The BQ(Q) Rohit N

In the brave new world of running Boston, you can run the qualifying standard, and still not get to run the race. That’s what happened to Rohit. For the purposes of the BQ(Q) running the standard is all that matters, but I hope next year Rohit can shave a couple minutes off and get into the race.


Thanks for taking part, Rohit!


Name: Rohit N @Noompa

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 27 (hit BQ time, but did not get into 2016 Boston Marathon since not far enough under)

Height: 5 ft 9 in.

Weight (at the time of first BQ): ~144 lbs.

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

I ran 3:04:44 at the 2015 Illinois Marathon. The qualifying time for my age group is 3:05:00, so although I technically BQ-ed, demand was sufficiently high for the 2016 Boston Marathon that I had to be 2 minutes and 28 seconds under the qualifying mark; since I was only 16 seconds under, I was unable to gain entry.


The race itself was a wonderful experience. I had taken a complete break from running due to an IT Band injury in the months leading up to the race and was only able to resume running about a month out. I ran a couple of long runs and felt good, with spinning having kept me in cardio shape while I was off running. My goal was to just run based on feel and hopefully finish under 3:20. It was an opportunity to see a couple of good friends who stayed in Champaign-Urbana, so I figured that the race would be a bonus while I saw them. My girlfriend, an elite runner, had convinced me that I shouldn’t rein it in too much if I was feeling good, so I took her advice to heart. A thunderstorm on the day of the race proved to be perfect running weather, with cooler temperatures balancing out the pouring rain. I was just grateful to be running and was enjoying myself, catching up with the 3:05 finish pace group at around the mile 18 mark. The pacers convinced me that I should make a bid for a BQ and helped me get there, exceeding my wildest expectations; heck, I was surprised to even be running after having been injured all winter long! To prove that everything was serendipitous, the race was called off a little over 10 minutes after I finished; had I run based on my original expectations, I may not have finished.


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


I started running a little over two years prior to the race in question. I did not run in either college or high school, with anything over 3 miles seeming like a chore. Adopting a high energy dog in the winter of 2013 was what got me started on running.


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


Hard to know, but probably ~3200 miles or so?


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


Again hard to know, but probably ~1000 miles?


Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


In the year leading up to it, 2 marathons and 1 half marathon, with a couple of smaller 5Ks, etc.


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 would have probably followed the free version of the Runner’s World SmartCoach program, but given my injury, did not.


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



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


YES! Spinning played a huge part in keeping me fit while I was off running. I was spinning 5-10 times per week and that helped keep my legs strong, in cardio health, and not stir-crazy. I want to use this opportunity to plug Turnstyle Cycle in Cambridge and Boston, MA. Fun, inclusive, great people, and a killer workout.


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


A couple of tempo runs prior to the marathon, but nothing more since I was injured for most of the cycle.


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


Believe. Admit the possibility that a BQ is within reach and you will be a large part of the way towards achieving it. I never anticipated a marathon being in my choice set, let alone a BQ. Despite having hit the time, I haven’t technically BQ-ed yet, but I do think it is possible and I’m making another bid at the Houston Marathon. I have amped up my training, become more focused, and trying to be more scientific about it. But the biggest thing is having the faith that it is an achievable goal. Having the support of others has been huge.


More concrete changes to my training that I have tried to make in order to bring my time down:


  1. Increasing weekly mileage
  2. Ensuring that I incorporate at least 3-4 20 milers in my training cycle
  3. Speed and strength workouts every week (800 intervals and/or hills)
  4. Goal marathon pace runs every week
  5. Dropping 5-6 lbs of weight
  6. Sleeping at least 7 hours a night if possible


Will these steps get me there? Perhaps. But hey, I’m going to give it my best shot no matter what!

Rohit N

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