The BQ(Q) – Theron B

If a doctor with two young kids can find the time to BQ, anyone can. Thanks Theron for sharing your story!

Name: Theron B

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 37

Height: 5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 162

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach with a time of 3:04: This was a PR by 10 minutes with my first two marathons being at age 34 (3:14:57) and age 24 (3:31). The conditions for the day could not have been better at 40 degrees on a flat course. I was actually nursing a mild popliteus strain which I managed by scaling back on my high intensity workouts and using KT tape. My expectations were tempered by the fact that I had just come off of two races in February and the strain did not seem to be getting any better: a 14K in early Feb, and a 1/2 marathon just three weeks prior – both of which were PRs. I found the 3:05 pace group at Shamrock and initially thought I would hang with them for half the race, then 15, 17, 19 miles? It was a race that surprised me – I even took an unavoidable port-o-john pit stop and managed to catch the 3:05 group in the last mile. This was likely my smartest race: perfect hydration (if not a little over), fuel was spot-on, and there was still something left over in the last five miles to feel like I was cruising.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
20 years. I’ve been running off and on since high school. Ran CC and track in high school but only for fun in college. Started racing again in med school, then took a break from racing during residency but kept running regularly. Did not start racing again until five years prior. Got “serious” (goal-directed) with racing three years before my BQ.

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

Best guess? 3500 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
About 750 miles. That was an interesting year. Took a few weeks off here and there due to three different injuries. Had to bow out of an obstacle race due to injury about 3 months prior. I also ramped up my cross training and cleaned up my diet.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
In the preceding 12 months I ran four races: 5K, 10K, 14K, 13.1  – in that order, all of which were PRs.

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 have a hard time with programs because my wife and I have busy jobs (we’re both doctors) and had two children at the time (we now have three). Generally speaking, in the year prior I averaged 25 miles a week, and never ran more than 40 a week. My longest run was 16 miles (4 weeks before the race).The highest mileage for a week was 35 and subsequent to that I ended up being sidelined for about 4 weeks due to injury. They call me Mr Glass. They don’t really, but you get it: I’m fragile.

My training philosophy is take what the good Lord gives me and make the most of it. There are some days where the work and family schedule simply does not allow for a run so I let it go. I generally get in one quality run a week (interval, tempo, fartlek) and try to squeeze in one long run (>6 miles) a week if I’m prepping for anything longer than a 10K. My long runs are usually at 3-4am on a Saturday before the gremlins wake up. I try to emphasize recovery a bit more now than I used to and the year prior to BQ I did A LOT of cross training and cleaned up my eating act, shifting more of my diet to plant-based foods. I personally feel like the clean-plant-based eating was one of the bigger difference-makers.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
No. See above. Busy schedules.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
My wife started doing some Beach Body DVDs in 2012 and she got me hooked. So now I have a few collections that I do other than the bike. I used Les Mills Pump, Les Mills Combat, and RevAbs prior to my BQ. I’ve since added P90X3 as well. I also use a great many phone apps that allow me to get in quick, focused workouts that take 10 minutes to churn out. Cross training was also vital to keep me going during my multiple injuries – even if I took 3-4 weeks off for an injury I was usually able to get through the time with some intense cross training workouts in my living room.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
My body seems to respond very well to interval training – Yasso 800s show up in the rotation often enough but I typically alternate back and forth between intervals and tempos every other week for my “quality” run.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
1. Respect diet and recovery
2. Take the most painful workouts you can find and be sure to include them in your training often.
3. With all the injuries I had in the year prior to my BQ I didn’t really think it was going to happen. I feared I’d break or tear something during the race, or the holes in my training would get exposed; but I found that the training turned out to do the trick. My expectations were low but my hopes were high. Don’t be afraid to recalibrate your expectations to your hopes… and set yours hopes high.


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  1. smt

    I love that he runs at 3-4 AM Sat night/Sun morning! That’s nuts, but so is running a marathon.

  2. seanv2

    Yeah, this one has really stuck with me! When I thought about bailing on my early morning long run (I was up with Little dude at 5:30, went for the run at 7:30), I told myself “well at least it isn’t 3 in the morning!”.

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