Name: Michael Pearlman
Age (at the time of first BQ): 45
Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’5″
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 137
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Colfax Marathon (Denver)
Tell us a little about the race. This was my second time running this marathon. The previous year I had been running fairly strong until Mile 21, when I hit the wall and blew up in the final 5 miles to finish in 3:33. Weather was cooler the second year, with almost no wind. This time I was familiar with the course and had focused on finishing my long runs strong, running faster for the final few miles. This seemed to work as I didn’t fall apart in the final 10k this time, plus I was motivated by the realization at mile 21 that I had a chance to BQ.
Interestingly, I had a calf issue flare up about two weeks before the race, so I was super cautious during my taper and even skipped my final long run. To my amazement, I managed a 13-minute PR and a BQ.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 11 years
Did you run in college or high school? No
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5,000
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 900
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? Yes, Masters Marathon program from Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon”
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Not really. I swam the day after my long runs to aid in recovery but did not actively attempt any significant cross training.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Hudson’s Master’s program included some speed work and intervals, most of which I did on a treadmill.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? This was only my 3rd road marathon and I really didn’t expect to BQ, but I think a combination of factors worked in my favor. I was familiar with the course, the race conditions were favorable and I worked at improving my speed. The important thing to realize is that everyone is different. In my case, I never ran more than 40 miles a week during training and I ran 4 days a week at most. This allowed my body time to both adapt and recover and I was injury free during my training. If you are focused on quality runs I believe that can benefit you more than just quantity and junk miles. Learn about your body, and what works for you particularly if you are over 40 because you don’t recover as quickly.