The BQ(Q) – Brian

Name

Brian

Sex:

Age (at the time of first BQ):

34

Height:

5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

145

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Kiawah Island

Tell us a little about the race.

It was a beautiful course, relatively flat. But the heat and humidity threw me off, being in December! It was high 70’s and 99 percent humidity. My goal was to BQ going in, sub 3:05 but a a month out my workouts made me think I could break 3 hrs. So I started out at 6:35-40 pace first half. Made the mistake to pick it up to 6:20’s 11-18. Then heat crept in on me! I managed to hold on till 3 to go and dropped to 7:20’s. A miserable way to finish but ran 2:55!! Pr’d by 16 min.

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

Since middle school

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

I have no idea how to even begin to calculate that. HS ran 20-34 mpw, college 60-70, 10 years after college very little running, no racing.

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

About 2,600

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

1 spring marathon, 6 5ks in summer, mile time trial and 800m

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

Yes, I followed a program built by Howard Nippert, former usa 100k champ, it was based off workouts I did in college but more marathon based. 50-65mpw, two hard workouts on Tuesday I did speed/track work, on Thursdays I did tempo or hill repeats, sat. Long run. A lot of longer tempos at hm pace 8-10 milers @ 6:30’s- 6:08 got progressively faster of course. Always took Sundays off. Recovery runs were run very easy 7:45-8:00 pace.

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

Yes

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

Yes, I did some Pilates videos, once a week. Core workouts 2x a week, along with pull ups, push ups.

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

Yes!! I used entire spring and summer to work on speed, the faster I could run a 5k, the easier goal pace felt. Got down to 17:10 range. 5:30’s, so 6:50’s didn’t seem so hard after that! During marathon training I mixed it up a lot. 800’s every other week or so, Fartleks of 3,5, & 10 min repeats. Mile repeats ect. Have to train fast to run fast!

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

You don’t have to be extremely talented to BQ, but must have some speed. Let’s face it, less than 10% of marathoners BQ. It was a huge accomplishment to just finish the damn thing when I ran my first one! But then it got addicting. I ran 3:21 with a very simple Hal Higdon plan and only 6 months of training after 10 years of hardly running at all, smoking a pack a day and drinking a lot. Running again literally saved my life. I never intended to run another marathon. But after the first one, my competitive nature was restored. I ran another marathon hoping to BQ 4 months later. Came up short at 3:11:57. I was so down and out I almost wanted to quit!! Set realistic goals, and marathon is like chopping down a tree, cut chunks of time off at a time. So I’d say if you’re close, within 20min you got a great shot if you keep working. Don’t give up and don’t beat yourself up if you come up short. There are too many variables on race day, everything has to go your way after months of training. And it sucks when you don’t make it. But success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started. “Pre” after 9 more months of hard training, I made it on third attempt!! With a huge pr! Lots of tears of joy afterwards! You can’t match the feeling of chasing down that elusive BQ!!

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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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