The BQ(Q) – Charlie

35 years of running and he gets a BQ! Congratulations, Charlie, that’s an incredible accomplishment!

Name

Charlie

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

54

Height:

5′-11″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

175

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Twin Cities 2010

Tell us a little about the race.

Temperatures in the low 40s at the start, and it was sunny and warmed up along the way. The point-to-point course ran along tree-covered roads and I stayed in the shade as much as possible. It was mostly flat with a few hills to break up the monotony. I started out exactly at BQ pace (8 min’s/mile for Men 50-54) and held it for 8 miles, then picked it up slightly until Mile 15, when a medical support guy on a bicycle irritated me by cycling exactly at my pace right next to me. When he wouldn’t go away, I surged for a few minutes to get rid of him, and that surge put me into an elated mood. I picked up the pace for the next 5 miles or so and then WHAM! I didn’t want to run anymore at Mile 21. I wasn’t tired; It was more like depression. But I kept going. Over the last 5 miles I was baby-stepping and my pace was around 9’/mile. Another older runner kept passing me, then he’d stop and walk a bit and I’d pass him, and we kept that up until the end. When I saw the finish line I felt relieved and picked up the pace as well as I could and passed him within 100 yards of the finish line. The Clock Time was 3:35:59 which was the BQ cut-off at the time, so I was ecstatic. Later I learned that my chip time was 3:34:37. Since that time they’ve raised the standards so I wouldn’t have qualified if they were using today’s standards.

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

35 years+/-

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

Approximately 25,000. I spent 30 years in the Army and ran about 15 miles per week with a race about every 5 years. Then when I retired (at age 52) I bumped it up to 40mile/week.

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

1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

15

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, Runners World published a program for its RW Challenge and I loosely followed it. On long run days, I would often do a 10k race with a long (6-mile) warmup and lightly jog the remaining miles after the race. I wouldn’t race all-out.

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

No

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

Yes, I did upper body strength training and core exercises 2x/week until the last month. It was probably counterproductive but it was a habit I had acquired over the years. Later (and now) I cross trained 2x/week but with fewer upper body exercises and more leg work (lunges, single leg press, etc.). I also cycle and elliptical whenever I’m injured (which is frequent).

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

Yes. I raced every 3 weeks and I would stack mileage on top of the races. I didn’t care how fast I ran the races, but it made me very comfortable running BQ pace at my target race. I also did at least one speed workout (Yasso 800s or Mile repeats) per week.

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

Top priority should be consistency and avoiding injury. Take rest days and ensure that you recover before going into a hard workout or race. Next priority is volume/mileage: Increase gradually. I found that the 10% increase per week recommended by most experts is too much for my body, so I increase mileage about 5% per week with a cut-back week every month. Once your body is comfortable with high volume, then work on picking up the pace by doing tempo runs, races, and speed work. This might be 2 or 3 years after you decide to get serious, but it takes a long time to build up the volume.

 

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