The BQ(Q) – Tim Swanson

Great, story here from Tim, who’d been running since he was eight years old and finally BQ’ed at 38. As always, consistency is key.


Tim Swanson



Age (at the time of first BQ):




Weight (at the time of first BQ):


At which marathon did you get your first BQ?



Tell us a little about the race.

Fast, generally flat course with few turns. Usually fast field with many sub-elites, so tends to have lots of fast people to run with.

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

30 years

Did you run in college or high school?


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?


Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


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


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


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


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

Yes. 1 x weekly track session and 1 x weekly tempo or fast hill repeat workout. Track sessions averaged 10 total miles including warmup/cooldown, with repeats anywhere from 200m up to mile repeats. Longest/hardest track workout was 10 x 1k at goal marathon pace minus 0:20, with half repeat rest.

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

Consistency was critical: in the 8 months of focused running leading up to BQ race, I never had 2 days off in a row. I averaged 3-4 non-running days per month, with 2 or 3 months where I ran every day. My coach and I also incorporated long run “workouts”, where I would run 18-22 miles, but instead of just long, slow distance stuff, we would add in tempo, race pace or even faster efforts within the long runs. I also forced myself to do much longer (8-10 mile) Monday recovery runs immediately after a long run workout. Previously, I had always taken the day after a long run completely off, so the idea of running 10 miles the day after a hard 20 was hard to get used to. But it paid off! As a result, I had 4 x 70+ mile weeks leading up to the race. When I BQed, I lowered my PR by a shocking 19 minutes, from 3:16 to 2:57.

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