Age (at the time of first BQ): 50
Height (at the time of first BQ): 5′ 11″
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 150
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Marine Corps
Tell us a little about the race. Reasonably good conditions. Mid-40’s to mid-50’s, sunny, single digit wind.
This was also my first marathon, so plenty of rookie mistakes. Went out too fast and did not hydrate enough. OK race through about 16 miles, then the wheels started coming off. Hit the wall at 21 and had to run/walk the final five miles. Very painful. I didn’t even know the BQ standard for M50-54 at the time (3:30). I read some article about the race and qualifying for Boston and decided to check the standards. My time was about six or seven minutes under so I decided to grab the opportunity presented.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Overall 34 years, with a 22-year break in the middle.
Did you run in college or high school? Yes
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? less than 10,000 miles
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1715
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 7
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, Generally five running workouts a week. One long run on the weekend in the 14-18 range with two 20+ runs in the six weeks before the marathon. Used a number of 5K’s for speed work along with some tempo work. Based on the layout of the Marine Corps marathon route I worked on long hills about once a 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? Some strength training with light weights. Should have done more.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. As noted above, the 5K races helped. I also used those to plug into a couple of the race predictor calculators to establish a rough goal pace. Used a few tempo runs to test that out.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Don’t repeat most of what I did! There are good training programs out there. Use them as a foundation. You can adapt them to fit you and your schedule, but they ground you in good, professional advice. Listen to your body. Better to take a day off than risk injury. Strength training/cross training is a key for most runners, if only to help avoid injury. Very likely they make you faster as well. Speed work is essential and needs to be offset by slower long runs. Join a running group or team, even if it’s just for the weekly or occasional long run.
If you are on the borderline for qualifying consider two things. A flat qualifying course and Nike Vaporflys. I think they are a big reason why Boston altered the standards last year. Finally, enjoy the journey and if you get the BQ, take it. The Boston experience is unique. It can be intimidating. Everyone is fast, the course is challenging and the conditions can be harsh but it will still rank high, if not at the top, of your marathon experiences.