Keith G is a bigger guy, about my age, with a BQ. He was kind enough to answer these questions. Thanks Keith! Your story is an inspiration!
Name: Keith G
Age (at the time of first BQ): 39
Height (at the time of first BQ): 6’-0”
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 205 lbs
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Tell us a little about the race.
My first BQ came at the 2011 Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, NC. I needed a 3:20:00 and finished in 3:14:15. Five months earlier, I attempted a BQ at the 2010 Steamtown Marathon and fell flat on my face (finished in 4:20:22 with serious cramping). After Steamtown, I told myself that a BQ wasn’t in the cards. Eventually I snapped out of it and I’m glad I did.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I wrestled in high school and college but never ran competitively. During that time, I enjoyed running and I often ran to stay in shape. Before my first BQ, I was running for about three years. When I started, I was 270 lbs and couldn’t run a mile. My only goal at the time was to lose a few pounds and maybe run a 5k or two. As the pounds melted off, I got faster. The faster I got, the more I wanted to push myself.
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?
Two marathons, two half marathons, and a handful of 5k’s.
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 did not follow a canned program. I needed a plan that was flexible with my schedule. My only absolute was that I rested the day before and the day after my long runs.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
There is a coach who works with members of the local running club. He helped developed a plan that focused on speed work to increase my lactate threshold. He also taught me the crucial step of the depletion run followed by carbo loading right before the marathon.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
I didn’t cross train for my first BQ but I did for my second BQ (finished as the 4th overall Clydesdale at the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon in 3:13:24).
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how?
Absolutely. By working on speed work I was able to raise my lactate threshold.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
I have friends that regularly hit their BQ without a problem. Many of them are in the BQ-20 category. These folks are genetic freaks. For all the normal people like myself, you have to really want it. A BQ is an attainable goal but it takes a lot of discipline and focus. For the months leading up to my BQ, it was the first thing on my mind when I woke up every morning.