The BQ(Q) – Bob E

Name: Bobby E IG: bobby_elsinger

Gender: Male

Age: 40

Height: 5’6

Weight: 148

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

I qualified at the Chicago Marathon on my first try.   My finishing time was 3:01:20.   Heading into the race I was very confident in attaining a BQ.  My actual goal was 2:55 and based on a 1:23 half marathon in Ventura.  The final two weeks I started to get greedy and wanted to run sub 2:52.  My first half was 1:25 and I felt pretty confident in 2:52 but by mile 18 I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.   By mile 22 I was laboring pretty hard and started experiencing cramps and had to walk a few times.  I didn’t push the last two miles because a cramp attack might not me out of a BQ time.  I finished with a sense of relief but also disappointed that my greed for 2:52cost me a chance to run sub 3:00.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

I had run sporadically after graduating from college but it didn’t last more than a few months.  In the summer of 2012 I started to run more consistently because I joined a few running clubs.  I didn’t start running more than twice a week until the fall of 2013.  Did you run in college or high school? I ran four years of high school (100-1600m) and college track (800m).  I did three years of college cross country (8K) because I studied in Hong Kong for one semester.

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

I have no idea but my mileage the last two years since I’ve started running had been under 20 miles per week.

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

Around 900 but I lost about three months due to running related injuries.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?  

November Turkey Trot: 5K, February: 5K, April 5K,  September: 1/2 Marathon, October: 10K

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one?

I didn’t sign up for the Chicago Marathon until April and then training was interrupted by plantar fasciitis.  I lifted and did elliptical or bike for a few weeks.  I then jumped into the Hanson’s Marathon Plan which stressed pace and quality but my mileage was low because of PF.  I gradually built up my mileage.  Started out high teens and added about three miles per week on the front end in four to five miles per week near the end.

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

Living in LA offers a variety of running groups, clubs, or crews so I was able to jump in with other runners almost any day except for Friday and Sunday. Additionally I trained with a group of from my Tuesday night running group who were also focusing on Boston.  Two of them were also hoping to qualify for Boston.  We piggy backed on the workouts of one of our runners who had hired a coach.

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

Yes, I usually lift weights twice a week.  The full body workout incorporates front squats and dead lifts.  As training became more intense I lifted only once a week.  Yoga was inconsistent though out the training cycle but I was able to do it at 1-2 times a month.

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

Yes, my training group did speed work twice a week, mostly based on 10K and half marathon pace.  In addition I did strides and form drills approximately once a week.

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

  • Workout with others.  They will keep you on track, motivated, and push you to be better.
  • Running fast is more than just miles.  Strength, flexibility, drills, and speed work are just as important as miles.  I see so many runners who leave loads of time out on the course because of issues with form, strength, and flexibility.  Becoming stronger, more flexible, and quicker will chop significant chunks of your marathon time without logging more miles.
  • Pace work and interval work is very important.  I know so many runners who neglect this and think they can run 20-30 seconds faster per mile on race day without doing the requisite pace and speed work.
  • Follow a program and stick to it.  Following something haphazardly will usually end up with a similar outcome.
  • Carefully pick a program or coach based on what can work for you. Pick the brains of people who are significantly faster and more experienced than you for leads.
  • Listen to your body.  Most running injuries are from overuse and can be kept in check with sensible time off.  You won’t lose much fitness taking three days to even a week off but you will lose fitness if you have to take a month or more off because your injury got worse.
  • Improve your form.  So many people lose massive amounts of time due to poor form/mechanics and set themselves up for injuries because of sloppy form.  Get stronger and more flexible through hips and glutes.
Bob getting his BQ at Chicago!

Bob getting his BQ at Chicago!

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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