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.

Name

Tim Swanson

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

38

Height:

5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

154

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Eugene

 

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?

Yes

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

15000

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

1800

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

8

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

no

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

Yes

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

No

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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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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