Thanks to longtime RA runner Chris for filling this out, I especially liked his thoughts on racing as a skill. Good running, Chris!
Name: Chris H
Age (at the time of first BQ): 37
Height : 5’10”
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 180
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Tell us a little about the race.
2010 Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA. (3:12.01). This was my second marathon and I was 100% sure I could run under my BQ time of 3:15. Since I really wanted to run Boston I was unwilling to risk losing the BQ trying for a faster time. Therefore, I just paced myself through. In the last couple miles, when I knew I was safe, I picked up the pace.
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 about 20 months prior to my first BQ.
I ran two years in High School (CC & Track). Initially I ran just to become a fitter wrestler but found it very relaxing and enjoyable. Wrestling taught me more about suffering through long hard workouts and competition than I ever learned in CC or Track. In the end, those lessons translated through to my running.
After high school I ran off and on, never more than 150 miles at a time but I was always a cyclist and logged thousands of miles on the bike.
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Perhaps I ran 2000 miles in High School and another 500 scattered through the 18 years before I started to run consistently at the beginning of 2009. From the beginning of 2009 until my first BQ race I ran about 2500 miles.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
I ran 1972 miles and cycled 1100 miles.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
I ran 18 races, including my BQ marathon. That’s 161.7 Miles of racing, or 8% of that year’s mileage. I believe racing somewhat regularly is important to racing success. Racing is a skill different from training so practicing it is import. Still, I try not to be a racing junkie, rather I try to choose races that logically build upon each other or inform me of my progress and fitness. It’s also fun.
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 Pfitz 18/55 program.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
I did some cycling. I’ve got no idea what benefit it gave but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
I did many of the workouts prescribed in the Pfitz plan. I think the most beneficial workouts were long runs at marathon pace, mid week medium long runs, and just running lots and lots.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Running and racing is much more mental than some think. Still, it’s not entirely mind over matter. You do have to go out and put the work in. But when you do, have the right attitude about it, and really want it, you will see better results.
Also, you need to learn how to make pain your friend, embrace it, and run right through it and out the other side. The pain in the later parts of a marathon is far, far from the worst pain you will experience in life. It’s just a nuisance. Treat it as such and carry on. It’s only running.