The BQ(Q) Matthew Roberts


Matthew Roberts (



Age (at the time of first BQ):




Weight (at the time of first BQ):


At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Marine Corps Marathon 2009

Tell us a little about the race.

I started out a bit quick for my fitness and my goal (wanted to run 2:45 and was running 6:0x for most of the first half). My half-marathon split was 1:21:40, and I made a concerted effort to slow down to 6:1xs for the next stretch. Around mile 19 I started to fatigue, and slowed down to 6:45s. The final three miles were all over 7:00 pace, but I was still able to finish with a huge PR of 1:48:19 (from 3:18:42).

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

9 years, but only had been training consistently for four 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?

No, I did lots of miles, tempo runs, and long intervals. I averaged 85mpw in the 12 weeks leading up to my race.

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


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

No, unless you count stretching.

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

Yes. I did a marathon pace workout every week, and alternated tempo runs and long intervals. I also experimented with fast-finish long runs.

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

Miles matter. While in many disciplines, quality matters more than quantity, when it comes to marathoning, quantity is just as important. Work on gradually increasing your mileage, and then once you feel comfortable at what was a previously unattainable mileage level, add in lots of tempo and marathon pace runs, and some long intervals. Listen to your body though and back off if you feel fatigued or any niggling pain that lasts more than two days. You’ll want to feel chronically tired but able to run strong in your workouts. It’s a very fine line between that and overtraining. Find that line and stay just beneath it.


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