Age (at the time of first BQ): 36
Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’5
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 132
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Zurich Marathon
Tell us a little about the race. Zurich is a nice flat course with a couple of loops through the old town, and a long out-and-back along the lake. The weather on the day was ideal; around 12degC at the start and warmed up slightly throughout, sunny and a tiny bit hazy, no wind at all. There was even a view of the Alps while running along the lake!
This was my first marathon and it was in early April, so I trained through the winter for it. It was actually my first “long run” in shorts. I wasn’t exactly hot out, but I was still paranoid about being too warm, so I must’ve dumped a couple of litres of water over myself over the course of the race. The aid stations had mini water bottles, so it was easy to grab one and carry it for as long as you want.
I was pretty scared of the marathon. Everyone kept telling me how hard it is, how “anything can happen,” talking about hitting the wall, etc. I hoped The Wall was only a matter of nutrition, and ate around 6 gels during the race. I didn’t hit the wall. I had quite good luck in general I think. I didn’t really know what pace I could manage, so kind of guessed based on feel, but ended up running quite even splits with the second half just slightly faster than the first half. In the end it ended up being a really ideal first marathon experience. The only thing that went kind of poorly was some achilles pain about halfway through, which ended up going away again, but which prevented me from running for about 3 weeks after the marathon.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 21 years
Did you run in college or high school? Yes
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? I don’t really have a clue since I didn’t keep training logs for most of my life. My best guess is around 24,000 km. I ran consistently for all those years, but I was always a pretty low-mileage runner.
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? About 1900 km. My highest-mileage year ever for sure!
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? I ran about 15 races in the year before the marathon, which is typical for me. This was a mix of running races and triathlons. The running races were either cross-country or road, and varied from 5km to HM. The tris were sprint and olympic distance.
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 Every week I did: 1 interval session, 1 long run, and 2 easy runs. I also biked twice a week and swam about once a week.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? Yes
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I find that cross-training helps me have a slightly heavier training load without as much stress on my legs. As mentioned, I also do triathlon (though running is BY FAR my best sport) so I typically regularly bike and swim as well.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? I do speed work about once a week. I think this is fundamental to my being able to run fast. There have been a couple of times in my life when I’ve gone many months without and speedwork, and my running has always suffered. I value speedwork more than any other type of run. It’s also the most fun 😉
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Good luck! I hope you make it 🙂