The BQ(Q) – Simon O

Its marathon season now and the BQ stories are coming in fast and furious. Thanks, Simon, for filling out the questionnaire and telling us about his BQ!

After reading the story of my team mate and friend, Greg, I would like to share my story on your blog as well. My BQ was very recent. It was achieved just 12 days ago (October 19th, 2014). Please review my answer, and please consider posting it on your blog. I would like to inspire many runners that nothing is impossible- I am not a born runner (nor did I started running in high school or college). 

Name: Simon O

Blog: http://simonongpassiontorun.blogspot.ca/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimonOng88

Athlinks: https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/simong89/Profile

 Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 26

Height: 5 feet 8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 158

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

Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2014- Toronto was my third marathon in my three years of running. My first two marathons were in Calgary with the following times: 4:38:32 (2012) and 3:57:37 (2013). Toronto was my first marathon, in which I followed a training schedule from beginning to end. During the training phase, all my workout time(s) were pointing toward a time of 2:55, which was my goal going into the race. The week before race day didn’t really go to plan – I was busy on my feet, and did not get enough rest. Race day came, and to be honest I was not really expecting a BQ that day! I was lucky to have my assistant coach (Mark Martens) and the rest of my running teammates (the Adrenaline Rush Athletic Team) there to give me the extra confident boost. The first 32k was at a controllable and conservative pace (4:12-4:15 min/km). It was windy that day (I think the wind were going around 20-25k/hr). Fortunately, my assistant coach, Mark, told me to draft behind him, and that he will keep me on pace, and if ever he could no longer hold his pace that I should run without him. By km 39, our pace dropped to 4:20min/km. By km 40 to the end, both Mark and I were digging deep. We were both surprised to finish under 3 hours in such windy conditions, not to mention a slight uphill close to the end. Another team mate of ours (Morris Roberts) finished under 3 hours, and was the only one in his age category (55-59) who have done it that day.

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

As some of you might have read the “No Limit” article in the Running Room magazine (link:http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/f592f3f8#/f592f3f8/58), I was 230 lb guy before I have started running in late 2011. Back in high school or college, I am a fat nerd who spent most of my time playing chess, and eating fast food. No athletic background, and was not interested in doing any sport (so, running was the last thing on my mind back then).  It was when I experienced some health problems that I began taking on running as my way to get back in shape. To this day, I am glad that I made that decision. Running is now my passion, and I could not go a single day without thinking of running. Thanks to my friends (you know who you are) and family for continuing to give me support and encouragement!

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

In my three years of running, I have probably logged up to 3,700 miles (around 6000 km).

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

I have logged in 1171 miles (1886 km) from the first week of marathon training (June 22, 2014) to the day before the BQ race (October 18, 2014). Most of these miles were done in group (team) runs. I love team runs, as it offers motivation, accountability, and some competitions (in our group long runs, we often joked about ‘who’s the winner’, as we raced each other in the last kilometre of the long run). Overall, it sure beats running alone with an iPod/mp3, when you have someone to talk to, or someone to joke around.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

I ran 22 races prior to Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The race ranged from 5k up to 25k (and from road races to cross-country trail 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?

I followed a training program outlined by my coach (Janice Mccaffrey). In the first few weeks of training, the main focus was to build strength, aerobic conditioning and speed. The paces were very conservative, and I learned how to run by effort rather than pace during this phase of training (especially on the hills). Afterwards, there was a transition phase where the focus was to improve lactate threshold. Following this phase was the “goal race specific phase”, where the legs had the opportunity to experience the goal marathon pace. But, I would say the most important part of the training program is the tapering phase, as our running performance improves during rest.

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

Yes! I run with the Adrenaline Rush Athletic Club, run by an awesome and amazing coach, Janice Mccaffrey. Ever since I joined this team in Dec 2013, I have been obtaining 5k, 10k, half marathon, and now marathon PB (and BQ). Coach Janice has a vast knowledge in running, and I am fortunate to be taught by her.

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

During my marathon training, I rarely do any cross training, with the exception of dragon boat paddling (which improves my core somewhat). In my opinion, the only way to be good in running is to do more running.

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

Yes, I think the speed and lactate threshold workouts play an important role. The paces for these workouts are way faster than marathon pace; hence, it makes marathon pace feel much easier and attainable on race day.

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

My final words: 

“Train hard, and smart! Follow your training plan, but also listen to your body. Come race day, it is important to step back and spend some time thinking of all your training. You should tell yourself in front of the mirror (honestly, I did this on race day!) that you are fit and you can do this! You must have faith in your training (as training does not lie!), but more important you must have faith in yourself. Have fun, and enjoy your journey to achieving a BQ – it worth it at the end!”

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The BQ(Q) – Luke R

I love reading everyone’s BQ story, but I especially love sharing the stories from my teammates on Prospect Park Track Club. Congratulations on a great race, Luke!

Name: Luke R

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 38

Height: 6 ft 1

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160

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

I was fortunate to have qualified for Boston on my first marathon attempt, which was at Steamtown last month (October 2014).  I finished in 3:13:57 which meets the 2016 qualifying standard for the 40-45 age group (I turn 40 in November 2015).

The first 18 miles were a joy, the next 4 an increasing slog and the last 4 a sheer test of will.  Thanks to the huge downhills in the first 8 miles by mile 22 my quads were screaming at me to stop.  Thankfully nothing cramped up so with an eye on my pace band and some positive self-talk I managed to convince my legs to give me a few more miles.

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

I started running in late 2011 (3 years ago).

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

Approximately 1400 miles

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

For the 12 months leading up to the race I ran approximately 1000 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

For the 12 months leading up to the race I ran 12 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?

I followed a customized 18 week Run SMART program designed by Jack Daniels.  http://runsmartproject.com/coaching/training-plans/

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

I did most of my speed work and some of my long runs with a running club, Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC).  The Run SMART program functioned somewhat as a coach, since it automatically updated training paces based on my race results.

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

On the advice of a physical therapist I integrated some lunges into my training program for injury prevention. Nothing other cross training.

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

The Run SMART program included one speed work session per week.  This initially consisted of shorter track repeats, building up to longer efforts at 5k pace.

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

Needless to say, you need to do the work.  But you also need to get to the starting line healthy. For me this meant choosing a plan with conservative weekly mileage (in my case this was a maximum of 45 miles) and ensuring that my easy runs were truly easy (i.e. less than 75% max HR).

Other than that, I lost some weight which I think helped and I also got a running gait analysis which provided some insight into bio mechanical issues that I could work on to improve efficiency and reduce risk of injury.

The BQ(Q) – Jane

Name: Jane

Sex: Female

Age: 45

Height: 5.4

Weight: 116.8

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

Melbourne Marathon, Australia 3:53:31 Debut marathon after running 4 half marathons over 18 months. I would have been happy with sub 4:30, I ran without pacing (no watch), no music and ran on my own, just listening to my footfall and breathing.

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

2 years

I was a ballerina, and then played some netball. At the age of 45 I decided to try jogging

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

4000km (about 40-50km per week)

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

2000km

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one?

I followed My Asics online plan. I ran about 4 times per week, Monday night tempo, Wednesday speed at the track, Thursday easy and Saturday morning long run.

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

I do run with a recreational running group for company.

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

I do a strength routine at home, mostly bodyweight exercises and some cycling.

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

I only started speed work about a year ago; focus more on endurance and long runs.

The BQ(Q) – Bob E

Name: Bobby E IG: bobby_elsinger

Gender: Male

Age: 40

Height: 5’6

Weight: 148

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

I qualified at the Chicago Marathon on my first try.   My finishing time was 3:01:20.   Heading into the race I was very confident in attaining a BQ.  My actual goal was 2:55 and based on a 1:23 half marathon in Ventura.  The final two weeks I started to get greedy and wanted to run sub 2:52.  My first half was 1:25 and I felt pretty confident in 2:52 but by mile 18 I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.   By mile 22 I was laboring pretty hard and started experiencing cramps and had to walk a few times.  I didn’t push the last two miles because a cramp attack might not me out of a BQ time.  I finished with a sense of relief but also disappointed that my greed for 2:52cost me a chance to run sub 3:00.

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

I had run sporadically after graduating from college but it didn’t last more than a few months.  In the summer of 2012 I started to run more consistently because I joined a few running clubs.  I didn’t start running more than twice a week until the fall of 2013.  Did you run in college or high school? I ran four years of high school (100-1600m) and college track (800m).  I did three years of college cross country (8K) because I studied in Hong Kong for one semester.

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

I have no idea but my mileage the last two years since I’ve started running had been under 20 miles per week.

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

Around 900 but I lost about three months due to running related injuries.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?  

November Turkey Trot: 5K, February: 5K, April 5K,  September: 1/2 Marathon, October: 10K

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one?

I didn’t sign up for the Chicago Marathon until April and then training was interrupted by plantar fasciitis.  I lifted and did elliptical or bike for a few weeks.  I then jumped into the Hanson’s Marathon Plan which stressed pace and quality but my mileage was low because of PF.  I gradually built up my mileage.  Started out high teens and added about three miles per week on the front end in four to five miles per week near the end.

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

Living in LA offers a variety of running groups, clubs, or crews so I was able to jump in with other runners almost any day except for Friday and Sunday. Additionally I trained with a group of from my Tuesday night running group who were also focusing on Boston.  Two of them were also hoping to qualify for Boston.  We piggy backed on the workouts of one of our runners who had hired a coach.

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

Yes, I usually lift weights twice a week.  The full body workout incorporates front squats and dead lifts.  As training became more intense I lifted only once a week.  Yoga was inconsistent though out the training cycle but I was able to do it at 1-2 times a month.

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

Yes, my training group did speed work twice a week, mostly based on 10K and half marathon pace.  In addition I did strides and form drills approximately once a week.

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

  • Workout with others.  They will keep you on track, motivated, and push you to be better.
  • Running fast is more than just miles.  Strength, flexibility, drills, and speed work are just as important as miles.  I see so many runners who leave loads of time out on the course because of issues with form, strength, and flexibility.  Becoming stronger, more flexible, and quicker will chop significant chunks of your marathon time without logging more miles.
  • Pace work and interval work is very important.  I know so many runners who neglect this and think they can run 20-30 seconds faster per mile on race day without doing the requisite pace and speed work.
  • Follow a program and stick to it.  Following something haphazardly will usually end up with a similar outcome.
  • Carefully pick a program or coach based on what can work for you. Pick the brains of people who are significantly faster and more experienced than you for leads.
  • Listen to your body.  Most running injuries are from overuse and can be kept in check with sensible time off.  You won’t lose much fitness taking three days to even a week off but you will lose fitness if you have to take a month or more off because your injury got worse.
  • Improve your form.  So many people lose massive amounts of time due to poor form/mechanics and set themselves up for injuries because of sloppy form.  Get stronger and more flexible through hips and glutes.
Bob getting his BQ at Chicago!

Bob getting his BQ at Chicago!

The BQ(Q) – Lulu Y

Name: Lulu Y (thelittleyarisdiary.wordpress.com)

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 40

Height: 5’3

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 125

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
I qualified at California International Marathon.  This was my 3rd attempt at a BQ.  My finishing time was a 3:40:11 (needed 3:45).  CIM is billed as ‘the fastest race in the West’ and it may very well be.  The course is a gradual drop over the 26.2 miles with rolling hills, which help dampen the strain on the quads.  It was cold throughout (27-35F) which worked great for me.  I ran with the 3:45 pacer the whole time, but not realizing that he was running faster than 3:45.  He ended up getting us a great cushion.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I had been running off and on for 10 years, but only consistently running for the 5 years prior to the CIM race.  I had to take 6 months off in 2010 to nurse an achilles tendinitis.
I never really seriously ran in college or HS.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Approximately 6000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
About 1000+.  I’m not a high mileage runner because of my propensity to injuries.  I run no more than 40 miles a week during peak training.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
One – My body will only allow for one race a year.

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’ve consistently used the Greg McMillan program that you can download from the NYTimes Run Well section.  His program incorporates quite a bit of speed work and track work, and the long runs top out at 18.  When I first used it in 2009 I was able to input my time for a shorter distance (5-10K) and it would generate a semi-tailored program for me with a projected marathon finishing time.  I don’t know if that is still available for free, but he does have a website which can do that but at a cost.

For what it’s worth – his program had predicted that I would finish in 3:40:36

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
No, but Greg McMillan is technically a coach.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
Didn’t do any cross training only because no other forms of exercise appeal to me that much.  However, I suspect if I did, I could run faster.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
I believe speed work is HUGE.  You really do run faster and are able to tolerate the lactic acid buildup that you get later on in the race.  Plus, it breaks up the monotony and makes training much more interesting.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Consistent training is a part of it, but being smart about the race is also key.  Find races that play to your strengths.  Some like flat races, others like gradual descents (would advise against huge elevation drops because it beats up your quads before you get to the finish).  Avoid late spring/summer races!  Also be smart about racing – try to run even or negative splits.  A lot of people bolt out the gate due to adrenaline rush but end up paying for it towards the end.  You need a lot of patience to hold yourself back in the beginning, but you’ll be rewarded at the end by not hitting ‘the wall’ and finishing strong.  Someone once said, “run the first half of the race with your brain, and the second half with your heart.”
Also listen to your body.  There is no one program that will work for all.  We’re all different.  Some people can do high mileage training.  Others can get away with lower mileage but with tons of speed work.  Lastly, never push through injuries because that will only sideline you.

Good luck with your pursuit.  Consistency and patience will pay off 🙂

The BQ(Q) – Victor

Here’s a great response from Victor. Victor ran sub-3 in his first marathon, but, as a member of Czechoslovakia’s national team, he was no beginner. Thanks for sharing your story, Victor. I wish I could have met Emil Zatopek!

Name: Victor (aka Goorun on Running Ahead)

Sex Male 

Age (at the time of first BQ) 19

Height 5’10 3/4″

Weight (at the time of first BQ) 135 lbs.

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

I was born and raised in Europe (Czechoslovakia, in the part which is Czech Republic now). It was a small, local marathon with only about 200 runners in it.

2:59:xx  (don’t remember seconds, but it was barely under 3 hours).

I started as a cross-country skier when I was 5 year old, switched to track running when 14 and by the time I ran that marathon, I was good, cocky, track runner who thought that marathons are stupidly slow. I’ve never run a race longer than 10k at that point. I ran with the leaders, half split was 1:12:xx. The second half was a humiliating hard lesson. When I finally finished, I said I’ll never run a marathon again.

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

Pretty much since I was 5, seriously training from 14.

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

Hard to say. Probably around 10,000 miles.

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

As a track runner, I ran about 2,000 miles per year in my late teens. I ran over 7,000 miles per year in my peak marathon running years.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

40-50 races, mostly on a track.

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 made the National Junior track and field team in my teens and had some world class coaches. Coach Odlozil (silver in 1500m in Tokyo Olympics) who was a good friend with Peter Snell and coach Lydiard was one of them, so Lydiard’s training philosophy was the base for my training. I also met Emil Zatopek and got chance to talk to him one on one. Always admired his training work ethic.

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

Yes, see the above.

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

Not really. We did some gym workouts and running specific strength training. Also running form exercises, but mostly just running. We were actually forbidden from riding bikes, because that developed muscles we didn’t need. 🙂

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

Yes. Since I came from track running, intervals, fartleks, hills etc. were bread and butter of my training days.

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

I never thought that I had a lot of talent, but I become fairly good runner (ran on the National Team) by working hard and doing it for years. Running is not complicated sport. Keep doing it and one day you could be there. BQ times are IMO easier to achieve in older AGs , so if you can’t get it now, just wait for that next AG. 😉

 

The BQ(Q) – Roger S

Roger has a textbook story of training for Boston. Lots of miles, lots of speed work, and lots of shorter races before tackling the marathon. It definitely worked for him. He ran a 2:35:49 his first time out. Check out the solid base building, and strong speed efforts, Roger describes below. I know I could learn a lot from this approach.

Name: Roger

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 25

Height: 5’9

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 136 or so

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

Denver Mile High (now defunct, but similar course to Denver Rock ‘n Roll). 2:35:49. I drank too many beers the night before, which was kind of dumb but I wanted to invoke Frank Shorter who supposedly drank a pitcher or 2 the night before winning Gold in Munich. The thing is, I didn’t account for the fact that my start was at 8 AM and his was late afternoon. So I was a little fuzzy the first hour or so.

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

I had been training for about six and a half years. Ran cross country and track in college but not in high school.

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

Maybe 15,000 to 16,000 or so

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

~3000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

10 or 15 in the year prior, but just 2 in the 3 month build up.

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 just went by feel and by what I knew. Totally self coached since college and I did not refer to a training guide. I had done some high mileage running in college but was very inconsistent in races. I had matured a lot as a runner the year before, and something of a breakthrough in the half marathon the previous October. Took it fairly easy through most of the winter (50 miles a week or so), and got into serious training in February, 3 months before the marathon. I built to average of 60-70 miles a week and held it for 8-10 weeks, peaking at maybe 75-80. I did a weekly long run (16-20 miles) and about 6 weeks out started doing long reps at 5K to 10K effort. I think the most I did was 4X 1 mile at 10K pace. And in my long runs (not all of them but every other week) I would run at about 10 miles at an easy pace, and then the rest of the way at a hard effort, more or less goal marathon pace. No gels, no water, just run. I also did a mid-week 12 miler or so. Other days were 6-10 miles, mostly easy effort.

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

Completely solo. It was my first year in that town and I didn’t really know any other runners.

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

A little bit. In December and January I cross country skied once or twice a week with a college ski team (sometimes up to three times) and did a couple of 10-15K races in January and February. I think this helped with strength and endurance.

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

As I said above, starting 6 weeks out a weekly session of reps, usually 800s, 1200s, or 1 mile (and maybe up to 2X2 miles) at 5K-10K effort (didn’t do these on the track, just by time) with roughly half to two-thirds the recovery time. So if it was 2.5 min reps, I’d take 1.5 min recovery, 5-6 min reps then recovery would be 2 to 3 minutes.

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

I ran back in the era when we were told to ‘respect the distance.’ That is, be prepared. All my marathons have been under Boston Qualifying time but I still haven’t run Boston. Maybe some day.

The BQ(Q) – Greg M

While I am inspired by all of the responses to the questionnaire, Greg’s story is really something special. With no background in running, Greg changed his life and went from 250 pounds to 148 pounds and qualifed for Boston in his first marathon. Congratulations, Greg! What a great story.

Name: Greg M (@GregMedwid)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 38 (though I also needed 3:15 since it was a 2014 Boston Qualifying race)

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 148 lbs

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

Victoria, BC – 2012. This was my first marathon and I finished in a time of 3:06:46. Really I had no idea what to expect about the marathon and fought with a whole bunch of goal ideas of what to run that day. Finally I decided it was “BQ or Bust”, and knowing that at my age I needed a 3:15 really gave me an opportunity to go out easy and enjoy the first half of the marathon. Victoria had a scenic course and perfect weather with absolutely no wind! By the time I hit the halfway mark, I believe I was on pace for about 3:02-3:03 so I started thinking, “I’m king of the world!!” – of course this feeling went away with about 3 miles to go as I felt like death. Nevertheless, getting in with a reasonable time in my first was a big confidence booster and I accomplished what I wanted, which was qualifying for (and ultimately running) the Boston Marathon.

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

I had been running 2 years. (began in 2010) And as for running in college or high school….HELL NO! I thought that running was a punishment, something that sadistic PE teachers assigned kids to do when they were too hungover to supervise the students. I was the fat kid with the glasses and the inhaler, my asthma was a perfect excuse not to run for the first 36 years of my life. At my peak weight, I topped out just over 250 lbs.

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

I would say I had run about 3,500 miles.

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

Probably about 2,700, with 2,500 of those coming in the 9 months leading up to the Victoria Marathon. Friends and other runners had really thought I was crazy the way I upped my mileage and yet somehow I held it together and put out some monster-mile weeks in my training.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

In 2012 I ran 24 races. (collection of 5k’s, 10k’s, HM’s, 1 marathon, and even some odd-distance races like a 17.7k race)

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 had been running plans from Pfitzinger earlier in that year but for the summer of 2012 I hooked up with a coach at my LRS. She worked the whole collection, from the LSD to “Interval Tuesday” even ran a lot with me during that time. (she herself was running around a 3 hr marathon)

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

Yes, the LRS had a 14 week coaching program, and it was my first opportunity to work with someone who knew about proper running, form, paces, and REST. As she told me before I set off for Victoria: “If you try to go for sub-3 instead of that BQ goal and miss, I will catch you and kick you in the ass. Don’t put that much pressure on your first marathon, you really need to run it before you’ll truly understand.”

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

Yes, I was a gym rat during my running as well – I think the time on the spin bikes helped my cardio, the weights and core work definitely paid off in that I didn’t experience any pain or injuries in my training and exponential increase in mileage. (Miles run in 2011 – 700? Miles run in 2012 – over 3,000) In addition, that cross-training made it much less painful on the rest of my body, as other body parts other than your legs start to speak to you during a 3+ hour run.

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

Yes, “interval Tuesdays” and “tempo Thursdays” were staples all throughout my training, and I really enjoyed the chance to turn it up with fast 800’s or handle a 40-minute tempo run here and there. They definitely made me a complete runner and trained my cardio as much as any LR did for my musculoskeletal strength.

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

The training leading up to your best marathon can be hard, but while you celebrate successes day-to-day, make sure you rest, stretch, and cross-train as well. And if you do feel a little niggle or tweak, don’t be afraid to take 2-3 days off in order to come back strong – your fitness won’t suffer over a few days compared to if you get hurt and have to take a month (or longer!) off.

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The BQ(Q) – Jody S (Cross My Heart Fitness)

Jody and I connected on twitter and she was kind enough to take the time to fill this out. Thanks Jody!

Name: Jody S www.crossmyheartfitness.com
 www.facebook.com/crossmyheartfitness
@xmyheartfitness
 http://instagram.com/crossmyheartfitness

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 42

Height: 5’5″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):123

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Huntington Beach Surf City Marathon What was your finishing time?3:46 Tell us a little about the race. I kept watching my Garmin to make sure I stayed on pace and wouldn’t allow myself to slow down below my required pace.

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

1 year

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?

My guess 1,000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

4 full marathons

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

Run Less Run Faster by Runner’s Worlds run 3 days a week cross train 3 days

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

I am my own coach

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

Helped me get faster, worked my muscles in deferent ways so I didn’t get any over use injuries. Swim, Spin class, Row Machine and 3 specific training runs: Speed work, Tempo and Long Slow Distance.

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

Yes, each run was designed with a specific goal.

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

Get a Garmin or the like so you can keep track of your pace at all times. Don’t over train and end up injured. After my first BQ I ended up with a stress fracture, surgery and 3 screws in my femoral head. It took me 1 year to BQ again and finally made it to Boston in 2013, the year of the bombing. I qualified again and ran in 2014 and will run it again in 2015!

The BQ(Q) – Doug S

Here’s an inspiring story of Doug S using marathon training as part of his recovery from alcoholism. Nice work Doug, both on getting sober and getting fast!

 Name: Doug S

Sex: Male

Age (at time of first BQ): 26

Height: 5’5″

Weight (at time of first BQ): 150

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

I qualified for Boston at the 2012 Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul with a 2:57:05.  This was my second marathon and I PR’d by 12:52.  It was a cool day and I ran very well- my second half was only a minute slower than my first half which is very good considering the second half is very hilly.  I was able to get into the 2013 Boston Marathon because it was the first year of the new standards and all the spots weren’t filled yet.  I registered the next day.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I know I am the exception to the rule but I had only been running for 8 months when I qualified.  I was a young alcoholic and I finally sobered up in January.  In a meeting in February, I met a group of runners and joined them.  I was looking for something to help me fill my time and I found it.  I ran my first half marathon 6 weeks later in 1:35:18 and I was hooked.  I signed up for Grandma’s marathon shortly after.  I ran it on four months of training and finished in 3:09:57. I would have qualified for Boston right away but it was the first year of the new standards so I missed out.  I knew I could get it that fall and I did.  I was hooked on running after that. I ran track my freshman year of high school but nothing after that.  I was a soccer player who traveled a lot.  I also played two years of soccer in college (D3).

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

By the time I ran my first BQ, I maybe had 1000-1500 miles in the 8 months prior.

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

Same as above- about 1000-1500 miles.  I’m not really sure.  I didn’t keep track right away.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

I ran 4 races that year prior to my BQ- 2 halves, 1 full and 1 8K. I don’t really like short races so I stayed away from them.

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 didn’t have a program.  I just went out and ran.  I didn’t do speed work or anything differently.  I just said I’m going to run more miles this week than I did last week.  If I ran 52 miles last week, I was going to run 53 this week.  I ended up getting up to 70 miles a week about four weeks before.  I noticed that runs of the same distance were getting faster but I never really took easy days or hard days- they were all just running days.  I think I was able to BQ because I have a very competitive nature and I finally found something I could be really good at.  It also took the place of drinking which had previously taken over my life.  I replaced a negative thing with a positive thing and I wanted to see what I could do.

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

I only ran with some friends who helped me get sober.  I later joined a club and got a coach to see how fast I could get.

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

I biked occasionally but I wanted to run each day.  I rarely took a day off of running.

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

I did not do any speed work at the time.  I have since started doing speed work and it has made me even faster.

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

Hard work will pay off.  I know that there are more people who have tried for years than people like me.  Don’t let my story discourage you if you haven’t got there.  It was very hard for me to get sober and to even put myself in a position to run marathons.  If you believe in yourself, you can succeed.  See you at the finish line!