The BQ(Q) – Dan Varga

Really pleased to share Dan’s story of running a three hour marathon after losing fifty pounds! Inspiring stuff, Dan, thanks!

 Name

Dan Varga

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

38

Height:

6’1’

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

183

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Utah Valley

Tell us a little about the race.

I went out today with the goal of keeping my pace in the 6:40’s as long as I could in hopes of breaking 3:00 in my first official marathon. My split times were 6:49, 6:43, 6:43, 6:54, 6:49, 6:49, 7:12, 7:21 (stopped to get rocks out of shoe), 6:43, 6:41, 6:50, 6:37, 13 -6:40, 6:47, 6:52, 6:33, 6:33, 6:39, 6:40, 6:49, 6:45, 8:00 (emergency bathroom), 7:01, 6:55, 7:07, 1:41

I felt great until mile 23 when my heart rate finally got into the 170’s and suddenly I couldn’t keep my speed up anymore. My heartrate was basically in the 150’s until mile 22. I did get attacked by a bird twice by the golf course. I ran it’s wing into the back of my head as it dive bombed me. Scared me, maybe that is what drove my heart rate up and over the edge. That’s right, blame the bird.

Overall, I am very pleased, just wish I would have worn the gaiters and didn’t have my bowel issues and then I would have broken 3:00. There’s always St. George. It was great to run into my wasatch back team at the mouth of the canyon to provide some needed energy, and then my family and parents came and watched me go several times from there until the end.

I ended up 39th overall and 9th in my age group 35-39 I think it was broken down to. Not a bad first effort I would say. Look forward to doing some actual speed work and see what I can really do for St. George”

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

15 months

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

1500

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

 

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, 10 Miles a day, 3-4 days a week. A couple of speed miles. 10 miles easy, 10 miles hard on weekend long 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 or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Some Tempo Miles. 10 mile Speed Run. Occasional shorter races.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Miles. Lots of miles, slow, medium, some fast.
The 2 years I trained I used a heart rate monitor all the time to judge effort.
My first marathon I tried to run at a 155 or 160 heart rate for as long as possible, whatever that speed was. It eventually went up (mile 22), and the speed went down. Ran 3:01 my first marathon after losing 50 pounds and running 3-4 times a week for 15 months.

The BQ(Q) Rob Bond

Name

Rob Bond

twitter: @bondrobbond Instagram:@rojobo007

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

23

Height:

6’1

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

175

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

2013 Baystate Marathon

 

Tell us a little about the race.

The race went pretty well for me. I was able to finish in 2:51 and although I was really feeling it in my legs for the last 4 miles, I never truly hit the wall and only ran a positive split by a few minutes. I ran with a group for a lot of the race and that really helped to take my mind off of the run.
I had a pretty good buildup to my first marathon. I started the cycle hoping for a BQ, but training had gone well and I had a goal of 2:53 by the time the race arrived. I had been running consistent 50 mile weeks for a few months and had one week where I ran 70 miles.
Before the race, one of my coworkers told me that I would need more fuel than I thought, so I ended up taking 5 energy gels during the race. I didn’t quite get nutrition right, and had to stop to use the bathroom once, but I think taking in more nutrition helped me in the end.
I was lucky that the weather was just about perfect.

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?

3000

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

2000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

5-10

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, coolrunning’s advanced marathon program

 

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 didn’t do much extra cardio work besides running in the buildup to the race. Before I started running I would go to the gym regularly for my exercise. As I started to run more, I still made an effort to go to the gym and do some running-related things like lunges, core work, and hip and hamstring exercises.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes. I would do, on average, a tempo run and a track session per week. The track session might have some intervals between 400 and a mile, and the tempo stuff would be 3+ miles usually. Every other run was at an easier pace, so probably 80%+ of my miles were easy running.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

I believe it is really important to set goals in your hobbies. Whether that goal is to get a certain time, run a little every day, or complete a mile without stopping having a goal is, in my opinion, key to getting the most out of yourself.
As a lifetime lacrosse player, I first started running after graduating college and losing my outlet for athletic competition. Having a plan and a goal keeps me focused and gets me out of bed in the morning on days when I could have hit the snooze button. I signed up for my first Marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston. I didn’t know what I was capable of, but I believed that if I could follow a process then I would at least be able to say I gave it my all. I believe training for Boston is a great goal and I hope all of you working towards it either get the mark or are able to say that you tried your best and got the most out of the process along the way.
I had some good advice from friends that most of the runs should be pretty comfortable and slow. Running long slow distance as I built up my mileage base was key to getting the endurance required to complete my marathon. The faster stuff is important, but without the base I would not have achieved my goal. I found it helpful to run some longer intervals at just faster than marathon pace. For example, 2×3 miles as part of a 10 mile run. This gave me confidence that I could run the marathon pace for the full distance.

The BQ(Q) Data Analysis Posts

This page collects all the posts I’ve done analyzing the data from the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire.

  1. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Part 1: Overview
  2. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Part 2: Training Programs
  3. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Part 3: Speed Work
  4. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Part 4: Cross training
  5. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire: Popular Marathons

The BQ(Q) – Kathy H

Thanks for your response, Kathy!

Name

Kathy H

Sex:

Female

Age (at the time of first BQ):

45

Height:

5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

142

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

California International Marathon

What was your finishing time?

Tell us a little about the race.

(didn’t answer)

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?

(didn’t answer)

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

1016

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

4

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?

Some. I half ironman triathlons May-September before the December marathon. Those are the only races I do; no running races.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes. Integral to achieving the race time.

 

Data Analysis of Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Part III: Speed Work

speed work

We know that most (over 84%!) of the BQ respondents did speed work as part of their training, but what kind of speed work? Let’s find out:

image (4)

 Some runners did 800 repeats, quite a few did mile repeats, but tempo runs was the most common workout with marathon pace runs But broadly speaking, the theme seems to be longer efforts. This makes sense to me for the length of a marathon effort improving the upper end of your aerobic ability seems keys. I’ll definitely be working these kind of efforts into my training.

 Want some inspiration? Here’s Meb on a 12 mile tempo run. Yours may be slightly slower.

Another note on the data is appropriate here. Many people who said they did speed work, didn’t tell us what kind, and people used different nomenclature for similar workouts. I lumped together workouts like “tempo run” with “lactate threshold runs” and 800 repeats with Yasso 800s. I realize there may be some difference here, and am open to doing this in a different way. Please comment with your thoughts.

 

The BQ(Q) – Christopher B

So here’s the first response from the new online BQ(Q) form. Thanks, Chris, for taking part!

Name

Christopher B

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

27

Height:

5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

165 lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?

Lehigh Valley.

Tell us a little about the race.

ran a 3:01:08

Fastest miles were the last two dropping from a 6:52-6:54 average to a 6:42 and then a 6:29

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

Off and on for 11 years, consistently for 2

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

??

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

1500 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

11

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?

No

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes. Track work Mondays and Wednesdays. Between a failed BQ attempt and LeHigh Valley, ran some more tempo work for the 6 weeks in between.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

 

The BQ(Q) Stephanie W

The women 45-50 age group here at the BQ(Q) has been pretty sparse, really happy to add Stephanie’s story to the mix! Thanks for taking part, Stephanie!

Name: Stephanie W www.Joyinthefire.com, @IRun4MyCrazy.

Sex: Female

Age (at time of first BQ): 50

Height: 5’5”

Weight: 112

 

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

 

Marathon where I got my first BQ: “Leading Lady’s Marathon” Spearfish, S. Dakota, 8/17/14. My finishing time was 3:59:19. It took place downhill in the lovely Spearfish Canyon. As the name states, it is an all woman marathon. I was a little worried about the mountain air & not being used to it, but it wasn’t a problem at all. I finished 25 out of 126 finishers. The marathon was/is, the only distance offered. What was nice about this race is that I had actually paid to go the prior year but got injured, but the $ carried over to the following year. I may not have been as ready to have raced in 2013 anyway. I couldn’t have picked a better race to qualify.

 

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

 

I had been running for 7 years prior to my BQ. Most of those early years was just learning the basics and being more of a “recreational” runner. I got serious with my training after my first marathon in Kansas City in 2011. I realized that being a “recreational runner with no plan” was not going to get me the results I needed. I did not run in college or high school. Quite the contrary, I was clumsy & non-athletic!

 

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

Since I never really kept track of yearly mileage until a couple of years ago, I am not sure what my approximate lifetime mileage was leading up to BQ.

 

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

I can only say that that particular year(2014) I ended up with 1,288 miles for the year. It looks like I will exceed that by a little this year. I ran 2013 miles in 2013 (My goal).

 

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

 

I ran one half marathon, and one other marathon (for training purposes) in 2014 leading up to August 2014. Lots of miles/distances covered on my own. August 2013 to August 2014, I had ran an additional marathon & a couple 5k/4 milers.

 

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

 

I did not use a canned program but incorporated all of the “canned” programs I had used in years prior. My biggest influence came from Jeff Galloway and incorporating the run/walk method into my long runs. Psychologically it helped me to get through those runs. I also started listening to my body and rested when I felt I needed to and pushed harder when I felt like it regardless of what the “plan” was for any given day.

 

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

I did not start running with a club/group until this past spring (2015). I did however, use an online coach for the first quarter of the year 2014. His training outline kept me accountable & he utilized a lot of running by time instead of specific miles. I did a lot of treadmill running because it was in the winter, but I feel that having a professional coach helped enhance my training even if it was for a short time.

 

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

I didn’t do a lot of cross training except for bicycling & ab work. I feel that strengthening the core is very important for runners. I did abs every other day and biked 3 times a week.

 

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

I think speed work was instrumental in being able to finish strong. As much as I despise it, I was able to finish with a little kick in my step. I did “Yasso 800s” at least 2x weekly at the local track. Those with fartleks, tempo runs, etc. gave me the variation I needed. Also doing a couple long runs back to back on consecutive days every 2 weeks gave me the ability to keep going on tired legs.

 

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Final thoughts: If a BQ is your goal, (and obviously it is the crowning achievement for most of us runners), never give up. Never tell yourself for one second that you “can’t.” I ran Boston 2015 and have qualified 2 more time since-August 29, 20l5 at Nebraska State Fair Marathon with a time of 3:20:00- (unfortunately not enough cushion to get in Boston 2016 with only 40 seconds). I then ran Twin Cities on 10/04/2015 and finished 3:55:20. Hoping with a 0:4:40 cushion I will have the privilege of running Boston again in 2017. Believe in yourself and keep on keepin’ on! Champions are made when you think you have nothing left in the tank!