Name: Mike R
Age (at the time of first BQ): 38.6
Height (at the time of first BQ): 69″
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 137
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Flying Pig
Tell us a little about the race. My BQ race was my second marathon and second Flying Pig. I had to drop 20 minutes to qualify but my training leading up to the race was sound and my 5K times had dropped by a few minutes.
On race day I remember going out too fast as usual and it taking several miles to settle in to a pace I thought I could hold the rest of the race. By mile 23 I was on pace to finish about 5 minutes below the BQ time for my age group (3:15:59 at the time).
Miles 24-26.2 were very difficult. The race conditions for early May were on the colder side. It was 43-45 degrees for the entire race with a light rain for the first 10 miles. There was also a 12-15 mph headwind. The wind and the cold/damp conditions combined with the typical fatigue late in the race had my pace fall from mid 7s to mid 8s late in the race. My last mile was my slowest at 8:47.
I think I realized as I was approaching the finish line that I would qualify but was too fatigued to celebrate. I believe I had a mild case of hypothermia at that point.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? About 2.5 years
Did you run in college or high school? No
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? About 1,000 miles
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 745 miles
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 5 races
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, Hal Higdon Novice Plan
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? No
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? The Higdon novice program barely got me to a BQ but given my level of experience, the lower mileage is what I needed. It was the same plan I used in my first marathon the year before. I have since had much more success with Higdon’s intermediate program and the Pfitz 18/55 plan mainly due to the prescribed speedwork and more experience. Try to hit the track and run the tempos when your plan calls for them.
As always, if you don’t stay healthy, you can’t run the miles and then you feel like you need to play catch-up. That doesn’t always work. As I have gotten older, I’ve found that mixing in softer surfaces helps to avoid injury. My mileage now consists of about 50% trails.
Don’t let the weather keep you from running. I did 109 of my 437 training miles on a treadmill the year I first qualified. Spring marathons mean training through some nasty winter weather sometimes.
If you can, try to run the same course in training. Get to know the course and know when you need to slow down or are able to pick up the pace. The Flying Pig is hilly but the big hills are in the first 8 miles.