The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Haley Walker

Name: Haley Walker

 Sex: Female

 Age (at the time of first BQ): 27

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

 Weight (at the time of first BQ): 168lb

 At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Chicago

 Tell us a little about the race. It was an amazing, magical, effortless day. 1min negative split!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 6 years or so – it was my sixth marathon, started with half’s in 2013 and then did my first full in 2015, qualified in 2018

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5,800

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1162

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 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?

No, I trained with a small local group…our motto: 1) less is more 2) be religiously consistent 3) cross train!

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Weekly swimming and biking – dabble in triathlon, primarily a runner

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes – weekly(ish) speedwork or tempos…short (500-1000m, 4-6k total)

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Don’t get too obsessive I guess?

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The BQ(Q) — Erin

Name: Erin

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 19

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’4″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 104

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Philadelphia Marathon 2013

Tell us a little about the race. My time was 3:34:38. The weather was perfect – average temp of 57 degrees throughout the race. The course was relatively flat with a total elevation gain of 557 ft (by my GPS).

The first mile was extremely hectic because I ended up at the back of the corral and had to pass a lot of people. The first ~7 miles overall were very congested, but the crowd support was also terrific. The first 13.1 miles overall felt like they went by quickly, and miles 14-17 were uneventful as well.

Around mile 18 was when I started feeling not great. By mile 20, I was nauseated, and my legs were really hurting. I was worried that I would give up and start walking, but I started talking out loud to myself, saying things like, “I am going to qualify for Boston today.” This definitely made me sound crazy, but I think it helped.

I was excited to get to mile 24 where a few of my friends would be cheering for me. Two friends jumped in there and paced me from miles 24-26. I was in so much pain that I closed my eyes a few times. When I crossed the finish line and saw 3:34:38 on my watch, I felt euphoric. I gave that race everything I had, and I did it. I even got 2nd place in my age group.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? About 4 years on and off. I was not a naturally fast kid, but I had always wanted to be one of those people who could run for miles without getting tired. I joined high school track because it kept me accountable in reaching this goal (I was by far the slowest person on the walk-on team). I started running consistently about 2.5 years before my BQ.

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 3706

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1436

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? No I was running with a (social, not competitive) running club at the time, and I mostly just tried to run as much as possible. On average, I ran 5-6 miles 5-6 days per week, and this sometimes include two runs in one day (I felt like the feeling of running on tired legs really helped me mentally on race day). I did two 20 mile long runs but otherwise did not follow a consistent long run schedule. I also raced a half marathon, four 6ks, and a 10k (in that order) in the 3 months leading up to the marathon.

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 was part of a CrossFit gym during that time but only went maybe 5 times in the 3 months leading up to the race. Cross training was not a priority.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any way I could have BQed without speed work as I am naturally not a very fast person. I did 5 track workouts and 6 races in the 2 months leading up to the marathon. (I definitely wasn’t full-out “racing” all 6 of those races – some were more like tempo runs.)

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? The mental part is no joke. Just as much as you prepare for the physical challenge of the race, prepare yourself for the mental aspect.

Try meditation – learning to quiet your mind and control your thoughts will help when you feel like walking during miles 20-26. I also recommend getting used to running on tired legs, like doing a workout after an easy run earlier in the day.

Also, practice telling yourself the story of how you will qualify. When I felt like dying during the later miles, I kept thinking to myself, “After this is over, I don’t want to be telling my friends how I was on track to qualify until mile 20 and then couldn’t quite do it. I want to tell them the story of how everything started hurting at mile 20, but I was able to go on, even despite that, and qualify.”

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The BQ(Q) – Megan Capitano

Name: Megan Capitano

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 32

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’6”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 120

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Mountains 2 Beach

Tell us a little about the race. May of 2018, mostly flat course though the advertise it’s all downhill(not true)

Ventura, Ca so mild climate

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 1-2 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? Approximately 1000 miles/yr

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1000 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1 full marathon to qualify, 3 half 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? 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? Yes, Cycling, basketball, gym- always tried to incorporate some kind of alternative activity than just running 5-6 days/week

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Not really, basketball helped a little bit

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Relax about it, meet other runners and have the confidence that you believe you can do it, and have fun! It’s the journey, not the destination!

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Vanessa Jimenez

Name: Vanessa Jimenez

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 25

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’6

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 125

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Napa Valley Marathon  

Tell us a little about the race. It was amazing weather for the race: low to mid 30’s at the start and low wind. I started out slower than I wanted for the 1st mile because of the crowd of people, but hit my stride by mile 2. From there on I just zoned in on what I had been doing in training. I took gels at miles 6,13, and 19 and rotated between Gatorade and water at aid stations. I averaged around 7:50 pace up until mile 22 when an excruciating side cramp killed some of the fun. From then until the finish it was all I could do to just keep moving along. I’m not proud to say that I did walk about 100 feet somewhere around mile 24 but I picked it back up and continued on, hitting my goal of a first marathon BQ at 3:30:40!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Off and on since middle school- 13 years-ish

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? Not sure- about 500 miles total since I began training for the race

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Just the marathon and a 5k about 8 months prior

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 Hal Higdons novice 2

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 teach and take many Pure Barre classes which is a fantastic low impact cross training for running

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? No, the only speedwork I did was some tempo runs

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Set a realistic goal, but let yourself dream a little. Do the training and trust what you’ve already discovered your body can do. Growing up as a dancer, I view a race as a performance. Follow everything you did in rehearsal, just throw in that extra level of sparkle and passion, and if you screw a few things up, there can always be another performance.Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

Stefanie B’s story of qualifying for Boston Marathon in her first marathon

Name: Stefanie B

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 23

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’2″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 103

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? NYC Marathon 2013

Tell us a little about the race. I qualified in my first marathon, and had no expectations. My main goal was to finish, but to run sub 3 hours was icing on the cake. I was coming off of competitive college training, and was still being coached by my previous college coach. I knew I was capable of a good time, but still did not have a goal in mind since it was my first marathon. Marathon morning was freezing (in the 30s’) and extremely windy so conditions were not the best. My most memorable memory will always be how my shoelace came untied within the first mile of the race – I will never forget that! (and yes, I had to stop and tie it…was only the first mile of 26!).

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 10 years (since I was 13)

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? I have no idea, haha. Basically ran 30-40 mile weeks during High School. When I went to college, I was consistency running 70-80 mile weeks.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Again no idea, but I was still doing at least 60-70 mile weeks since I was still being coached my my college coach.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Maybe somewhere between 8-10. I did several local 5ks races, and a half-marathon leading up to my 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? No, Basically followed my college coaches plan and philosophy which was based on Jack Daniels. He believed in running minutes (not miles), and of course incorporated tempos and interval training.

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 did not cross train much during marathon training since I was running high mileage weeks.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes – at the time I still wanted to keep my times fast for 5ks, so my coach would give me speed work at the track as well (i.e. 400s, 800s, etc.).

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? It is a very great accomplishment, and you should celebrate when you qualify. Unfortunately for me, I have yet to run a Boston Marathon since I injured myself after my first marathon, and almost injured myself prior to Boston 2015. I had to cancel Boston 2015, and so now I am looking at Boston 2018. My advice to you is to train smart, eat right and listen to your body.

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How Lauren D qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name:  Lauren D

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 30

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

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

Tell us a little about the race. Sugarloaf Marathon was my second marathon; I ran my first at Baystate in October 2016 and I think I was just on the verge of 3:35 at that point if everything went perfectly, but I had a tough day (chest cold and then nausea/vomiting) and finished walk/jogging in a disappointing 3:48 and change. After that race I put in a TON of work for Sugarloaf, had a decent but not 100% perfect race day, and all the work paid off. I toed the start line perfectly healthy, nutrition strategy was on point, and I paced the race really well (1:46:36 first half, 1:46:05 second half). The first half felt easy even with the big climb in miles 8-10, the last 5 or so miles were torture in the sun, but I knew if I kept moving I’d have the BQ at that point so I just got it done. I slowed a little in the last few miles but had enough gas left for a hard kick at the very end.

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? ~6500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 10 – not all goal races/100% effort, though

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, Designed by my coach – medium-long, long, workout, and 3-4 easy days.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Not really. I strength trained a little but dropped it in favor of more mileage pretty early on (time constraints).

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes – lots of hill sprints and strides early on, a very few track workouts (mostly 10k pace or slower) in the last 6 weeks. Longer tempos at marathon pace or a little faster throughout training. Timed intervals on the road – between 10K-HM pace with recovery just a little slower than marathon pace. HILLS. I didn’t run the hills hard outside of the short sprints, but I ran a lot of them and especially tried to get them in toward the end of medium-long and long runs when I was tired.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Keep working! Lifetime mileage and a healthy dose of mental toughness will get you there.

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – Jen S

Name: Jen S

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 25

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’5.5″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 115

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?  Baystate Marathon, Lowell, MA

Tell us a little about the race. I had no idea standing on the start line that I was going to run a BQ, or go sub-3:30, or run a 43-minute PR that day. But crazily, all three happened in one race! All I knew going in was that I felt fit and strong, and the only real goal I had for the race was for my run to reflect that. Baystate is a flat and fast course, and the weather was perfect for a marathon that day (low 50s, crisp and clear, calm winds), as it usually is during fall in New England. I felt good and strong throughout the race and ran fairly even splits (<1min positive split from the half).

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? 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? 8, all were shorter running races and some triathlons including my first half ironman

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, 1 tempo, 1 speed session, and 1 long run per week. Easy recovery days mixed in to bring up the mileage totals and flush out the hard efforts.

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 think it was a pretty big factor, in retrospect. The year I BQ’d was the first year I started doing triathlons, and so I’d done some more cycling than usual and WAY more swimming that I ever had in my life (still a terrible swimmer, though!). Tri training helped push my fitness into new territories, and if I had to distill the “secret” of making big gains in marathoning into a line or two, it’s that you just have to be overall quite fit (doesn’t have to be triathlons, just whatever effectively builds up your aerobic capacity) before starting to do marathon-specific work. The combo of those 2 things will get you quite far, in my opinion. Sounds obvious, but I’m guessing it’s not done in practice as much as it should be!

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? I did longer tempos (9-11 mile range, during the week/in addition to the weekly long run) and I think they are really helpful for me. Plus they are my favorite kind of workout.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Just the 2 things: 1) be fit and 2) medium-long run tempos.