since it automatically updated training paces based on my race results.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

On the advice of a physical therapist I integrated some lunges into my training program for injury prevention. Nothing other cross training.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

The Run SMART program included one speed work session per week.  This initially consisted of shorter track repeats, building up to longer efforts at 5k pace.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Needless to say, you need to do the work.  But you also need to get to the starting line healthy. For me this meant choosing a plan with conservative weekly mileage (in my case this was a maximum of 45 miles) and ensuring that my easy runs were truly easy (i.e. less than 75% max HR).

Other than that, I lost some weight which I think helped and I also got a running gait analysis which provided some insight into bio mechanical issues that I could work on to improve efficiency and reduce risk of injury.

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The BQ(Q) – Jane

Name: Jane

Sex: Female

Age: 45

Height: 5.4

Weight: 116.8

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

Melbourne Marathon, Australia 3:53:31 Debut marathon after running 4 half marathons over 18 months. I would have been happy with sub 4:30, I ran without pacing (no watch), no music and ran on my own, just listening to my footfall and breathing.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

2 years

I was a ballerina, and then played some netball. At the age of 45 I decided to try jogging

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 

4000km (about 40-50km per week)

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

2000km

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one?

I followed My Asics online plan. I ran about 4 times per week, Monday night tempo, Wednesday speed at the track, Thursday easy and Saturday morning long run.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?  

I do run with a recreational running group for company.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? 

I do a strength routine at home, mostly bodyweight exercises and some cycling.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

I only started speed work about a year ago; focus more on endurance and long runs.

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The BQ(Q) – Bob E

Name: Bobby E IG: bobby_elsinger

Gender: Male

Age: 40

Height: 5’6

Weight: 148

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

I qualified at the Chicago Marathon on my first try.   My finishing time was 3:01:20.   Heading into the race I was very confident in attaining a BQ.  My actual goal was 2:55 and based on a 1:23 half marathon in Ventura.  The final two weeks I started to get greedy and wanted to run sub 2:52.  My first half was 1:25 and I felt pretty confident in 2:52 but by mile 18 I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.   By mile 22 I was laboring pretty hard and started experiencing cramps and had to walk a few times.  I didn’t push the last two miles because a cramp attack might not me out of a BQ time.  I finished with a sense of relief but also disappointed that my greed for 2:52cost me a chance to run sub 3:00.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

I had run sporadically after graduating from college but it didn’t last more than a few months.  In the summer of 2012 I started to run more consistently because I joined a few running clubs.  I didn’t start running more than twice a week until the fall of 2013.  Did you run in college or high school? I ran four years of high school (100-1600m) and college track (800m).  I did three years of college cross country (8K) because I studied in Hong Kong for one semester.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?  

I have no idea but my mileage the last two years since I’ve started running had been under 20 miles per week.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

Around 900 but I lost about three months due to running related injuries.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?  

November Turkey Trot: 5K, February: 5K, April 5K,  September: 1/2 Marathon, October: 10K

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one?

I didn’t sign up for the Chicago Marathon until April and then training was interrupted by plantar fasciitis.  I lifted and did elliptical or bike for a few weeks.  I then jumped into the Hanson’s Marathon Plan which stressed pace and quality but my mileage was low because of PF.  I gradually built up my mileage.  Started out high teens and added about three miles per week on the front end in four to five miles per week near the end.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?  

Living in LA offers a variety of running groups, clubs, or crews so I was able to jump in with other runners almost any day except for Friday and Sunday. Additionally I trained with a group of from my Tuesday night running group who were also focusing on Boston.  Two of them were also hoping to qualify for Boston.  We piggy backed on the workouts of one of our runners who had hired a coach.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?  

Yes, I usually lift weights twice a week.  The full body workout incorporates front squats and dead lifts.  As training became more intense I lifted only once a week.  Yoga was inconsistent though out the training cycle but I was able to do it at 1-2 times a month.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes, my training group did speed work twice a week, mostly based on 10K and half marathon pace.  In addition I did strides and form drills approximately once a week.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?  

  • Workout with others.  They will keep you on track, motivated, and push you to be better.
  • Running fast is more than just miles.  Strength, flexibility, drills, and speed work are just as important as miles.  I see so many runners who leave loads of time out on the course because of issues with form, strength, and flexibility.  Becoming stronger, more flexible, and quicker will chop significant chunks of your marathon time without logging more miles.
  • Pace work and interval work is very important.  I know so many runners who neglect this and think they can run 20-30 seconds faster per mile on race day without doing the requisite pace and speed work.
  • Follow a program and stick to it.  Following something haphazardly will usually end up with a similar outcome.
  • Carefully pick a program or coach based on what can work for you. Pick the brains of people who are significantly faster and more experienced than you for leads.
  • Listen to your body.  Most running injuries are from overuse and can be kept in check with sensible time off.  You won’t lose much fitness taking three days to even a week off but you will lose fitness if you have to take a month or more off because your injury got worse.
  • Improve your form.  So many people lose massive amounts of time due to poor form/mechanics and set themselves up for injuries because of sloppy form.  Get stronger and more flexible through hips and glutes.
Bob getting his BQ at Chicago!

Bob getting his BQ at Chicago!

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Friday Inspiration — Rob Krar on Depression

The videos I post on Fridays are often inspiring because of the physical talent and hard work they display. This video of Western States champion Rob Krar discussing his battles with depression is inspiring on a whole other level. Sure it features Krar flying past tourists as he climbs in and out of the Grand Canyon. But more importantly it focuses on his struggles with depression with some frank talk about how his depression affects his loved ones and his running. Well worth a watch.

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The BQ(Q) – Lulu Y

Name: Lulu Y (thelittleyarisdiary.wordpress.com)

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 40

Height: 5’3

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 125

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
I qualified at California International Marathon.  This was my 3rd attempt at a BQ.  My finishing time was a 3:40:11 (needed 3:45).  CIM is billed as ‘the fastest race in the West’ and it may very well be.  The course is a gradual drop over the 26.2 miles with rolling hills, which help dampen the strain on the quads.  It was cold throughout (27-35F) which worked great for me.  I ran with the 3:45 pacer the whole time, but not realizing that he was running faster than 3:45.  He ended up getting us a great cushion.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I had been running off and on for 10 years, but only consistently running for the 5 years prior to the CIM race.  I had to take 6 months off in 2010 to nurse an achilles tendinitis.
I never really seriously ran in college or HS.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Approximately 6000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
About 1000+.  I’m not a high mileage runner because of my propensity to injuries.  I run no more than 40 miles a week during peak training.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
One – My body will only allow for one race a year.

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?
I’ve consistently used the Greg McMillan program that you can download from the NYTimes Run Well section.  His program incorporates quite a bit of speed work and track work, and the long runs top out at 18.  When I first used it in 2009 I was able to input my time for a shorter distance (5-10K) and it would generate a semi-tailored program for me with a projected marathon finishing time.  I don’t know if that is still available for free, but he does have a website which can do that but at a cost.

For what it’s worth – his program had predicted that I would finish in 3:40:36

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
No, but Greg McMillan is technically a coach.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
Didn’t do any cross training only because no other forms of exercise appeal to me that much.  However, I suspect if I did, I could run faster.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
I believe speed work is HUGE.  You really do run faster and are able to tolerate the lactic acid buildup that you get later on in the race.  Plus, it breaks up the monotony and makes training much more interesting.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Consistent training is a part of it, but being smart about the race is also key.  Find races that play to your strengths.  Some like flat races, others like gradual descents (would advise against huge elevation drops because it beats up your quads before you get to the finish).  Avoid late spring/summer races!  Also be smart about racing – try to run even or negative splits.  A lot of people bolt out the gate due to adrenaline rush but end up paying for it towards the end.  You need a lot of patience to hold yourself back in the beginning, but you’ll be rewarded at the end by not hitting ‘the wall’ and finishing strong.  Someone once said, “run the first half of the race with your brain, and the second half with your heart.”
Also listen to your body.  There is no one program that will work for all.  We’re all different.  Some people can do high mileage training.  Others can get away with lower mileage but with tons of speed work.  Lastly, never push through injuries because that will only sideline you.

Good luck with your pursuit.  Consistency and patience will pay off :)

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Training Totals for the Week Ending 9/28/2014

Run Miles for the week: 13.1 in 2:06:12
Run Miles for the year: 843.3
Projected total miles for the year: 1131.
Run Streak: 3 (13.1 miles)(4.4 / day)
Number of runs that were one stupid mile: 0
Number of days until I beat my old run streak: 111
Prospect Park loops for the week: 2
Prospect Park loops for the year: 77
Body Weight Work: 00:00:00
Average weight: 178
Total Exercise Time: ~2:00:00
Hebrew: 00:15:00
Books Finished 0
Total Books Read for the year 29

Notes: I swear to god, one of these days I’m going to string together a decent amount of training.

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The BQ(Q) – Victor

Here’s a great response from Victor. Victor ran sub-3 in his first marathon, but, as a member of Czechoslovakia’s national team, he was no beginner. Thanks for sharing your story, Victor. I wish I could have met Emil Zatopek!

Name: Victor (aka Goorun on Running Ahead)

Sex Male 

Age (at the time of first BQ) 19

Height 5’10 3/4″

Weight (at the time of first BQ) 135 lbs.

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

I was born and raised in Europe (Czechoslovakia, in the part which is Czech Republic now). It was a small, local marathon with only about 200 runners in it.

2:59:xx  (don’t remember seconds, but it was barely under 3 hours).

I started as a cross-country skier when I was 5 year old, switched to track running when 14 and by the time I ran that marathon, I was good, cocky, track runner who thought that marathons are stupidly slow. I’ve never run a race longer than 10k at that point. I ran with the leaders, half split was 1:12:xx. The second half was a humiliating hard lesson. When I finally finished, I said I’ll never run a marathon again.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

Pretty much since I was 5, seriously training from 14.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

Hard to say. Probably around 10,000 miles.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

As a track runner, I ran about 2,000 miles per year in my late teens. I ran over 7,000 miles per year in my peak marathon running years.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

40-50 races, mostly on a track.

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I made the National Junior track and field team in my teens and had some world class coaches. Coach Odlozil (silver in 1500m in Tokyo Olympics) who was a good friend with Peter Snell and coach Lydiard was one of them, so Lydiard’s training philosophy was the base for my training. I also met Emil Zatopek and got chance to talk to him one on one. Always admired his training work ethic.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

Yes, see the above.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Not really. We did some gym workouts and running specific strength training. Also running form exercises, but mostly just running. We were actually forbidden from riding bikes, because that developed muscles we didn’t need. :)

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how? 

Yes. Since I came from track running, intervals, fartleks, hills etc. were bread and butter of my training days.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? 

I never thought that I had a lot of talent, but I become fairly good runner (ran on the National Team) by working hard and doing it for years. Running is not complicated sport. Keep doing it and one day you could be there. BQ times are IMO easier to achieve in older AGs , so if you can’t get it now, just wait for that next AG. ;)

 

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