Here’s a great response from Victor. Victor ran sub-3 in his first marathon, but, as a member of Czechoslovakia’s national team, he was no beginner. Thanks for sharing your story, Victor. I wish I could have met Emil Zatopek!
Name: Victor (aka Goorun on Running Ahead)
Age (at the time of first BQ) 19
Height 5’10 3/4″
Weight (at the time of first BQ) 135 lbs.
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
I was born and raised in Europe (Czechoslovakia, in the part which is Czech Republic now). It was a small, local marathon with only about 200 runners in it.
2:59:xx (don’t remember seconds, but it was barely under 3 hours).
I started as a cross-country skier when I was 5 year old, switched to track running when 14 and by the time I ran that marathon, I was good, cocky, track runner who thought that marathons are stupidly slow. I’ve never run a race longer than 10k at that point. I ran with the leaders, half split was 1:12:xx. The second half was a humiliating hard lesson. When I finally finished, I said I’ll never run a marathon again.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
Pretty much since I was 5, seriously training from 14.
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Hard to say. Probably around 10,000 miles.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
As a track runner, I ran about 2,000 miles per year in my late teens. I ran over 7,000 miles per year in my peak marathon running years.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
40-50 races, mostly on a track.
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 made the National Junior track and field team in my teens and had some world class coaches. Coach Odlozil (silver in 1500m in Tokyo Olympics) who was a good friend with Peter Snell and coach Lydiard was one of them, so Lydiard’s training philosophy was the base for my training. I also met Emil Zatopek and got chance to talk to him one on one. Always admired his training work ethic.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
Yes, see the above.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
Not really. We did some gym workouts and running specific strength training. Also running form exercises, but mostly just running. We were actually forbidden from riding bikes, because that developed muscles we didn’t need. 🙂
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
Yes. Since I came from track running, intervals, fartleks, hills etc. were bread and butter of my training days.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
I never thought that I had a lot of talent, but I become fairly good runner (ran on the National Team) by working hard and doing it for years. Running is not complicated sport. Keep doing it and one day you could be there. BQ times are IMO easier to achieve in older AGs , so if you can’t get it now, just wait for that next AG. 😉