How Nicolas Shaw Qualified for Boston Marathon

Name: Nicholas Shaw

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Baltimore

Tell us a little about the race. I had no idea I was going to do the race until the day before I was offered a free entry through the company I worked for. I was doing about 40-60 miles a week of essentially only base mileage. Since I knew it was a hard course and I had never run more than 16 miles at once I was expecting around a 3:15. I ended up going 2:54 while getting progressively faster throughout the race, needless to say I was pretty shocked.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 10 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 15,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Probably 15 most in the begining of the year (10K or shorter though)

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, Base mileage and lots of fruits and veggies

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Did some general strength and lifting

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Was only a collegiate track team at the beginning of the year, but once I graduated all I did was base except for the occasional set of hill sprints.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Don’t use generic training plans. Do your own research and figure out how your body works. There is too much genetic variance among individuals to follow cookie cutter training plans. If you can figure out the way your body adapts to certain stimuli you can optimize training.

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Ian’s Story of Qualifying for Boston Marathon

Name: Ian

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 47

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’7”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 137

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Eugene

Tell us a little about the race. I used a power meeter for this marathon training cycle and was quite confident that I could hold 237 watts the whole way and finish in 3:15. I came through the half at 1:36:50 and was running easy and relaxed, so I picked up the effort to 240-245 watts. Every half mile or so, I was picking off runners and felt better and better. The last 5K was my fastest and ended up running 3.5 minutes negative split to cross the finish at the Hayward Field track in 3:09:12. It was my 4th marathon and first in 4 years. Previous PR was 3:23.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 34 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 10,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 3

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1

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, Jim Vance’s Run With Power

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? Yes. Lots of Marathon- to Half Marathon-paced tempo work. 2 quality/speed workouts per week.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Consistency is key. You simply have to put in the daily miles and make sure to do a couple of quality runs per week. For example 3 x 30 minutes or 5 x 1 mile at marathon pace.

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Dan Stedman’s Story of Qualifying for Boston Marathon

Name: Dan Stedman

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 58

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6′

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 163

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Mohawk to Hudson Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. My wife and I trained for roughly 6 months, following a training program I found on line. I had been running more seriously, starting in 2015 while my wife was a 25 year committed runner. Running a marathon was on my bucket list and after finishing a half marathon in 1:36, I thought, if I continued running, I could complete a marathon and quite possibly qualify for Boston. My wife on the other hand had no interest in training for or running a marathon. She did however run with me on my long runs until one day, I said to her, “you’ve done all the long runs, you should sign-up and run the marathon. Too make a long story, short, we both BQ’d at our first marathon. My time was 3:35 and I struggled coming home. My wife, however, ran a great race until the last 2 miles where she really struggled with dehydration but still managed to run a 4:14 and 2nd in her age group. Quiet an accomplishment for someone who did not want to run. (She has since run 4 more marathons, winning her age group in the Buffalo Marathon).

For individuals who are looking to BQ, the Mohawk to Hudson is an ideal marathon. It is mostly downhill or flat as it follows the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. Some hills but they are not too difficult.

We both ran the 2018 Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, due to the weather, neither of us had a good race but I imagine many other runners were in the same boat as us.

I am looking forward to 2019 as I have already qualified. I’m hoping my wife can qualify as well.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 35, but seriously on 2 years.

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 11,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1,000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 10

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, found it on the internet

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? Yes

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? No. Walked a great deal most evenings (we run in the mornings). Walking gave us time to unwind before bedtime and helped with our recoveries.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Ran either a 5k or 10K about every other week. Some with our running club and others as unattached runners.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? When I started running seriously, I weighed 206 lbs. We changed our diet to more plant based (fruits and vegetables) with chicken or lean meat. Increasing my weekly mileage while tracking my caloric intake (myfitnesspal app) helped me to lose 40+ lbs. The weigh loss helped me to run longer and faster with less stress on my legs. Getting into a good BMI was critical to my success. I also started doing weight training to strengthen our cores (push-ups mostly for me while my wife did push-ups, squats, light weights and lunges).

Lastly, having a good running partner (my wife) helped me “win the battle of the mattress” and to get out on those days when I just wanted to stay in bed.

My recommendations are to: Try to lower your BMI. Eat healthy. Consider doing some weight training. Follow a running plan. Join a running club and/or find a partner that will push you when you need it.

Wishing you all the best in your quest to BQ. Peace.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Steve

Name: Steve

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 45

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’7”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 145

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Rock n Roll DC, March 2017

Tell us a little about the race. This was my first ever marathon, temps were 20F at the start, 30F at the finish with a biting wind! Nice course for the first 15 miles, the rest not so much. Got across the line in 3:20:17.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? On and off for 15 years but specifically for 18 months.

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 2500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1 x 70.3 tri, 2 x Duathlon, 1 x 13.1

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

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Swim, bike and strength training; I was also training for IM Lake Placid in July 17. Always did my long run the day after a long ride to introduce fatigue. Never ran more than 36 miles in one week leading up to this race.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, track training once per week. One long track training session per month

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Add more cross training to reduce run miles and prevent injury. Add a hilly run and a interval run to build strength. Don’t neglect the core! Practice nutrition on long runs.

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Kevin Cave’s Story of Qualifying of Boston

Name: Kevin Cave

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 27

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’2

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 192

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Austin

Tell us a little about the race. I ran 30 miles a week to train. I read Runner’s World. I ran even. It was a great day. I wish I could do it again with present fitness.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 9 months

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 1,100

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? About 800 in 9 months

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 12

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

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 was four sport athlete and still played hoops, soccer, and cycled.

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? Run more. It makes you faster.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Nathan

Name: Nathan

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5ft9

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 138 pounds

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? 138 pounds

Tell us a little about the race. The race had perfect weather for running, 50 degrees and overcast. When I was in the start corral I didn’t have so much of a nervous feeling but a more confident feeling of knowing my goal and how I was going to run the race. I knew that the last 10km of the race had the most hills so my goal was to run even splits throughout and not attempt a negative split, went through half way in 1:27 and just concentrated on hitting the splits, miles 21-24 was almost a gradual incline and was the slowest 5k of the race for me and I then had to stop for 3 minutes as I had cramp, I began to panick as each step caused me to cramp up but I managed to get to the 26 mile marker knowing that I was still on for sub-3 hours and almost had a sprint finish to ensure I did get under 3. I crossed the line in 2:59:30. For the next 3 months I had to wait for the registration for Boston to open and hope that more than a 5 minute cushion was sufficient and just a couple days after registering I got confirmation that I was Boston bound.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 2 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 2000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3

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 My training was not structured, I just ran for at least one hour per day, 6 days per week. Mostly easy runs but would do a long run every weekend of 16-20 miles always with some MP miles either in the middle of second half of the run.

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? I didn’t do much speed work per se but I would frequent a local Parkrun which was a nice change to just run fast over a relatively short distance, made MP much more manageable.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Be consistent with running during your training, don’t obsess over the stats, just run most days and do that for at least a few months. Run by feel and some days that will feel easier than others, run a variety of paces during your training. When you turn up for your BQ attempt be confident and focus on how good you will feel when you achieve your goal.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Vanessa Jimenez

Name: Vanessa Jimenez

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 25

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’6

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 125

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Napa Valley Marathon  

Tell us a little about the race. It was amazing weather for the race: low to mid 30’s at the start and low wind. I started out slower than I wanted for the 1st mile because of the crowd of people, but hit my stride by mile 2. From there on I just zoned in on what I had been doing in training. I took gels at miles 6,13, and 19 and rotated between Gatorade and water at aid stations. I averaged around 7:50 pace up until mile 22 when an excruciating side cramp killed some of the fun. From then until the finish it was all I could do to just keep moving along. I’m not proud to say that I did walk about 100 feet somewhere around mile 24 but I picked it back up and continued on, hitting my goal of a first marathon BQ at 3:30:40!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Off and on since middle school- 13 years-ish

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? No idea

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Not sure- about 500 miles total since I began training for the race

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Just the marathon and a 5k about 8 months prior

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 Higdons novice 2

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 teach and take many Pure Barre classes which is a fantastic low impact cross training for running

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? No, the only speedwork I did was some tempo runs

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Set a realistic goal, but let yourself dream a little. Do the training and trust what you’ve already discovered your body can do. Growing up as a dancer, I view a race as a performance. Follow everything you did in rehearsal, just throw in that extra level of sparkle and passion, and if you screw a few things up, there can always be another performance.Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art