James is a triathlete and trainer, thanks for taking part in the survey!
Age (at time of BQ): 37
Height: 5’ 8”
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your time? Tell us a little about the race.
Mardi gras Marathon (Rock and Roll New Orleans). Late FEB, flat.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I started running when I was 30 to lose weight. I quit smoking (smoked for 13 years) and lost about 65 pounds.
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Maybe 5000 miles
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
In my build for Mardi gras I raced a lot – in my 10 week training plan I raced 6 times – 1 12k, 3 half marathons, 1 25k and 1 30k. I PR’d every race.
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 FIRST (Furman) with many high volume blocks. I guess the Furman was in name only – I wanted three well-defined workouts each week consisting of a speed session, a hard tempo and a challenging long run. However, I work for a university and get a lot of time off over Christmas. I ran several 3 day blocks (ultra runners call them back-2-backs) of around 50 miles (10 / 15 / 20 or 15 / 15 / 20 – at a very easy pace) and then recovered for 2 days. I also raced a lot, these were my hard tempos, and hard long distance runs. For good measure, I did speed work for 5 weeks consisting of Yasso 800’s. I guess, looking back, I threw the kitchen sink at it.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
I ran with everyone. I am in a running club but I am self-coached.
Did cross training play a role in your training?
If so, how? Being a triathlete I do bike and swim a lot, however, for my marathon builds the swim and bike take a back seat. I did it some but nothing was planned.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Perhaps my BQ came too easy (first marathon – I needed a 3:15:59 and ran a 3:08:44 with even splits) but I think the necessary components are a consistent build, the hard runs need to be hard (that is for mental prep as much as anything else – I really need a race to perform well), and staying injury free.