The BQ(Q) – Greg R

Greg R is another RA regular who was kind enough to fill out the form, thanks Greg!
Name: Greg R
Sex: male
Age (at the time of first BQ): 31
Height: 5′ 8″
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 148 lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Tell us a little about the race.
12/6/2009 at Las Vegas.  The race was cold!  It was about 31F at race start.  The course is pretty flat but from about mile 7 until mile 20 there is a gradual incline that really, really, gets difficult.  It’s a very gentle incline but most people agree that it is surprisingly difficult.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I think I’d been running for about 4 years before my first BQ.  I did not run in high school nor college.  I started running when I was either 26 or 27.  I’ve always been into exercise but it was strictly weight lifting — no cardio.  I started weight lifting when I was about 13 and was religious about it.  Only in recent years have I considered myself a runner and don’t care about weight lifting (other than for appearance reasons).

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
According to my (relatively) accurate training log it was just shy of 3500 miles.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
There were 10.
(1) 1 mile
(1) 5k
(1) 3.5 mile
(1) 8k
(2) 15k
(3) half marathon
(1) marathon

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 mostly followed the Pfitzinger 18/70 plan (18 weeks peaking at 70 miles per week).  I had some trouble with iron/ferritin towards the middle of the program and ended up backing off of the plan a bit.  In addition I modified the plan from the start.  I felt that my weakness was in distances over 20 miles so I wanted to get in a lot of 20 mile runs.  If Pfitz called for a 5 mile recovery run on Saturday and a 15 mile run on Sunday I would take Saturday as rest and run 20 on Sunday.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
At that time I was not running with a club nor was I coached.  I run with a coached club now.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
Not significantly.  At least I don’t think so.  I continued to do 1 or 2 strength training workouts each week but I really was focused on running.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes hard!  That’s all there is that you need to know!

My first marathon, in 2007, was a 4:18.  My second was a 3:51.  My third was 3:29.  My fourth was my BQ with 3:09.  Each race was about 1 year apart.  Each time my mileage increased.

When I started running the thought of a BQ was a ridiculous notion to me.  But something magic happened in early 2009.  I broke 1:30 in a spring half marathon and my easy runs started ending up in the 7:30 range.  That made me think that it was possible if I worked hard.  I worked hard and I did it!

I firmly believe that *almost* anyone can BQ but it can take years of work.

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