Name: Justin J.
Age (at the time of first BQ): 37
Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’10
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 162
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? St. Jude Memphis Marathon 2019
Tell us a little about the race. I ran a 2:49:06. It was my first marathon so I don’t have anything to compare it to in terms of other marathons. The weather was perfect, around 40F and totally overcast with no wind to speak of. The course is pretty fast with just a few rolling hills and a couple of small overpasses. It is my hometown marathon so I was pretty familiar with most of the course and had ran different parts of the course over the years. I went out conservatively since it was my first marathon and ended up negative splitting by a little more than a minute. Felt strong until the last 5K when I could tell I was running out of fuel. I took 4 Gu’s during the race and should probably have taken one more. My goals were (A) finish healthy, (B) qualify for Boston, (C) sub 2:55. So I was very happy to hit them all.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? I ran track and played other sports in HS, but didn’t run more than 3 consecutive miles until 2010.
Did you run in college or high school? Yes
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 4000 miles?
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1700ish
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Several (5 half marathons, 6 5Ks, 4miler, 5miler, 10K, 10miler)
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, I didn’t follow any plan, but I tried to average 60-65 miles during the weeks I didn’t race and 40-50 during the weeks I did race. During non-race weeks I would run 6 or 7 days a week with one 8-10 mile tempo, one long run (18 to 23 miles) and one speed day with 400 or 800 repeats, and easy days between. Race weeks were similar but without the speed work and usually a shorter long run and a day off.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I started my training cycle with weight lifting, plyo and drills, but stopped cross training around 4 months before my marathon.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Speed work definitely played a role, but I think doing so many races was even more important because it is so hard to simulate a race during training.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? For me, the key was upping my mileage by slowing down. I had always ran too fast on all my runs so it was impossible for me to get in the amount of mileage necessary to feel confident to cover 26.2. What’s funny, is that when I slowed down and added mileage, I was able to not only run a marathon, but I PR’d at every distance other than the 5K. That’s my next goal.