The BQ(Q) Sage Canaday (Hoka One One)

Sage’s motto is “any surface, any distance” and his race result show that he means it. Sixteenth at this year’s Boston Marathon, two time winner (and course record holder) and the Speed Goat 50k, first place at the 2014 North Face Endurance challenge. I could go on.

And besides being one of the best distance runners in America and Hoka One One and Ultimate Direction sponsored athlete, he’s also a hardworking entrepreneur and all around good guy.

I really appreciate Sage taking the time to fill this out. As always, it’s interesting to see how an elite athlete does things. Thanks again, Sage.

Name: Sage Canaday (, @Sage Canaday (instagram and Twitter)…I was 16th at Boston this year in 2:19.

Sex: Male

Age (at time of first BQ): 21

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight (at time of first BQ): 145lbs

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

Houston Marathon back in 2007. It was my very first marathon. I ran 2:22:21. I was actually going for an OTQ (US Olympic Trials Qualifier) and fell brutally short by 21 seconds. I was on pace for a 2:19 through the first 20 miles and then hit the wall fairly hard with my last 10km containing mile splits that were exponentially slower.

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

8 years of year-round training and racing. I started track and cross country in middle school, ran NCAA DI at Cornell University, and had experience in road racing up to the half marathon distance.

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

Oh wow, really hard to say. Probably around 20,000 miles.

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

About 4200.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

About 12 (track and cross country from 1500m to 10km)

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 was in college at Cornell University at the time. This was about 5 weeks after my cross country season ended so I was home in Oregon training during winter break. I basically extended my 10km training and added in some hard long runs in the 20-22 mile range.  I didn’t touch marathon goal pace much, but I ran a bit faster and a bit slower than it in high quality workouts!

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

My coach at the time was Robert “Rojo” Johnson of He’d run 2:23 in the marathon before and had some good advice for me. I ran everything that winter solo.

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

Aside from 8-minute abs, not really.

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

Yeah for sure! I had come off running 30:50 for 10km in cross country and lots of track intervals that season. My key indicator workout was 2 x 8km at faster than marathon goal pace by about 5-10 sec/mile, which I did half on a track for pacing. I ran 5:12-5:10 per mile for that workout with an easy mile jog recovery between.

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

If you’re getting close to a BQ and have a nice base of aerobic miles from several years of running, check out our “BQ Marathon” Training plan at

Other than that….don’t give up! Consistency  and staying healthy is key as is progressively higher mileage.

Sage proving that he means it when he says “any surface, any distance”.

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