The BQ(Q) – Michael Iverson

Michael is fifty and running sub 3 hour marathons. Completely inspiring for an old man like myself. Thanks for sharing your story, Michael.

 

Name

Michael Iverson

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

44

Height:

6’0″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

155

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

New York City Marathon

Tell us a little about the race.

NYCM 2010. Planned and trained to run a marathon 1 year before I actually signed up. I wanted to be properly trained for the marathon.
My goal was sub 3:15, but thought I had a decent shot at 3:05. Ran very consistent effort through 20mi. Tried to speed up a little for the last 10k; tried for 10s/mi, achieved 5s/mi. Finished 3:04:54.

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

3 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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?

1800

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

13

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, Pfitzinger/Douglas 18 weeks / 55mi

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

No

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

2 weeks of pool running 5 weeks from the race d/t a foot injury.

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

Weekly track workout. Weekly tempo workout.

 

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

It’s easier to qualify for us older folks. I’m 50 now and my BQ time is 3:30. I ran 2:44:04 at Chicago 2016.

The BQ(Q) – Andrew Ng

Very cool that Andrew thought to recommend we check out his Strava page to see up close what it took to get his BQ. Thanks, Andrew!

Name

Andrew Ng

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

35

Height:

5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

135lb

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Grandma’s

Tell us a little about the race.

You can read my race report on my blog here. 

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

Regularly for about 9 years, but only seriously for about 2

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

5000 miles

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

maybe 1200 miles, feel free to check my Strava

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?

Mainly just yoga.

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

Not for this first BQ.

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

Running with people faster than me helped a lot, local running groups worked great for my first BQ.

The BQ(Q) – Tom Rushton

Name

Tom Rushton

Sex:

Tom Rushton

Age (at the time of first BQ):

36

Height:

5’8”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

157

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Edmonton Marathon 2016

Tell us a little about the race.

I had planned to run the Ottawa Marathon (May) to qualify but as things happened I had to work that weekend. Turned out to be a good thing as record heat almost cancelled the Ottawa race. I put off finding another qualifier until it was almost to late and signed up for Edmonton (late August) a little last minute. As this was my first road marathon and my first road race period in over 2 years I was a little worried about pacing so I found some good people and stuck with them until the mid point (1:28:44) then took over pacing and tried to be the ‘cheer-leader’ for the sub-3 hour crew, sadly the group thinned and I was the only one that made that goal. My objective was to run 2:59:xx to get under the 10 minute cut-off but make it as easy as possible since I was on vacation that week and had some long runs planned in the backcountry rockies that I didn’t want to miss. Happily everything went according to plan and I was able to continue things no problem.

I’ve done trail marathons and ultras so the distance wasn’t a concern and also posted a 33 minute 10k a few years before (my last road race) so qualifying was only a ‘formality’ although I did want to respect the distance, and it is a much different beast than a trail. I did a 50k about a month before and it was so much easier!

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

13 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?

600

 

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?

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?

Sometimes I swim, bike or climb, but just randomly.

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

I usually run most of my runs at a quite low intensity, but have good natural speed, so about 2 weeks before I made sure to do some work above the ‘race pace’ of the marathon when I was on the roads. For Boston I will do a lot more targeted speed work.

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

I felt that the others I was running with in the race all were running to close to their maximum during the first half, although I was making a sincere effort to go easy, it was still a little harder than I’d like at the end. Having a good aerobic base of low intensity mileage really paid off big time for me.

Also I enjoy run with groups and do that often, during the qualifying race I found myself thinking about things in ways I never would in a training run (Is it normal I’m breathing like this? Is my stomach ok? what about now!?) so finding a group and just chatting a bit (it’s marathon pace, you should be able to do that at least in the first half!) stopped me from that and kept me in the moment and remembering what I like about the sport.

Starting easy is really important, I was shocked at how many runners ran 10 minutes or more slower on the second half – and even more that started way fast in the first km. Start slow, and you’ll see better results than hammering the first piece!

 

The BQ(Q) – Robert

For some of us, a BQ is a life long goal, for others, like Robert, its no big deal. Maybe it helps to have been a D1 swimmer? Thanks Robert for taking the time to fill this out. 

Name

Robert

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

35

Height:

6”1’

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

165

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Portland

Tell us a little about the race.

First time I was actually thinking about qualifying, wasn’t too tough.

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

8 yrs

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

5000?

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

1000

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

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 a D1 swimmer in college, so continued some of that when I started running. Am faster and healthier with biking and swimming mixed in, instead of more running miles.

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

Sort of- I never ran more than 50m per week, but all were well under 7:00 pace, no junk miles.

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

The engine matters. Build a strong cardiovascular base over many years, and the running becomes academic. Also, Boston really isn’t that much more special than other races- was fun all the times I did it, but not life changing.

The BQ(Q) — James Smith

Name

James Smith

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

39

Height:

5 foot 7 inches

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

150

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Berlin

Tell us a little about the race.

I had completed a 23 week training plan. And ran to heart rate. Splits where perfect and I never felt so strong. Love Berlin

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?

10000

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

2057

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?

Yes

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

Pilates for good core strength which is essential in the race.

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

Yes so I had underlying speed in my legs.

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

 

The BQ(Q) – Mike Zimmerman

Name: Michael Zimmerman

 

Sex: Male

 

Age (at the time of first BQ): 35

 

Height: 5-8

 

Weight (at the time of first BQ):160

 

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Run for the Red (Poconos)

 

Tell us a little about the race.

My fifth marathon, early stages were downhill with some rough uphill stretches at the finish. The last 3-4 miles were open and it had gotten hot and humid by that point, missed a sub 3 by 24 seconds.

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

2 years

 

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

 

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

3000 miles

 

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

900

 

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?

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?

I lift weights five-six times a week and play basketball, running is a release to stay in shape.

 

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

Track work on Thursdays, Hill work on Tuesdays

 

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

 

The BQ(Q) – Joe Pak

First BQ(Q) respondent who qualified at the Paris marathon? I think so!

Name

Joe Pak (@pakperformance)

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

37

Height:

5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

162

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Paris

Tell us a little about the race.

Overall time: 3:07:43
Splits:
1st half: 1:34:07
2nd half: 1:33:36

Previous best was 3:18, but I had done a 3-4 Ironmans and Endurance sports (including 4-5 other marathons) at that point. I lost about 5 pounds, so I was healthier/leaner than normal. Race went well, I was just focused on sub 3:10 and am pretty good as sticking to a plan/pacing. I did a lot more “fast finish” hard long runs, which made the biggest difference. Probably 3-4 20+ milers included the last 5 miles “hard.”

Since then, I’ve done a 3:04 and just did a 2:57 at Amsterdam at age 39. Pretty much similar type of training, but I probably ran more and focused on recovery. For the “hard” days I would be fairly well-rested and entered more 10k and half marathons, but would run 6-8 miles at endurance pace before the races. Entering races pushed me to a be physically and mentally stronger for the end of the marathon.

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

10 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

3500

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

1000

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?

No

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

Probably. I did IM Texas and Kona the previous year. After Kona, I focused more on Paris marathon, thus I had quite a good foundation.

 

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

Yes, fast finish workouts at end of long runs and a lot of 3×8,10,12, 15 min at threshold (eg: 10k pace). 2x/week intervals + 1 long run on weekend (sometime included fast finish). Other days easy/cross train.

 

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

Remember the protein drinks after hard runs and really focus on recovery/sleep. Losing some weight makes a MASSIVE difference. Finally, pacing. I usually do better not following a pace group and starting a lot slower than goal pace. Generally, I like to use this strategy:
– 1st 10k – easy, conversational
– 2nd 10k – easy/moderate – get into a rhythm/marathon-pace
– 3rd 10k – focus, push it, this is where I gain the time. I would consider taking a risk here.
– 4th 10k – break it up into 5x2k and hang-on
– last 2k – go for it 🙂

The BQ(Q) – Eric Wheeler

Name

Eric Wheeler (Ewheeler1976.tumblr.com)

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

39

Height:

5’8″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

155

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Providence

Tell us a little about the race.

Spring marathon, relatively flat, no wind, smaller field with a 1/2 and 5k running at the same time

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?

6,000

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

1,200

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

4 road races, 5 triathlons

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, run – went on to do an ironman later in the year

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

Yes, I typically do 800 repeats one week, a tempo run the next and mile repeats the week after that followed by a week without speed work. I also incorporate tempo sections into my long runs i.e.- 20 miles with 2×8 miles at aerobic threshold pace in the middle

 

 

The BQ(Q) – Tim Swanson

Great, story here from Tim, who’d been running since he was eight years old and finally BQ’ed at 38. As always, consistency is key.

Name

Tim Swanson

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

38

Height:

5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

154

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Eugene

 

Tell us a little about the race.

Fast, generally flat course with few turns. Usually fast field with many sub-elites, so tends to have lots of fast people to run with.

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

30 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

15000

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

1800

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

8

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. 1 x weekly track session and 1 x weekly tempo or fast hill repeat workout. Track sessions averaged 10 total miles including warmup/cooldown, with repeats anywhere from 200m up to mile repeats. Longest/hardest track workout was 10 x 1k at goal marathon pace minus 0:20, with half repeat rest.

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

Consistency was critical: in the 8 months of focused running leading up to BQ race, I never had 2 days off in a row. I averaged 3-4 non-running days per month, with 2 or 3 months where I ran every day. My coach and I also incorporated long run “workouts”, where I would run 18-22 miles, but instead of just long, slow distance stuff, we would add in tempo, race pace or even faster efforts within the long runs. I also forced myself to do much longer (8-10 mile) Monday recovery runs immediately after a long run workout. Previously, I had always taken the day after a long run completely off, so the idea of running 10 miles the day after a hard 20 was hard to get used to. But it paid off! As a result, I had 4 x 70+ mile weeks leading up to the race. When I BQed, I lowered my PR by a shocking 19 minutes, from 3:16 to 2:57.

The BQ(Q) – Kevin Young

One year after open heart surgery Kevin completes both Ironman Wisconsin and qualifies for Boston in 4 weeks! Amazing story, thanks for sharing Brian!

Name

Kevin Young

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

38

Height:

5’7”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

160

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Twin Cities

Tell us a little about the race.

I ran the race 4 weeks after completing IM Wisconsin. So I wasn’t sure going in what kind of pace I could hold. I had lost some conditioning after the IM from resting week after the race. My wife had BQ’d earlier in the year so I was motivated to go for it. I ran Very even 5k splits and believe that was the key to qualifying. cut it very close but hit my qualifying time with less then a minute to spare.

My main race that year was IM Wisconsin so my running was 30-35 miles a week. Long run was 18 miles, done 6 times. Speed work on track early in the year but stopped in June (once I was done with my short course tri events). I biked a lot 225-250 miles a week and believe this cross training was a big benefit.

BTW, I had open heart surgery year before to replace my aortic valve.

 

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

12 years. ran in high school. but stopped running for about 7 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

No real idea. Didn’t ever follow an exact plan or write it down

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

 

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

7

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 training 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?

Yes, I biked a lot that year and believe biking is great cross training for running

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

Did speed work in spring and early summer but stopped as volume of swim bike and run was the priority for my IM.

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

Run a couple of your long, 16-18 mile, runs at your goal pace.

Race day, run even splits

Good luck