The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Gina

Name: Gina

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 36

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 132

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Zurich Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Zurich is a nice flat course with a couple of loops through the old town, and a long out-and-back along the lake. The weather on the day was ideal; around 12degC at the start and warmed up slightly throughout, sunny and a tiny bit hazy, no wind at all. There was even a view of the Alps while running along the lake!

This was my first marathon and it was in early April, so I trained through the winter for it. It was actually my first “long run” in shorts. I wasn’t exactly hot out, but I was still paranoid about being too warm, so I must’ve dumped a couple of litres of water over myself over the course of the race. The aid stations had mini water bottles, so it was easy to grab one and carry it for as long as you want.

I was pretty scared of the marathon. Everyone kept telling me how hard it is, how “anything can happen,” talking about hitting the wall, etc. I hoped The Wall was only a matter of nutrition, and ate around 6 gels during the race. I didn’t hit the wall. I had quite good luck in general I think. I didn’t really know what pace I could manage, so kind of guessed based on feel, but ended up running quite even splits with the second half just slightly faster than the first half. In the end it ended up being a really ideal first marathon experience. The only thing that went kind of poorly was some achilles pain about halfway through, which ended up going away again, but which prevented me from running for about 3 weeks after the marathon.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 21 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? I don’t really have a clue since I didn’t keep training logs for most of my life. My best guess is around 24,000 km. I ran consistently for all those years, but I was always a pretty low-mileage runner.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? About 1900 km. My highest-mileage year ever for sure!

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? I ran about 15 races in the year before the marathon, which is typical for me. This was a mix of running races and triathlons. The running races were either cross-country or road, and varied from 5km to HM. The tris were sprint and olympic distance.

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 Every week I did: 1 interval session, 1 long run, and 2 easy runs. I also biked twice a week and swam about once a week.

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 find that cross-training helps me have a slightly heavier training load without as much stress on my legs. As mentioned, I also do triathlon (though running is BY FAR my best sport) so I typically regularly bike and swim as well.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? I do speed work about once a week. I think this is fundamental to my being able to run fast. There have been a couple of times in my life when I’ve gone many months without and speedwork, and my running has always suffered. I value speedwork more than any other type of run. It’s also the most fun 😉

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Good luck! I hope you make it 🙂

The BQ(Q) – Julie B

Thanks for filling this out Julie, I hope you and Jeff can get you to a new PR at Boston this year!

Name: Julie B

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 38

Height: 5’6”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 115

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

Charlevoix Marathon (Michigan) on 6/28/2008. 3:42, and I needed a 3:45 to qualify  This was definitely one of the best races I have experienced.  For starters I met a local runner who I had heard a lot about but never met, he ran with me for a few miles and he and his wife were at the finish line cheering me on when I came in.  We now run many miles together and co-founded our local running group.  And the sense of accomplishment crossing that finish line with a BQ time was indescribable.  At that point I really had to work for it, now that I am in another age group and more experienced it comes easier so I don’t have the same sense of satisfaction. It’s still cool, just not the same.

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

2 years, it was my 3rd marathon

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

Approx 2500

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

Approx 1000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Just that one

Did you follow a canned program? 

I followed Hal Higdon’s 18 week program and threw in Yasso 800’s, which I believe really helped me meet my qualifying goal.

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

Not at that time, I did all of my training on my own.  I did my first two marathons with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training so I followed their training schedule (which was basically just training to finish) and ran some of my long runs with that group.  I now run the majority of my miles with others in my running club.  I have just started to utilize a coach, who is going to help me PR at Boston 2013…right, Jeff???

Did cross training play a role in your training?

For my first BQ I did not do a lot of cross training, but I try to fit it into my schedule about once a week now.  Mainly circuit training with light weights.

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

I think the Yasso 800’s were a big help for my first BQ.

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

When I first started running I never even dreamed that I would BQ. For my first couple of years running my only races were marathons and my time for my first marathon was 4:31, my second 4:08.  When I finished my second marathon on a hilly course in San Francisco with a time that was 23 minutes better I started thinking that if I could repeat that time difference I could BQ.  I then decided to find a training program to follow and add some speed work, which I think is a must, especially for those with tougher qualifying times.