BQ(Q) Jennifer B

Name: Jennifer B @jenbolstad

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 35

Height: 5’7″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 128

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

I qualified in my first marathon, New York City, 2011, with a time of 3:38:36. I’ve always insisted that I would only ever run one marathon in my life… unless of course I qualified for Boston, in which case, I’d **have to** run Boston, too. It took me 20+ years of dedicated running to finally attempt the marathon, and I had one of those mythical perfect races that come along once or twice a decade. My BQ was good for the 2013 race, but my first child is due April 2013, so I’ll be watching Boston on TV instead of slogging up Heartbreak Hill with the masses. I’m on the fence about whether to honor my solemn vow to only run one marathon in my life, or my solemn vow that if I qualify for Boston I have to run it… which now will involve running at least one additional marathon to get a fresh new BQ. The endorphin addict in me is agitating for the latter.

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 in 6th grade, so figuring out how long I’ve been running requires some pretty advanced mathematics. About a million years ago, before there was an internet, I was a high school and college cross country and track star.

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

See above re: advanced mathematics. But figure 30-50miles a week in high school, 50-80 miles a week in college, 20-40 miles a week since, minus about 5 years lost to the vortex of graduate school and my early career. It’s probably not a small number.

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

About 900

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


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 adapted the program from “Run Less, Run Faster.” My race calendar included a handful of triathlons, so the cross-training intensive approach of the RLRF program meshed well with all the cycling and swimming workouts.

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

I ran with my club, Prospect Park Track Club, for many of the long runs, as well as some speedwork and many of the weekend races.

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

Cross-training is the most important component of my training now. I’ve always been fairly injury-prone, but in the past several years I’ve found that I can’t exceed 40 miles a week without sustaining injury. By adding cycling and swimming to my schedule, I can log up to 20 hours of cardio work per week and stay healthy. The fitness from cross-training has translated remarkably well into running fitness; I’ve even found that I can take several weeks off from running and as long as I continue to swim and bike, I don’t lose any of my speed or endurance on the run.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

For marathon training, I would say that tempo work was more important than speedwork per se. Since I race often at a variety of distances, I always incorporate some fast track sessions into my training, but the workouts that really helped me in the marathon were long progressive runs and sustained tempo runs that got me accustomed to locking in at race pace and holding it for mile after mile.

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

Filling out this questionnaire inspired me to go back through my training log and think about all the workouts that got me to the finish line of my BQ marathon. I have such fond memories of all those great runs! I’m certain I have just talked myself into trying for another BQ because I so thoroughly enjoyed the process of training for the last one.

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  1. Terzah

    Cool–good for you Jennifer! I think you should run Boston for sure. Meanwhile, though, congrats on your pregnancy and enjoy your baby. :^)

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