Jeff’s blog the Logic of Long Distance is one of the smartest running blogs out there. Matter of fact, it is probably the smartest. You should be reading it. He is also an extremely fast marathoner who, like many of the people who have responded to this questionnaire, is very active on Running Ahead. Thanks for taking the time to answer this Jeff, very thoughtful response to the last question.
Name: Jeff E (thelogicoflongdistance.blogspot.com)
Age (at the time of first BQ): I didn’t run a marathon until age of 29, and I BQd in my first attempt
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Tell us a little about the race.
The Flying Monkey Marathon. It is a hilly race in my hometown of Nashville, TN. It was the inaugural event. I love the park in which the marathon is held. I won the marathon in 2:50:25. Technically, this was not a BQ, as it is not a certified course. I suppose my first technical BQ was 6 months later at the Country Music Marathon. I ran 2:38:06.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school? I had been running for more than 15 years. I began running in high school and also competed in college at both the DI level (Rice University) and DIII level (Williams College)
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
2 or 3–I was getting back into running after 3 or 4 years of non-competitive running.
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 didn’t follow a program. My training philosophy was to run regularly during the week and do a long, harder run at marathon effort on the weekend.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
It was just me.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
I’ve got a million thoughts. It was easy for me to BQ, and it wasn’t my primary goal, but I can relate to the task, as I have had many “reach” goals through the course of my long running career. The two keys to reaching the place I did in my running were self-belief and work ethic. The first is the most important because the second is founded upon it. You get out the door and put in the miles because you believe that you are capable of being a better runner. Most of my weaknesses in training have to do with self-doubt, not improper methods. Self-doubt causes you to work too little at times and work too hard at other times. No one gets there through super-human effort. The sort of effort that is required is the human kind–getting out the door, putting in the work, until the days turns into weeks, the weeks turn into months, and the months turn into years. This is the only picture of human achievement that makes sense to me, and there is nobility in it. Paradoxically, most people fail in the marathon because they try too hard and they work at a level they cannot sustain. Finding that level of sustainable effort requires a great degree of self-knowledge, and it takes runners time and patience to find it.