Here’s an inspiring story of Doug S using marathon training as part of his recovery from alcoholism. Nice work Doug, both on getting sober and getting fast!
Name: Doug S
Age (at time of first BQ): 26
Weight (at time of first BQ): 150
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?Tell us a little about the race.
I qualified for Boston at the 2012 Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul with a 2:57:05. This was my second marathon and I PR’d by 12:52. It was a cool day and I ran very well- my second half was only a minute slower than my first half which is very good considering the second half is very hilly. I was able to get into the 2013 Boston Marathon because it was the first year of the new standards and all the spots weren’t filled yet. I registered the next day.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I know I am the exception to the rule but I had only been running for 8 months when I qualified. I was a young alcoholic and I finally sobered up in January. In a meeting in February, I met a group of runners and joined them. I was looking for something to help me fill my time and I found it. I ran my first half marathon 6 weeks later in 1:35:18 and I was hooked. I signed up for Grandma’s marathon shortly after. I ran it on four months of training and finished in 3:09:57. I would have qualified for Boston right away but it was the first year of the new standards so I missed out. I knew I could get it that fall and I did. I was hooked on running after that. I ran track my freshman year of high school but nothing after that. I was a soccer player who traveled a lot. I also played two years of soccer in college (D3).
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
By the time I ran my first BQ, I maybe had 1000-1500 miles in the 8 months prior.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
Same as above- about 1000-1500 miles. I’m not really sure. I didn’t keep track right away.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
I ran 4 races that year prior to my BQ- 2 halves, 1 full and 1 8K. I don’t really like short races so I stayed away from them.
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 didn’t have a program. I just went out and ran. I didn’t do speed work or anything differently. I just said I’m going to run more miles this week than I did last week. If I ran 52 miles last week, I was going to run 53 this week. I ended up getting up to 70 miles a week about four weeks before. I noticed that runs of the same distance were getting faster but I never really took easy days or hard days- they were all just running days. I think I was able to BQ because I have a very competitive nature and I finally found something I could be really good at. It also took the place of drinking which had previously taken over my life. I replaced a negative thing with a positive thing and I wanted to see what I could do.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
I only ran with some friends who helped me get sober. I later joined a club and got a coach to see how fast I could get.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
I biked occasionally but I wanted to run each day. I rarely took a day off of running.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how?
I did not do any speed work at the time. I have since started doing speed work and it has made me even faster.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Hard work will pay off. I know that there are more people who have tried for years than people like me. Don’t let my story discourage you if you haven’t got there. It was very hard for me to get sober and to even put myself in a position to run marathons. If you believe in yourself, you can succeed. See you at the finish line!
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