The BQ(Q) – Candice S

Candice is another regular at the great running website runningahead. She is also really, really fast. Its nice to see that even the fast people had to start somewhere. Thanks for taking part, Candice!

Name: Candice Schneider Breaknthree

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 23

Height: 5’6

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 117 lbs

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

I wasn’t always the marathoner I am today (3:09:18 PR as of fall 2010). I ran my first BQ at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN in 2008 in 3:39:17, just barely making the cutoff. I was living in Nashville at the time, as I am originally from TN. It was the one year anniversary of my first marathon (same one, too), and a completely unplanned race for me. When I ran my first marathon I attempted a BQ, and it took until my 4th try to actually get it right. I had the speed, but I didn’t yet have the endurance to go along with it. My goal spring race in 2008 had actually been the Go! St. Louis marathon 2 weeks before Country Music. I was unfortunately plagued with some terrible stomach distress during the Go! St. Louis marathon after running 18 miles on pace. I was so frustrated that I jumped into Country Music 2 weeks later and finally BQ’d. 3 years later, I am going back to Go! St. Louis (2 1/2 weeks from now) to run it again. This time I am going as a woman who is faster than the men’s open BQ standard, instead of someone who is trying (what she thought) was her best to just get the open women’s BQ. I have also been accepted to run as an “elite,” as their standards are women who are sub 3:10 get an elite start. It sort of feels like… fate, I guess. I never dreamed I’d be half as fast as I am today. I never dreamed i’d be dreaming of being even faster than this…

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

I had been running consistently since the fall of 2006. Before that I would run 2 or 3 miles sporadically. I have always been active and running was something I was always just able to go out and do if I felt like it. But I never saw a need to go more than a couple of miles :)   I think this comes from a background of soccer and other sports. It took until 2006 for it to occur to me that running could be a competitive outlet, and that was when I signed up for my first race. As mentioned I had previously played soccer, and needed something since that was over to stay in shape. Up until I signed up for my first race… running was just something I supplemented workouts at the gym with.

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

~2600 lifetime miles (I now typically run more than that per year)

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


Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

I had only ran 2 races that calendar year before the BQ. An 11.2 mi race, and the Go! St. Louis Marathon 2 weeks before.

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 loosely followed the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning 55/18 program. I honestly didn’t know a whole lot about what I was doing. I now realize that, personally, to develop speed I have to run daily, run a lot, and do quality speed workouts regularly (intervals, & tempos). The combination of these things is what helped me to shave off 30 more minutes from my BQ time.

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

I did run with a group every Saturday. We ran our long runs together, we also did track workouts on Tuesday evenings. I miss them dearly (I moved to Minnesota). The guy who started the group was a 2:30 marathoner back in his prime. I considered him a coach of sorts, he was always helpful and willing to give advice. Very supportive. I probably wouldn’t have done half as well in those first few marathons without his help. He wasn’t necessarily a believer in high mileage though. My husband Ben S, a 2:28 marathoner, coaches me now. A FIRM believer in high mileage, and a slave driver ;) Without Ben, I might still be 30 minutes slower.

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

It did actually. In the spring leading up to my BQ I started training in hopes to compete in a season of triathlon over the summer. I was swimming and biking a lot. I only did triathlon that one season though (summer ’08). I am a much better runner… I did pretty well but it didn’t really end up being my thing. I didn’t love it enough. I do still think often about doing an Ironman one day though. Maybe when I’m older and can’t put in as many miles running. First and foremost I want to be the best marathoner I can be.

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

The best advice I can give is to not be lazy with your training. If you think you’re giving it all you can give… you’re probably wrong. You can give it more. Just like anything else in life. Before I BQ’d I was putting in anywhere from 35-55 miles per week, and I felt like that was a lot, and that I was working as hard as I possibly could. Now, during training I regularly put in 70-80, sometimes 90 miles per week, and I know I can (and have to) do better than that if I want to get to that next level. My point is, if what you are doing isn’t working for you, do more. Run more. Do more speed workouts. Be consistent. Give it time. And don’t give up! The runner you are meant to be will show itself to you when you have exhausted every possible strategy. You will get that BQ (or PR, or whatever) if you MAKE yourself get that BQ. If you want it bad enough. But you have to want it bad enough…

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