The BQ(Q) – Guillaume R

Guillaume played football (soccer to us Americans) in high school and then didn’t do any exercise for a decade. In two years, he went from starting couch to 5k to running a 3:06:53 marathon. That’s an incredible accomplishment. See how he did it below!

Name: Guillaume R

Sex: male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 35

Height: 5’9″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160

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

I BQed at the Ottawa Marathon in May, 2015. It was my first marathon and I ran it in 3:06:53 despite a pulled muscle in my glute that bothered me the whole course (I pulled it doing strides 5 days before….%$?$?$%? !!!!!). I was aiming for 3:04:59, but was still very pleased with my finishing time. The race went pretty well. I was on pace for 30-35km but I slowed a bit between km 35 and 37. Still I managed to finish strong. My first half was in 1:32:45 and my second half on 1:34:08. The 3:10pace bunny feared me when he showed up beside me on 38km, but apparently, the 3:10 bunny had become the 3:07 bunny…..

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

I’ve been running since June, 2013. No running in high school or college, but I played football in high school. Between 2003 and 2013, I didn’t exercise at all, nothing ! I was so out of shape that I start running with an iphone app called “From couch to 5k”. My weight managed to stay the same during those years, so it probably save my running quite a bit.

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

3473 miles

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

2200 miles in the 365 days before the BQ

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Two half marathon (1:33 in august 2014, 1:25 in may 2015) et and two 5km (19:06 in october 2014 and 18:40 in april 2015).

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

For my first half marathon I followed the Hanson’s program which I really like and the total volume is near what you need to run a great marathon. It was perfect preparation for marathon training.

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

8 months before my first marathon I hired a coach. We talk every week and he prepares me a training schedule every month. He’s an ex-olympian on the Canadian national team and he runs really fast ! Having a coach is a great tool, it really helps you to move out of your comfort zone. Without one, we tend to gravitate towards what’s comfortable and not towards what we need.

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

I try to do TRX training once or twice a week, mostly core and legs work, but I didn’t do any in the 2 months prior to BQ. I live in Quebec city, Canada and during winter, it’s sometimes hazardous to run on the streets, so this winter I did some snowshoe running. I live in the city, so I used the bike paths to snowshoe. You can’t go as fast, but a 60 minutes run or a 60 minutes snowshoe ride is the same effort, just run by feel and don’t watch your garmin all the time. I also did some plyometrics during the winter to work on explosiveness and running economy.

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

Every week from the beginning until one week from marathon, I did speed work. From short intervals like 2 x 7 x 70 sec @5k speed to longer one like 3 x 13 min @half-marathon speed and about everything between the two. I also did strides once or twice a week and plyometrics about once a week.

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

Volume, volume, volume. I totally disagree with things like Run less, Run faster. From a biological point of view, it just can’t happen unless you’re a very talented runner, but most of us are not ! To BQ, you’ll have to run and a lot. I ran 6 times a week, weeks ranging from 70 to 105 km and I did 6 long runs of more than 20 miles (32km) in the months before. I even did a 40km (25 miles) at easy pace 8 weeks before my marathon. You can run less, but chances are that you’ll hit the wall big time. And yes, you’ll  need to adjust your schedule to run that much. I have three kids (10 months, 3 years and 5 years) and most of the time I go running at night when they’re asleep.


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