Anton Krupicka is one of the faces of ultra-running, know for big mileage in the mountains and pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a mountain athlete. But before he won Leadville and began redefining what it meant to be a mountain runner, he raced cross country… and had some serious wheels.
Here he tells us about the first time he qualified for Boston at age 19. Inspiring stuff. It is incredible to read that at such a young age, he already has so many miles in his legs. Huge thanks to Anton for taking the time to fill this out. I for one am really excited to see what adventures he has planned for 2016.
Age (at the time of first BQ): 19
Weight (at the time of first BQ): I honestly really have no idea. Probably 150-ish pounds.
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? The 2002 Overland Park Gobbler Grind in Kansas. Late November, just before Thanksgiving.
What was your finishing time? 2:55:11
Tell us a little about the race.
I think I won. For some reason that’s not noted in my training log. I honestly don’t remember much else about the race. It was the end of my sophomore college XC season (I ran both track and XC at DIII Colorado College) and I was road tripping back to Colorado from Minnesota with some other XC friends. We’d been spectating the XC National Championships in MN and worked it into the trip to stop off so I could do this marathon on the way home. College racing was a very frustrating experience for me—I don’t respond very well to lots of intensity in my training schedule, so our twice-weekly interval workouts on top of weekend races was a lot to handle. This marathon was simply an indulgence of the kind of running I’ve always preferred—long, steady, efforts. I’d run my first marathon when I was 12 (3:50). This was my second marathon.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Seven years.
Did you run in college or high school? Yes, both.
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? Right about 20,000 miles.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? ~3400. I have detailed training logs for every day since April 12th, 1995 (two months after I started running).
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Well, since it included a full track and XC season, at least 15 or so.
Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? Back then, I was doing a lot of mileage. 100mpw was always the bench-mark, but I would go as high as the 130s. Within the next five years I would do much higher mileage, but with twice-weekly speed workouts and a weekly race, 100-130 mpw was about the most I could handle at the time.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? In college, I had the track and XC teams and coaches.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Back then, I would only cross train if I was injured. I would road bike. Now, I cross train constantly (climbing, biking, skiing) and don’t do any running junk mileage. Every running effort I do now has a very specific purpose (usually a long run, or hill repeats, or maybe a tempo run).
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
Because I was training specifically for 5k-10k races, speedwork definitely had a role in my training. But that role always seemed to be to just tear me down. For marathon training, long runs and long tempos at marathon pace are much more important.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
I think a BQ is a great goal. It was never one I specifically held, but road marathons were always more of a novelty thing for me and never a specific goal race. I think goals are extremely important for motivating day-to-day commitment, so even if achieving a BQ seems like an impossibility, don’t minimize the value of having that kind of lofty goal in your life!