The BQ(Q) Gordon Warren

Name

Gordon Warren

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

44

Height:

5′ 11″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

160

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Soldier 2015

Tell us a little about the race.

Bad weather conditions (high temp and humidity for November) but I was in the best condition for running I’ve ever been. Training went perfectly (no injuries or sickness) and my weight was exactly where I wanted it.

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

15000 miles over the last 8 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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?

3,500

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, Brooks Hanson

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?

Yes, Brooks Hanson has weekly speed work that I am sure had an impact.

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

Age gracefully.

The BQ(Q) – Tim Cali

Name

Tom Cali

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

41

Height:

5’4

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

120

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

New York City

Tell us a little about the race.

It was my first marathon, and I had no idea what I was doing. I seriously bonked at mile 19. Went out too fast and didn’t eat enough before the race. It wasn’t fun, but it was a great experience.

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

6 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?

2500

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?

No

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

Yes. Our club does a track workout every Thursday.

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

I’m lucky that I’ve never had to worry about achieving a BQ. Even my sub par marathon times have been well under my BQ time. My qualifying time for this year’s marathon is about an hour under my required time. That being said, my general philosophy is to run comfortably 4 days a week, do a track workout one day, do a long run on the weekend, and take a day off. Track workouts give you speed for 5 and 10ks. 5 and 10ks give you speed for longer races. I also like to run a few halves and 10 milers each year.

The BQ(Q) – John S

Name

John S

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

44

Height:

6’2″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

170

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Pocono

Tell us a little about the race.

Easy course, but tough since it was my first marathon. After8 marathons (3 Bostons), my 1st marathon was my fastest.

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

2 year

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?

Didn’t Answer

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?

no

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

Yes, Just running with the local running group helped

 

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?

Speed work once per week. Anywhere from 800s to 2mi repeats. Sometimes it was replaced with hill repeats

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

Run with a group and have run. Run for comfort, not for a time.

The BQ(Q) – Matthew Kleiman

Thanks, Matt, for taking the time to fill this out! Volume sure seems to be a constant amongst qualifiers.

Name

Matt Kleiman

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

41

Height:

5’9″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

154

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

St. George

Tell us a little about the race.

My 4th marathon. Finished in 3:14, six minutes under the time needed to qualify for Boston at that time.

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

Almost exactly 3 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

6305

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

2372 in the 12 months preceeding

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

14 including the BQ 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?

Yes, Pfitzinger 18/70

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?

Yes. Pfitz program included frequent specific internal, tempo and marathon-paced workout.

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

Volume (mileage) was the most important factor for me, followed by consistency.

The BQ(Q) – Rob

Rob gets to the heart of it in his answer to the final question. Keep at it! Thanks, Rob, for taking part.

Name

Rob

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

44

Height:

5’8″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

145

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Santa Rosa

What was your finishing time?

Santa Rosa was my second attempt to BQ for the 2016 Marathon, which I had been hoping to get for a couple of years. I figured it was my best chance, since it’s the first year I could qualify at the 45-49 pace. My first attempt was the NYC marathon in 2014, but the lousy weather and some stomach troubles in the days before the race meant I missed the mark by nearly fifteen minutes.

But after some struggles with IT band problems in the first part of the year, I was in good shape to get in a lot of miles over the summer to prepare for the late August Santa Rosa Marathon. It was my first summer marathon, so the first time I raced starting before the sun came up. The course is gentle, and I hung on with the 3:23 pacer for the first few miles before speeding up a little bit for the next twelves miles or so. I slowed down a bit for the last miles but still managed a 3:19:30 – good enough to register on Friday!

I felt bad for the folks who stayed with the pacer, since it turned out that two minutes over BQ wasn’t enough this year.

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

5 years of taking it halfway seriously

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

5K miles, maybe?

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

1K miles plus.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

5 or 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?

Run when you feel like it!

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 much. I hit the gym occasionally.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts 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?

Keep at it!

The BQ(Q) – Rich A (@bqchat)

Rich ran cross-country and track in high school and was approached with a college scholarship opportunity but walked away from it. From a family of non-runners, he ran races in grade school & was heavily invested in running through high school. His BQ experience was the driver behind the development of (Twitter-based) #BqChat.

Rich has been a big support of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire project. Thanks so much for taking part, Rich!

Name: Rich A @bqchat

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 40

Height: 5’9″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 130 – 135 lbs.

 

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

The Maine Coast Marathon (3:11). It was my second 26.2. I understood that every second below BQ translated into improved odds of getting into Boston. I wore two wrist pace bands. A 3:15 “minimum” BQ band on my right (for Age Group 40–44) and a 3:10 “optimistic” band on my left. I ran optimistically as long as I could that day.

It’s hard for a former cross-country guy to NOT go like hell the whole race. It’s exactly what I did at my first 26.2 and my poor showing reflected it. My new mantra was to have the courage to go out slow. When the gun went off I fell right into marathon pace (and was promptly smoked by a group of runners). I seethed. A runner still nearby got my attention and said, “You’re gonna have fun picking them off later in the race.” That helped me relax. And he was right. It was fun.

Note: This is a Mother’s Day race. I felt selfish registering for it. Like I had taken Mother’s Day away from both my mom and my wife (mother of our two kids). Their response? Attending the race with cowbells and BQ cheer signs. I still get emotional about it. Their support on that day pushed my level of determination out of bounds.

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

I did a lot of running in my youth. Always yearning for that runner’s high (although I wasn’t familiar with the term “endorphins”). I just knew running made me feel good. I didn’t excel at every sport. But I could run.

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

Unknown. Unfortunately, my dedication to running in my youth didn’t carry into adulthood. I consider this a personal example of not living life to the fullest. As age 40 approached I finally decided I wasn’t ready to close the book on my run. More recently, I average 1,000 miles annually. Which I acknowledge isn’t a lot compared to my BQ peers. But between family, work and staying healthy, it’s what works for me.

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

500.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Two 13.1s & one 26.2. I love 13.1s and notched my PR in the event that year: 1:26.

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 haven’t come across a canned program that’s aware of the day-to-day status of my left knee. But it’s important to be aware of proper training methods. For a good knowledge base I recommend completing the Road Runner’s Club of America (RRCA) Coaching Certification course. Overall, the key for me is balance. Listening to your health, evolving physical ability and years of running experience goes hand-in-hand with the canned programs.

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

Balancing a young family, work and living in a remote area isn’t very conducive to club running or being coached.

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

My cross training consists of crunches and foam rolling on my non-run days. Crunches make me feel leaner. Faster. And rolling preserves my hamstrings. Also, I live on 3.5 acres in the Granite State. There’s always a rock wall that needs work.

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

Hills and fartleks are the keys to my run. I’m surrounded by hills and I’m thankful for them. When I feel like punishing myself I practice marathon pacing in those hills. “Run over hills, not just to the top.” –Greg McMillan.

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

Qualifying for Boston is a lifetime goal. (After all, nearly anyone that runs Boston considers it a life event.) Acknowledge it can take years. Study your past 26.2 experiences. Vividly recall injuries and how you got there. Proper nutrition as you age is vital. Anyone that says “I’ll just have to get older” in order to BQ isn’t considering the effects of aging on the human body. Practice running on an empty stomach to burn fat (carefully). Recognize there’s a special place in heaven for the spouses of BQ chasers. Finally, maintain a healthy mental perspective and try not to overwhelm yourself with qualifying for Boston.

I wasn’t always very good at that last part and it’s easily debatable that I went completely overboard. #BqChat

“PROOF” I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon.

“PROOF” I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon.

The BQ(Q) – Jay S.

Thanks to Jay for taking the time to fill out the BQ(Q) — those interested in lower mileage plans, and plans involving crossfit style training should pay especial attention to what Jay wrote at the end.

Name (and website/blog/twitter if applicable): Jay S.

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 42

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’8”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 148

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?
Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Marathon & Half – 3:12:01.
http://www.safetyandhealthfoundation.org/bikila/

Tell us a little about the race.

Compact gravel surface along the C&O Canal Towpath in Washington, D.C. The marathon is out-and-back twice. A very slight uphill going out, and downhill back. Not enough to slow you down, but knowing you’re headed “downhill” on the way back (especially the last 6.55 miles) provides a mental boost. I also liked the idea of breaking the race down into four parts.

Race morning was maybe 65° and 85% humidity. Warmer than ideal, but it’s tree-lined and was under cloud-cover. The temperature definitely slowed me down, but it’s hard to say how much.

A BQ for me was 3:15, but I figured I needed better to gain entrance. My plan was to run for a 3:12 (7:20 min/mi) the first 3/4 of the race, then pick up the pace as much as I could after the third turn-around and see if I could break 3:10 as a stretch goal. The race had two start-times. A “non-competitive” start at 8:00 AM and a “competitive” start at nine. I went out at 8:00 for the slightly cooler temps. This was a very small race. For the 8:00 start, there were only 250 runners, split about equally between the half and the full.  I’d never run on this course before, but I’d be able to get the lay-of-the-land (so to speak) on the first out-and-back. As typical for me, I went out fast, around 7:12 min/mi. I tried settling in with a couple other runners to slow myself down, but didn’t find anyone at quite the right pace. Eventually I just settled into my own pace, and the miles kept clicking off around 7:08 – 7:15. I knew I should slow down, but whenever I tried to it seemed like more effort. So I just kept it where it was. The first 6.55 mi clicked by in 47:14 (7:13 avg pace). The second 6.55 mi was uneventful and I ran it in 47:08, for a halfway time of 1:34:22 (7:12 avg pace).

I knew the third 6.55 mi was going to require my concentration. I felt like I was slowing down, but the splits proved otherwise. I ran the third 6.55 mi in 47:26 for a 3/4 time of 2:21:49 (7:13 avg pace). Now I was really hopeful for sub-3:10 as I still felt pretty good and the last 6.55 mi would be literally downhill. Unfortunately, around mile  I started to fade a little to a 7:22 mile, then mile 23 was a 7:33. I’d also started to feel some intestinal distress. I was hoping I could run through it, but by mile 24 I realized it was slowing me more than just taking a pit stop. The porta-potties weren’t where I needed them to be, so into the woods it was on mile 24, which left me with a 7:49 mile. I was able to pick things up a bit, but not for long before my calves started to give indications of cramping (a first for me). A saving grace at this point was it started to rain lightly, which was very refreshing. I pushed my legs as much as I dare, but the last two miles were 7:43 and 7:58. I ended up running the last 6.55 in 50:21 (7:41 avg pace), crossing the finish line in 3:12:01 (7:19 avg pace). Funny, I ended up just where I should’ve been.
 How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

I purchased a treadmill in 2002 to help lose weight. I was 31 years old and 35 lbs overweight at the time. My first race was a half-marathon in

Jan 2003, completed in 1:57. I never ran in high school or college, and wasn’t (and am still not) particularly athletic.

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

~ 10K miles.

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

About 1,800 miles in the 12 preceding months.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

5 races in the 12 months preceding.

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 the Run Less Run Faster plan. But see my final thoughts.

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. See final thoughts.

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

Yes, it’s part of the Run Less Run Faster plan.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

This is a bit long, but I don’t feel this interview would be complete

without going into my running history. I’ve now run a total of 7 marathons, including my BQ. My progression was as follows:

Dec 2003 – 4:22
Jan 2005 – 4:15
Oct 2005 – 3:56
Nov 2007 – 3:36
Nov 2013 – 3:22
Jul 2014 – 3:55 (Grandfather Mountain while training for my BQ, so I
ran it as a long run, not a race).
Sep 2014 – 3:12.

My first and second marathons were completed on typical beginner training schedules. For my third, I followed Higdon’s Advanced I plan. But, I never cross or strength trained, barely stretched, and started battling Achilles tendon issues in both legs. Not knowing better, I went to a podiatrist. Not knowing better, he prescribed orthotics. I continued to run as much as my body would let me. For my 3:36, I followed the Pfitzinger 55 mile-per-week plan, and this was the first marathon I actually felt good at the end, especially since I’d had to back off during training at times due to my Achilles.

I ran fairly consistently the next couple years, but nothing longer than half-marathons. In Oct 2009, I ran a 1:38 half which was a PR at the time. Unfortunately, in Nov that year I was a pace-group runner for a marathon when I was suddenly hobbled at mile 17, which turned out to be my Achilles. Months of PT followed. I was pretty bummed, because I had been in my best running shape at the time, and my Achilles hadn’t been bothering me that year. I thought I’d found the right combination of shoes, orthotics and training. But obviously not. So due to the injury and starting a new job, I ended up taking a break from running for the most part from 2010-2012.

By the end of 2012, I was ready to start running again. During this time-off, I’d read Born to Run, which motivated me to scrap my orthotics and stability shoes, switch to more minimal “zero-drop” cushioned shoes, and work on my form, transitioning to a mid-foot running style. Also, the PT I’d seen had evaluated my strength and running form, and told me my Achilles issues probably stemmed from my weak hips. My hips were collapsing when I ran, which put stress on my lower legs.

I needed to add strength and cross training to my running. I’d heard a lot of good things about Crossfit, so I started that in Jan 2013 and at the same time started building my mileage.

2013 was a year of Crossfit while slowly improving my mileage and pace, and mostly running by feel. About mid-way through the year, another runner persuaded me to run a fall marathon. I picked up a copy of Run Less Run Faster as it seemed like the best complement to Crossfit. I ended up doing the last 8 weeks of the RLRF marathon plan with Crossfit 2-4x week and off of that, ran the 3:22, which frankly blew my mind. It’s what finally gave me the confidence I could BQ. I ended 2013 at 1000 miles, with plans to BQ in 2014.

In 2014, I stuck with Crossfit and still running by feel until 16 weeks out from my BQ, when I started the RLRF 3:10 BQ training plan. I trained using its prescribed paces, but adjusted some of the speed work when it was too fast (mostly I ran the tempo and long runs as prescribed, but ran the interval work at slightly slower than prescribed). I also added some additional easy runs as I had a secondary goal to run 1500 mi in 2014. Midway through 2014, I boosted my mileage again when I decided I wanted to try for 2014 miles in 2014. I’m pretty sure RLRF doesn’t have you run over 35 mi/week, but some weeks I was up to 60 mi. Besides BQ’ing in 2014, I finished it with 2050 miles.

I believe it’s the additional strength and cardio from Crossfit that allowed me to push harder in my running that was key. That said, I don’t think Crossfit is the perfect complement to running, it’s just the one that worked for me. But I am now a firm believer in strength (resistance) and cross training, and the idea that running starts from the hips and requires a strong and stable core. I also now think that the running shoe industry and orthotics are mostly bunk. You gotta find what works for you, but I think most folks would be fine in a basic cushioned zero-drop shoe.

One other point: race nutrition. I researched carbo-loading for my BQ. See http://endurancecalculator.com/ and the related paper “Metabolic Factors Limiting Performance in Marathon Runners.”

– I spent two-days pre-race carboloading on > 90% carbs by using maltodextrin powder mixed w/water. It’s almost impossible to carbo-load properly on solid food as you end up with way too much bulk in your intestines.
– I had “breakfast” 3 hours pre-race of a sports bar, two gels, and more maltodextrin powder (150 g carbs total).
– I made my own sports drink from the maltodextrin powder and sugar. I consumed 42 oz of the drink during the race, as well as 3 gels (~ 125 g carbs total). This is the least fade (i.e. hitting the wall) I’ve ever had in a marathon and I think proper pre-race and in-race nutrition was an important factor.

I hope all this helps other runners.

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) – Jim H

Thanks to Jim for taking the time to fill this out!

Name: Jim H

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 43

Height: 5′ 10″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 150lb

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

Tell us a little about the race. Chicago 2013, 3:11:59. Perfect weather. Started from Corral B. Even pace. Slight negative split.

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

Since December 2011, no previous experience in running or any other organized sport

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?

1800

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?

From the book, Hansons Marathon Method (Advanced)

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?

Yes: part of the training plan was doing intervals at 5K pace

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

You CAN do it!

The BQ(Q) – Peter M

Another BQ(Q) from another RAer. Running Ahead is heavily over represented here. More sage advice — get old.

Name: Peter M (Toronto on RunningAhead.com)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 41

Height: 5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 165 lb

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

2009 Mississauga Marathon, 3:18:21. The course is a point-to-point net downhill with 250 ft drop from start to finish and a few minor rolling hills in the second half, a bit like Boston but smaller. Weather was cool and cloudy, with gusty tailwind / occasional crosswind most of the way.

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

Been running since early 2006. Have never run prior to that.

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

About 2,500 miles give or take a few dozen. That was my second marathon; I had also run 5 half-marathons and a number of 5K and 10K races.

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

1,241 miles to be exact.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Three other races: a 5K in the summer, my first marathon in the Fall of 2008, and a tune-up half a month before Mississauga.

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 – Furman Institute of Running (FIRST®) “Run Less, Run Faster” three days a week training plan. Generally eschews easy runs in favor of three hard workouts a week: intervals, tempo or steady-state, and long.

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

Ran on my own with invaluable help from Runners’ World forum contributors.

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

Do not recall doing a lot of cross-training, maybe a few planks here and there.

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

Yes, absolutely. Track intervals from 400 m to 1 mile, tempo 6 to 8 miles, and medium-long (10 to 15 miles) at marathon pace are a must.

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

It helps if you are naturally of a light build, and it helps a lot if you are over 40 😉 Persistence and discipline play a large part too.