Name: Chris H
Age (at the time of first BQ): 51 years, 11 months
Height (at the time of first BQ): 5′ 10″
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 165
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? I have BQ’d three times, 2015, 2016 and 2019, all at the BoA Chicago Marathon. Only my 2016 time was fast enough to make the BQ cutoff.
Tell us a little about the race. Pretty good day for a race, temps were good, and Chicago is always pretty fast. I had qualified to be B corral, so I was up front and ahead of most slower runners. I needed a 3:30 and planned for a sub-3:25 to give me the 5 minute qualifying cushion that everyone shoots for. I basically intended to run a little under 8 min miles and ended with an 7:49 average pace. I ran a 3:25:08.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? I started keeping track of my miles in 1989, so 26 years or so.
Did you run in college or high school? No
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 20,043 (so glad I have kept track of my miles over the years.)
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Total miles in 2015 was 2112.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Lots of 5K’s and short tri’s, but only one half marathon and one full.
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, For marathons I use a Nike Advanced plan that was promoted by the Chicago Marathon, and for Ironman I use Be Iron Fit.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Absolutely! I firmly believe that the training I do for Ironman triathlons pushed me into the zone of being able to qualify. I believe that was the most beneficial aspect of my BQ.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, the typical fartleks and intervals at various distances were employed.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? It boils down to four factors for me to finally qualify for Boston. First, I had to stop winging it and follow a plan. This brought down my time significantly, but still left me with a good 10 minute deficit to make up to qualify.
Secondly, I started a running streak (at least a mile a day on 1/1/15.) This improved my fitness and running strength. I kept at that streak for 4 years and ended it the day after running the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Third, and most importantly, I became a triathlete and started doing Ironman training and races. This taught me so much about building to a goal, as well as proper nutrition during the race, an aspect that I had previously given very little attention to. In 2016, I also did Ironman Lake Placid in July and then started my training for Chicago after a brief recovery.
And lastly, I was patient and aged to the point where my abilities were more in line with the qualifying standards. My son qualified at 24 years of age, there was no way I could have done that.
Thanks for allowing me to share my experience.