How Michael Pearlman Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name: Michael Pearlman

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 45

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 137

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Colfax Marathon (Denver)

Tell us a little about the race. This was my second time running this marathon. The previous year I had been running fairly strong until Mile 21, when I hit the wall and blew up in the final 5 miles to finish in 3:33. Weather was cooler the second year, with almost no wind. This time I was familiar with the course and had focused on finishing my long runs strong, running faster for the final few miles. This seemed to work as I didn’t fall apart in the final 10k this time, plus I was motivated by the realization at mile 21 that I had a chance to BQ.

Interestingly, I had a calf issue flare up about two weeks before the race, so I was super cautious during my taper and even skipped my final long run. To my amazement, I managed a 13-minute PR and a BQ.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?  11 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 900

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? Yes, Masters Marathon program from Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon”

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 really. I swam the day after my long runs to aid in recovery but did not actively attempt any significant cross training.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Hudson’s Master’s program included some speed work and intervals, most of which I did on a treadmill.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? This was only my 3rd road marathon and I really didn’t expect to BQ, but I think a combination of factors worked in my favor. I was familiar with the course, the race conditions were favorable and I worked at improving my speed. The important thing to realize is that everyone is different. In my case, I never ran more than 40 miles a week during training and I ran 4 days a week at most. This allowed my body time to both adapt and recover and I was injury free during my training. If you are focused on quality runs I believe that can benefit you more than just quantity and junk miles. Learn about your body, and what works for you particularly if you are over 40 because you don’t recover as quickly.

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John C’s Story of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

Name: John C

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 47

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’11

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 154

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

Tell us a little about the race. Perfect weather day in 2017—prior year 2016 was super hot/humid and disaster for me. Course is flat out and back and relatively small race. Met folks on the course from various parts of US who came to the race for BQ or NYCQ attempts.

Had trained for 3:20 goal, 3:15 stretch goal, and weather/luck/fitness helped me run 3:13:xx

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 3.5 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 4000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2059–1455 of that in the final 6 months

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 4; 1 slow marathon, 1 half, 15k and 5 mile

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? Lots of extra Pre-hab type exercise work and PT during last 3 months to support training volume and recovery.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Coach is a Daniels program coach, so very typical of Daniels programs in last 3-4 months (2 workouts per week + long weekend run) but lots of creativity to keep it interesting and work around my work travel and family stuff.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Like others in this age bracket, I had experience as an athlete in HS/college but a big gap when I started work/family. College rowing was my first/only exposure to endurance work. So I was a very low odometer runner when I started in mid-40s. Most of process for me has been about volume or base building (and getting leaner). Trying to add volume safely and avoid injury, learning my recovery rhythms, how to eat better and getting enough good sleep to support training and recovery at higher workloads. Learning that monthly and yearly work is more important than weekly mileage for my goals was important too. Also, while obvious to most, I took a long time to learn how to take my easy days easy enough, so I could properly stress myself in workouts and recover/adapt.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Derick

Name: Derick

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 29

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 153

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Kiawah Island

Tell us a little about the race. Pancake flat course with half marathoners splitting off at mile 9. 50° and 100% humidity at the start approaching 60° by the finish. Just one other guy with me after the split. Ran together until he started slowing at the half. Seemed like everyone was falling apart on the 2nd half as I was passing everyone I saw. Struggled hard with quad pain last 7 miles, but managed to maintain pace for the most part.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 15 years, on and off, 5 continuous

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 13000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1870

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 19

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. My quads were what always failed on my late in the marathon. After a couple of PRs that spring I had a foot injury. After a few weeks off, I only ran about 25miles/week that summer and biked heavily. Didn’t start increasing mileage until September after nearly breaking the half PR I set before the injury.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yeah, that was one of my only runs during the summer.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I had planned on running a marathon the previous December, but bailed late. Started hitting 60 mile weeks and ran 3 20 milers. Had some huge PRs in 8-15K races along the way.

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How Nicolas Shaw Qualified for Boston Marathon

Name: Nicholas Shaw

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Baltimore

Tell us a little about the race. I had no idea I was going to do the race until the day before I was offered a free entry through the company I worked for. I was doing about 40-60 miles a week of essentially only base mileage. Since I knew it was a hard course and I had never run more than 16 miles at once I was expecting around a 3:15. I ended up going 2:54 while getting progressively faster throughout the race, needless to say I was pretty shocked.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 10 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 15,000

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

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Probably 15 most in the begining of the year (10K or shorter 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, Base mileage and lots of fruits and veggies

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Did some general strength and lifting

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Was only a collegiate track team at the beginning of the year, but once I graduated all I did was base except for the occasional set of hill sprints.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Don’t use generic training plans. Do your own research and figure out how your body works. There is too much genetic variance among individuals to follow cookie cutter training plans. If you can figure out the way your body adapts to certain stimuli you can optimize training.

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Ian’s Story of Qualifying for Boston Marathon

Name: Ian

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 47

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’7”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 137

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Eugene

Tell us a little about the race. I used a power meeter for this marathon training cycle and was quite confident that I could hold 237 watts the whole way and finish in 3:15. I came through the half at 1:36:50 and was running easy and relaxed, so I picked up the effort to 240-245 watts. Every half mile or so, I was picking off runners and felt better and better. The last 5K was my fastest and ended up running 3.5 minutes negative split to cross the finish at the Hayward Field track in 3:09:12. It was my 4th marathon and first in 4 years. Previous PR was 3:23.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 34 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 10,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 3

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? Yes, Jim Vance’s Run With Power

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 in your training? If so, how? Yes. Lots of Marathon- to Half Marathon-paced tempo work. 2 quality/speed workouts per week.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Consistency is key. You simply have to put in the daily miles and make sure to do a couple of quality runs per week. For example 3 x 30 minutes or 5 x 1 mile at marathon pace.

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Dan Stedman’s Story of Qualifying for Boston Marathon

Name: Dan Stedman

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 58

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6′

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 163

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Mohawk to Hudson Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. My wife and I trained for roughly 6 months, following a training program I found on line. I had been running more seriously, starting in 2015 while my wife was a 25 year committed runner. Running a marathon was on my bucket list and after finishing a half marathon in 1:36, I thought, if I continued running, I could complete a marathon and quite possibly qualify for Boston. My wife on the other hand had no interest in training for or running a marathon. She did however run with me on my long runs until one day, I said to her, “you’ve done all the long runs, you should sign-up and run the marathon. Too make a long story, short, we both BQ’d at our first marathon. My time was 3:35 and I struggled coming home. My wife, however, ran a great race until the last 2 miles where she really struggled with dehydration but still managed to run a 4:14 and 2nd in her age group. Quiet an accomplishment for someone who did not want to run. (She has since run 4 more marathons, winning her age group in the Buffalo Marathon).

For individuals who are looking to BQ, the Mohawk to Hudson is an ideal marathon. It is mostly downhill or flat as it follows the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. Some hills but they are not too difficult.

We both ran the 2018 Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, due to the weather, neither of us had a good race but I imagine many other runners were in the same boat as us.

I am looking forward to 2019 as I have already qualified. I’m hoping my wife can qualify as well.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 35, but seriously on 2 years.

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 11,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1,000

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? Yes, found it on the internet

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. Walked a great deal most evenings (we run in the mornings). Walking gave us time to unwind before bedtime and helped with our recoveries.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Ran either a 5k or 10K about every other week. Some with our running club and others as unattached runners.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? When I started running seriously, I weighed 206 lbs. We changed our diet to more plant based (fruits and vegetables) with chicken or lean meat. Increasing my weekly mileage while tracking my caloric intake (myfitnesspal app) helped me to lose 40+ lbs. The weigh loss helped me to run longer and faster with less stress on my legs. Getting into a good BMI was critical to my success. I also started doing weight training to strengthen our cores (push-ups mostly for me while my wife did push-ups, squats, light weights and lunges).

Lastly, having a good running partner (my wife) helped me “win the battle of the mattress” and to get out on those days when I just wanted to stay in bed.

My recommendations are to: Try to lower your BMI. Eat healthy. Consider doing some weight training. Follow a running plan. Join a running club and/or find a partner that will push you when you need it.

Wishing you all the best in your quest to BQ. Peace.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Steve

Name: Steve

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 45

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’7”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 145

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Rock n Roll DC, March 2017

Tell us a little about the race. This was my first ever marathon, temps were 20F at the start, 30F at the finish with a biting wind! Nice course for the first 15 miles, the rest not so much. Got across the line in 3:20:17.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? On and off for 15 years but specifically for 18 months.

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 2500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1 x 70.3 tri, 2 x Duathlon, 1 x 13.1

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? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Swim, bike and strength training; I was also training for IM Lake Placid in July 17. Always did my long run the day after a long ride to introduce fatigue. Never ran more than 36 miles in one week leading up to this race.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, track training once per week. One long track training session per month

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Add more cross training to reduce run miles and prevent injury. Add a hilly run and a interval run to build strength. Don’t neglect the core! Practice nutrition on long runs.

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