Max Elbaum isn’t just an accomplished runner, he’s also the author of the excellent Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin Mao and Che. Revolution in the Air is the first serious look at what happened to the American Left after 1968 and its an excellent read (I reviewed the book here).
Huge thanks to Max for taking the time to do this,
Name: Max Elbaum
Age (at the time of first BQ): 51
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 170
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Napa Valley
Tell us a little about the race. 3:26:53. Every mile within 10 seconds of 7/53 per mile pace. Cool day, excellent running weather, very pretty course.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 4 years seriously, another few years of occasional jogging before that
Did you run in college or high school? No
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 8,500
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2,200
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 4
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 Run every day, 1 long run on the weekend, 1 speed workout during the week
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? No
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. My first marathon had been 4 years before, 4:14, trained for that with long runs but no speed work. After that I incorporated speed work into training and my times improved, got into the 3:30s and then the 3:26 at Napa
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I turned 50 after my fourth marathon and had been getting close to a BQ. So I started on the chase. I missed the first 3 times I tried for various reasons – too hot a day, had a cold, like that. But didn’t give up and in my eighth marathon – Napa in 1999 – I made it with minutes to spare. Boston in 2000 was worth all the effort. After that I got off the speed-at-all-costs train, kept doing marathons and ran a couple more BQs but more concerned with being able to run for the long haul than running a new PR or getting another BQ. I’m now 69, about to turn 70, have run 38 marathons, all different ones, rather than do any course twice use the marathons to explore new places. good luck to all, enjoy every mile.