Joe is someone I have known from the Running Ahead message boards for years. I’m very happy to share his story of recently qualifying for Boston.
Age (at time of first BQ): 55
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 178
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
NJ Marathon. 4/26/15 . Time 3:35:25.
This was by far the best feeling that I had going into, and during a marathon. This is number 15 for me in about 8 ½ years of running. I trained very consistently for 4 months over the winter. I ran a HM 1:41 PR 2 weeks before this race so I knew I could run this one better than any I had run before.
The course is only 15 miles from my home so there are no surprises. It is the flattest course that you can have. All the treadmill miles over the winter were exactly the kind of training needed for such a flat course. The weather was perfect ( gentle wind/ 48*).
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I logged my first mile on Running Ahead in Dec 2007. I was never a consistent runner before then, but had always been in good shape from bike riding, swimming, etc.
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?
1,102 by mid April
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
Valentines Day 5k (very cold) and Tune up HM 2 weeks before BQ.
Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?
Pfitzinger 18/85. The year before I used Pfitz 18/55 with great results. I tried to BQ at Baystate on a very windy day and came up 3 minutes short. I knew that if I used the same method I would be good. It’s pretty much hard day, easy day. The medium long runs, I believe, are the star of the program. They made the long runs (bunch of 20’s 22 and 24) much easier.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
Ran it all alone. 99% on a treadmill. Only my later long runs were outside because of the really shitty winter. They were all single runs ,all in the evening after work. I ran all my treadmill runs (except recovery) at 1% incline.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
None. Someone told me that if I was running 80+ mile weeks, I didn’t need to do core. So I didn’t. I really didn’t have time while running 12 -14 hours per week.
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
Pfitz uses a lot of MP runs on tired legs. I have tried Run Wizard ( Nobby/ Lydiard) low mileage long run programs and that did not prepare me like Pfitz.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Well, I think the good ol’ Swamp* philosophy is right on the money. If you want to get faster, run a lot, mostly easy, sometimes hard as a mofo and then gut it out some more. My theme was that if I was going to make it to Boston, it was going to hurt. In a good way. And hurt it did. In 2 months I only missed 2 runs (because the gym was closed for ice storms). Some days when I was supposed to go hard, I went easy, because my body or mind told me to. I made it up the next day. Or the day after. I did my homework, I aced my mid-term (tune-up half). So when times got a little tough 3/4 of the way through my BQ ( final exam) , I knew that I could dig a little deeper and it would be there. I could get past the hurt.
*The “Swamp” is a sub-board on the Running Ahead website populated by some of the fastest and most sarcastic runners on the internet.