How Lauren D qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name:  Lauren D

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 30

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Sugarloaf Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Sugarloaf Marathon was my second marathon; I ran my first at Baystate in October 2016 and I think I was just on the verge of 3:35 at that point if everything went perfectly, but I had a tough day (chest cold and then nausea/vomiting) and finished walk/jogging in a disappointing 3:48 and change. After that race I put in a TON of work for Sugarloaf, had a decent but not 100% perfect race day, and all the work paid off. I toed the start line perfectly healthy, nutrition strategy was on point, and I paced the race really well (1:46:36 first half, 1:46:05 second half). The first half felt easy even with the big climb in miles 8-10, the last 5 or so miles were torture in the sun, but I knew if I kept moving I’d have the BQ at that point so I just got it done. I slowed a little in the last few miles but had enough gas left for a hard kick at the very end.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 5 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? ~6500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 10 – not all goal races/100% effort, 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, Designed by my coach – medium-long, long, workout, and 3-4 easy days.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Not really. I strength trained a little but dropped it in favor of more mileage pretty early on (time constraints).

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes – lots of hill sprints and strides early on, a very few track workouts (mostly 10k pace or slower) in the last 6 weeks. Longer tempos at marathon pace or a little faster throughout training. Timed intervals on the road – between 10K-HM pace with recovery just a little slower than marathon pace. HILLS. I didn’t run the hills hard outside of the short sprints, but I ran a lot of them and especially tried to get them in toward the end of medium-long and long runs when I was tired.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Keep working! Lifetime mileage and a healthy dose of mental toughness will get you there.

Kate’s thoughtful recollections on when she qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name: Kate

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 27

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’3

Weight (at the time of first BQ): I don’t believe this is helpful information for other woman to see- one’s best racing weight is very individual- I will say I was five pounds heavier and healthier when I ran my second and faster BQ

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Loco Marathon in New Hampshire

Tell us a little about the race. It was my first marathon, and based on my race times from my previous half-marathons, my predicted finish time was somewhere between 3:40-3:45. I set a pretty easy goal- just to finish under 4 hours. However, at the starting line, I decided to line up with the 8:00min/mile pacer. Besides bonding with him and learning each other’s life stories, I kept up easily for the first half. We ran with a big group and it was so fun talking to everyone- I was having a blast. The course was two loops, so we got a new pacer on the second loop. Sadly, we didn’t get to bond as much as I started losing him at mile 16. By mile 20, I thought my chances of BQing were over but I just kept going. Back then, I did not use a GPS watch and had no clue what my pace was. At mile 23, I started getting really nauseous due to not taking in enough nutrition. I kept telling myself to just be happy about getting across the finish line. At mile 26, I see my fiance (who ran the half marathon that day). I’m so excited and I can’t wait to hear him cheer for me. The first words out of his mouth are, “Hurry up! Hurry up!” I was like “Excuse me?!!” I couldn’t believe he had the nerve to say that to me at mile 26 of a marathon! However, when I looked up at the time, I was at 3:33. He totally did the right thing. I finished in 3:33:27, -1:33 the qualifying time. He knew that if I missed it, I’d be so disappointed. When I found out later on that to get into Boston, you often need a faster qualifying time than a -1:33, I decided to run another one in May. Thankfully, I ran a 3:30:32 in Martha’s Vineyard, so hopefully I will be going to the Boston Marathon in 2018!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 13 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? I have no clue. I didn’t get a GPS watch until Christmas 2016! But a lot!

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Not many. I took a break from racing for a bit to focus on graduate school but was still running for fun.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? two 5ks, two half-marathon

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? Yes

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Absolutely and I believe it is key to running injury free. I almost never run more than 4-5 times per week. A sports medicine doctor years ago gave me the advice to never run every single day as your knees need a break. I take at least one day completely off, and cross train at least 1-2 days every week. I attend cycling classes and an interval training class at the Oak Square Y in Brighton, MA which are a lot of fun and tough workouts. Spin class mimics running since you incorporate sprints and hills into the workout. Interval training basically a strength and cardio mix- very challenging but a lot of fun. My fiance is a weight-lifter so he has gotten me doing the bench press, overhead press, deadlift, and pull-ups (I avoid squats due to fear of hurting my knee). We also have an elliptical in our apartment which I use quite a bit.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, but not as much as it should have. I tried to do a tempo run once a week or some form of fartlek, but I didn’t follow a training plan so often my runs were just for distance. For my second marathon, I incorporated speed work in 1-2 per week, and believe it helped a lot.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Take care of your mind and body. Running a marathon is so much a mental game as well as a physical one.

Make your miles matter. I’m a PhD candidate in Theology. During races, I like to dedicate each mile to a person or group of people, and pray for them at that part of the race. Or sometimes I do a mile in memory of someone special who has passed away. Thinking of certain people often gives me courage in the middle of the race, especially toward the end.

A lot of things seem counter intuitive and you really have to trust the experts. Tapering before a race can be hard, but your body needs it. Its so tempting to do more than you should, but you have to resist. Make sure you are taking in enough nutrition. Finally, always take the time to recover after a race. I learned this the hard way. I tried to cross-train like a maniac right after my first marathon and ended up with a knee injury that put me in physical therapy and left me unable to run at all for a month. Second time around I took two weeks off, and when I went back, I felt totally fine!

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Aaron Fox

Name: Aaron Fox

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 41

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’3″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 192

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Mountains 2 Beach

Tell us a little about the race. This is a point to point race, about 700 ft net downhill that I specifically targeted for BQ. I needed 3:15, realistically 3:12, and trained/targeted sub 3. I started off with the 3:02 pacer, and left that group about mile 8. Felt great through 16-17 miles (half in 1:29:07), then the sun and miles got me, and I faded a bit the last 10k. Ended up 3:03:02 and ringing the BQ gong felt great.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 4.5 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 9000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 6

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? Yes

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? none

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? my coach loves strides, so I did a lot of those. once a week I did sessions of a couple min on, a couple min off, with the ratio increasing throughout the plan. but there were no prescribed paces. All effort based.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? For those of us with no running background, I really think it comes down to just an accumulation of miles. The specific plan can help a little, but at some point it just comes down to having thousands and thousands of miles in your legs. Good luck!

How Matt Davies Qualified for Boston Marathon

Name: Matt Davies

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 179 Lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Calgary Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. I came in to the race with three goals
A sub-3
B hit the BQ standard
C PR (3:10:40).

The race weekend doubled as the Canadian half marathon championships, in addition to hosting a 50km road Ultra there was a special Canada 150km road race so the start line was packed.

Overall the race went according to plan, I ran basically the first 40 minutes in a big group of marathoners and 50km people and stuck around the 90 minute half marathoners until we branched off.

The pace felt comfortable all the way up to about km 36 when we were out and exposed on a little out and back. The heat and fatigue finally caught up to me.

Not panicking though I dropped my pace ever so slightly and knew I could get into the finish under my B goal time. Passed about a dozen people in the last two km’s which felt good.

Chip 3:02:53
Gun 3:03:03
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? About two and a half years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? About 4500 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1003 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3 (two half’s and a 5km)

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, hard days hard, easy days easy

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 tried to get to the gym a couple times a week but nothing serious or committed.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes.

A lot of work at Marathon pace and a lot of short intervals @ 5km/10km pace.

This really made marathon pace feel comfortable on race day.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Put in the work. You won’t see results from one good workout but put together 12-18 weeks of solid work with proper recovery and you will really surprise yourself.

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – SR

Name: SR

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 45

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’0

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 195

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Phoenix Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Goal was to run even pace of 7:35 in first half and 7:37 in second half to take advantage of the net drop in altitude. Got to 20 miles feeling great and my last 10k was my fastest.

Ended up running 7:36 average which was my goal pace.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 6 Years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 6 Years

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 2

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 Hanson’s modified with more mileage and fast finish long runs.

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 cross training with several dry needling sessions that really helped out when my bad hamstring or calves got tight.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Mixture of 400, 800, and mile repeats once a week.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I made a huge leap in endurance when I started running easy runs easy. Until I made that change, I was blowing up around mile 20. My tempo run paces were identical or a few seconds slower than past training periods.

Corbin’s story of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

At 17, Corbin might be the youngest BQ(Q) entry ever.

Name: Corbin

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 17

Height (at the time of first BQ): 6’0″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Bayshore Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. This was my second marathon and it took place on a very pleasant day for northern Michigan. Mid 50’s at the start with little wind. The course is quite flat with just a couple small rolling hills. I kept right on 7:00/mile pace for the first 13. Then I put down about 10 miles at 6:40 to 6:50 pace simply due to feeling good. Of course that caught up to me for the last few, which were closer to 8 minute miles, but I still finished under 3:03.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 5 Years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

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? 1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 5

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 Focused on high mileage, ran modified work outs with the track team

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Nope

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I was part of my high school track team at the time. I ran most of my speed workouts with them, often just doubling the workout’s distance while running at a slightly slower pace.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I think an essential part of BQ training is consistency. Running almost everyday for months before the race and getting up to the high mileage weeks are more important than any single workout or long run.

How Max Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Damn, this dude ran a lot of miles at a young age…

Name: Max

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6′ 1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Lincoln Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Hot (76 at finish) day on a relatively flat course. Inclines and declines are very slight until about 16 miles. The last half marathon is a spoke out and bank with the out portion being uphill and the back being downhill. There is also no shade on the back half (ugh)

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 8 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 13,000 mi

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2,200 mi

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 2

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, Hansons

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 lifted weights 3x/week for the first 2/3 of my program, but only did bodyweight workouts the last month as an attempt to increase my “peaking”.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Pretty much just basic interval workouts and tempo runs a few seconds faster than race pace. Tempo runs great for building confidence

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? In my opinion increasing mileage is the best route to take towards decreasing your time. I ran about 50-60 mpw during my training and wish I could have been in the 60-70 range.

Also in general, you can never hydrate too much.