The BQ(Q) – Bob D

Name Bob D

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 39

Height: 5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 145

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Loco Marathon (Newmarket, NH)

Tell us a little about the race. Advertised as fast and flat. Strava gave 861ft, garmin 504ft. Two loop race, miles 10-13 and 23-26 being on rail trail gravel. I think those miles from 10-13 helped save my legs for the second half grind. The trails were very muddy though which became more of avoid the puddles at all cost type of running. Pacers were setup for 7, 7:10 and other paces. I followed the 7:10 pacers for the majority of the race. There was some wind and drizzle, temps were decent though and no sun.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Started running Jan 2014

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 10000

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? 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? No, 1 interval, 1 tempo, 1 slow long

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? None.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how? Speed or tempo type work on tuesday and thursdays. Long slow on saturday or sundays. Other days super easy.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Very odd cycle for me, I attempted a hadd style approach at first and was running decently fast long runs at 7:30/mi pace. Got burned out. Had some really poor long runs. Then rebooted, forgot about going for the BQ and just did Tuesday/thursday workouts and long runs slow (8/mi). Didn’t know how the marathon was going to go, simply decided race day I’d follow the 7:10 pacer and hope for the best. Took GU at the start, then at miles 4, 8, 12.5, 17, 21. Had one more but couldn’t stomach another. Carried my own gatorade water bottle + extra GU tablet dissolved in it. Took some aid station water but not much. Eventually I felt good enough around mile 23 that I felt like I could speed up a bit, didn’t work out though and barely gained a minute on the pacer. Finished sub 3:07 for a BQ below the new standard for 40 year old age group of 3:10. Also of note, I ran a 9/23 half in 1:28:46, was disappointed in that race as I thought I could go sub 1:28. Afterwards I sort of felt my body was geared more towards the marathon.

Number of 19+ long runs: 9
Number of 16+ long runs: 4
Number of 14+ long runs: 5

Max MPW: 71
Avg MPW from June 1 – Oct 28: 62
Avg MPW last 18 weeks: 63

Taper really was only skipping the long run previous weekend and taking a few days off week of the marathon and all easy 5-6mi runs.

 

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

 

Totals for the week ending 7-5-2015

 

Run Miles for the week: 28.3 in 4:36:48
Run Miles for the year: 761
Projected total run miles for the year: 1485.4
Weekly/Daily Average to reach 2k miles 7/49.3
Run Streak: 0
Did I hit every session of 18/55? N
What did I miss? A 4 mile recovery run
Runs that were one stupid mile: 0
Days until I beat my old run streak: n/a
Prospect Park loops for the week: 3
Prospect Park loops for the year: 47
Bike Miles for the Week: 25
Bike Miles for the Year: 384.7
Projected total bike miles for the year: 750.9
Weekly/Daily average to reach 2k bike miles: 9.2/64.1
Swim Meters for the Week 0
Swim Meters for the Year 4700
Body Weight Work: 0
Total Exercise Time: ~6:30:00
Average Weight: 181
Books Finished: 0
Books by Women: 0
Total Books for the Year: 27
Total Books by Women: 12
Percentage of total books by women: 44
Books per week to reach 52 1

Notes: Holiday fun got in the way of one run, but I still feel ok about this first week of marathon training – I got in a solid speed session and completed a totally painful long run on almost no sleep and bad nutrition.

 

Two weeks out from the New York Triathlon. I’m not giving it a heck of a lot of thought. I hope to get a short open water swim in this weekend, mainly just to see if my wetsuit still works. Lets hope it does, cause its pretty late in the game to rent one!

Onward!

Totals for the Week Ending 3-8-2015

Run Miles for the week: 29.8 in 4:53:42
Run Miles for the year: 265,9
Projected total miles for the year: 1427.3
Weekly/Daily averages to reach 2k run miles 41.2/5.9
Run Streak: 2 (10.4/20.8)
Number of runs that were one stupid mile: 0
Days until I beat my old run streak: 112
Prospect Park loops for the week: 1
Prospect Park loops for the year: 11
Bike Miles for the week: 0
Bike Miles for the year 0
Projected total bike miles 0
Weekly/Daily averages to reach 1k bike miles 23.6/3.4
Swim Meters for the week: 0
Total Swim Meters for the year: 0
Body weight work 00:00:00
Total Exercise Time ~5:00
Average Weight 181
Books Finished: 1 (Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, Cheryl Strayed)
Books by Women 1
Total books for the year 7
Total books by women 3
Percentage of total books read which were written by women 42%
Books per week to reach 52 1.06
Movies watched while running on the goddamn treadmill: 0
Total number of movies watched while running on the goddamn treadmill for the year 4
Milo posts for the week 3
Milo posts for the year 26

Notes: Got in a strong 16 mile long run, but the week-a-day runs were still lacking. Time to get serious about a new run streak I think – it’s the only way I seem to be able to get regular mileage—and regular mileage is what I need!

 

Totals for the Week Endining 2.15.2015

Run Miles for the week: 25.3 in 4:04:20
Run Miles for the year: 180.8
Projected total miles for the year: 1450
Weekly/Daily averages to reach 2k run miles 40.2/5.7
Run Streak: 2 (9.1/18.3)
Number of runs that were one stupid mile: 1
Days until I beat my old run streak: 112
Prospect Park loops for the week: 0
Prospect Park loops for the year: 7
Bike Miles for the week: 0
Bike Miles for the year 0
Projected total bike miles 0
Weekly/Daily averages to reach 1k bike miles 22/3.1
Swim Meters for the week: 0
Total Swim Meters for the year: 0
Body weight work 00:00:00
Total Exercise Time 4:00
Average Weight 183
Books Finished: 1 (Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, Scott Jurek
Books by Women 0
Total books for the year 4
Total books by women 1
Percentage of total books read which were written by women 25%
Books per week to reach 52 1.05
Movies watched while running on the goddamn treadmill: 2 (McConkey & The Inga Project)
Total number of movies watched while running on the goddamn treadmill for the year 4
Milo posts for the week 2
Milo posts for the year 18

Notes: A little better? Baby steps.

 

The BQ(Q) Kaitlyn

Here’s another great BQ(Q) from another redditor, Kaitlyn. Thanks Kaitlyn, I really appreciate hearing about the methodical approach you took to get your BQ!

Name: Kaitlyn

Sex: Female

Age: 25

Height: 5’4”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 123
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time?

The New Jersey Marathon, 3:28:15

Tell us a little about the race.

New Jersey has a very flat course right along the shore — perfect for BQing, and why I picked that race. The day of the race, however, was very windy. Turning a corner at about mile 19 was like turning into a wall of wind (not to be confused with hitting the metaphorical wall). I felt great the entire race and was on pace for a solid 3:25 (I was really hoping to BQ by 10 minutes so I could register early), but that wind really took it out of me at the end, tacking three minutes onto my goal time. Other than the wind, however, the weather was generally perfect. Maybe a little warm, but not bad. I wore a hat though–which I’m not used to–because there was virtually no shade and I’m tremendously pale.

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

Short answer: 1 year consistently immediately before, about 6 years cumulatively in the decade before.

Long answer: I ran track and cross country in high school, and I was okay–on varsity–but not one of our strongest runners. I decided not to run in college because I was taking on two majors and thought the student athlete thing would be too much. As it were, I ended up getting a nasty case of ITBS about midway through my freshman year. I stopped running for a year and put on some weight. By junior year, I was unhappy with how out of shape I had gotten and decided to start running again, and ran my first half marathon (1:40:10). I continued to run recreationally through the end of college but stopped during my first year of full-time work, only to pick it back up about a year later when training for my second half marathon. I’ve run pretty consistently since then, with the exception of time off for injuries.

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

Probably about 5,000 miles (I didn’t track these things well in high school)

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

1,100 miles, which included one month of time off from my first marathon to deal with IT band issues and a few weeks of time off in the fall to deal with plantar fasciitis.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

11 — a lot in part because I was working through a program to gain entry into the NYC Marathon that requires you run 9 local races and volunteer at one. I ran three 5ks, one 4-miler, two 5-milers, one 10-miler, 0ne 15K, two half marathons, and one 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?

I took about five different programs and made my own based on my schedule and the milage and types of workouts I knew my body could handle without getting injured. Following strict programs always seems to result in injury for me.

I only averaged about 35 miles a week in the 16 week training cycle leading up to the race, with a peak week of 42 miles. Before training started, I undertook a very conservative approach to building up my miles, starting with 15 miles in one week, 17.5 miles the next, 20 miles, 22.5 miles to 25 miles the first week of training.

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

Yep, I swear my running club makes all the difference! It helps to have people to push you in interval/hill/tempo workouts and to run with for long runs.

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

Yes! Cross training is key! It keeps me from getting injured. I started taking barre classes, which I think really helped address weakness in my glutes and hips that I’ve pinned as a major source of my IT band problems.

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

I generally try to do one tempo/hill/longer interval run a week on Tuesdays and then a shorter interval/speed workout on the track on Thursday (my running team’s practice schedule). During that training season leading up to my first BQ, I’d say in reality I only did about 40 percent of those planned workouts, but they were still very valuable. In my most recent season I did those workouts more like 65 percent of the time, and I shaved another 7 minutes off my time to 3:21. When I didn’t get formal workouts in, I tried to do my runs at marathon pace or faster.

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

Keep at it. You need to put in the training (and the cross training) to make it to the finish line fresh and injury free. I continue to build up my weekly mileage with each marathon training cycle. I went out too hard in training for my first marathon (averaging about 45 miles a week), and paid for it. I showed up at the starting line injured, put in a good effort in the first 18 miles, and walked/limped the last 8 miles to finish in 5:09:11–less than ideal. I learned I personally needed to cut back on my mileage and instead focus on getting in quality workouts. Learn what works for you.

Oh, and keep in mind it’ll be very difficult to run your BQ if you don’t run a decent amount of your training miles at or faster than marathon pace. I can’t tell you how many people I know who say they want to BQ, but have run virtually no runs at their goal race pace. I’d recommend at least a few long runs that include some middle miles at race pace and progression long runs that see you gradually build speed to run the final miles at goal pace.

Somewhat related: caffeinated salt pills (I use salt stick) are like magic. I have never gotten near hitting the proverbial wall since I started using them. I hate gatorade, so they are a great way for me to make sure I have enough electrolytes in me, and the caffeine is amazing in helping me remain focused (though I am extremely caffeine sensitive.)

The BQ(Q) – Simon O

Its marathon season now and the BQ stories are coming in fast and furious. Thanks, Simon, for filling out the questionnaire and telling us about his BQ!

After reading the story of my team mate and friend, Greg, I would like to share my story on your blog as well. My BQ was very recent. It was achieved just 12 days ago (October 19th, 2014). Please review my answer, and please consider posting it on your blog. I would like to inspire many runners that nothing is impossible- I am not a born runner (nor did I started running in high school or college). 

Name: Simon O

Blog: http://simonongpassiontorun.blogspot.ca/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimonOng88

Athlinks: https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/simong89/Profile

 Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 26

Height: 5 feet 8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 158

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

Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2014- Toronto was my third marathon in my three years of running. My first two marathons were in Calgary with the following times: 4:38:32 (2012) and 3:57:37 (2013). Toronto was my first marathon, in which I followed a training schedule from beginning to end. During the training phase, all my workout time(s) were pointing toward a time of 2:55, which was my goal going into the race. The week before race day didn’t really go to plan – I was busy on my feet, and did not get enough rest. Race day came, and to be honest I was not really expecting a BQ that day! I was lucky to have my assistant coach (Mark Martens) and the rest of my running teammates (the Adrenaline Rush Athletic Team) there to give me the extra confident boost. The first 32k was at a controllable and conservative pace (4:12-4:15 min/km). It was windy that day (I think the wind were going around 20-25k/hr). Fortunately, my assistant coach, Mark, told me to draft behind him, and that he will keep me on pace, and if ever he could no longer hold his pace that I should run without him. By km 39, our pace dropped to 4:20min/km. By km 40 to the end, both Mark and I were digging deep. We were both surprised to finish under 3 hours in such windy conditions, not to mention a slight uphill close to the end. Another team mate of ours (Morris Roberts) finished under 3 hours, and was the only one in his age category (55-59) who have done it that day.

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

As some of you might have read the “No Limit” article in the Running Room magazine (link:http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/f592f3f8#/f592f3f8/58), I was 230 lb guy before I have started running in late 2011. Back in high school or college, I am a fat nerd who spent most of my time playing chess, and eating fast food. No athletic background, and was not interested in doing any sport (so, running was the last thing on my mind back then).  It was when I experienced some health problems that I began taking on running as my way to get back in shape. To this day, I am glad that I made that decision. Running is now my passion, and I could not go a single day without thinking of running. Thanks to my friends (you know who you are) and family for continuing to give me support and encouragement!

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

In my three years of running, I have probably logged up to 3,700 miles (around 6000 km).

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

I have logged in 1171 miles (1886 km) from the first week of marathon training (June 22, 2014) to the day before the BQ race (October 18, 2014). Most of these miles were done in group (team) runs. I love team runs, as it offers motivation, accountability, and some competitions (in our group long runs, we often joked about ‘who’s the winner’, as we raced each other in the last kilometre of the long run). Overall, it sure beats running alone with an iPod/mp3, when you have someone to talk to, or someone to joke around.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

I ran 22 races prior to Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The race ranged from 5k up to 25k (and from road races to cross-country trail races).

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 a training program outlined by my coach (Janice Mccaffrey). In the first few weeks of training, the main focus was to build strength, aerobic conditioning and speed. The paces were very conservative, and I learned how to run by effort rather than pace during this phase of training (especially on the hills). Afterwards, there was a transition phase where the focus was to improve lactate threshold. Following this phase was the “goal race specific phase”, where the legs had the opportunity to experience the goal marathon pace. But, I would say the most important part of the training program is the tapering phase, as our running performance improves during rest.

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

Yes! I run with the Adrenaline Rush Athletic Club, run by an awesome and amazing coach, Janice Mccaffrey. Ever since I joined this team in Dec 2013, I have been obtaining 5k, 10k, half marathon, and now marathon PB (and BQ). Coach Janice has a vast knowledge in running, and I am fortunate to be taught by her.

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

During my marathon training, I rarely do any cross training, with the exception of dragon boat paddling (which improves my core somewhat). In my opinion, the only way to be good in running is to do more running.

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

Yes, I think the speed and lactate threshold workouts play an important role. The paces for these workouts are way faster than marathon pace; hence, it makes marathon pace feel much easier and attainable on race day.

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

My final words: 

“Train hard, and smart! Follow your training plan, but also listen to your body. Come race day, it is important to step back and spend some time thinking of all your training. You should tell yourself in front of the mirror (honestly, I did this on race day!) that you are fit and you can do this! You must have faith in your training (as training does not lie!), but more important you must have faith in yourself. Have fun, and enjoy your journey to achieving a BQ – it worth it at the end!”

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The BQ(Q) – Justin B

Justin is a member of my wonderful running club, Prospect Park Track Club who BQ’ed two years ago. Nice work, Justin! I hope to see you at a club run soon and thank you in person for filling this out!

Name: Justin B

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 48

Height: 5’11’

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 182 lbs.

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

I got my BQ at the 2012 Mohawk-Hudson marathon, a point-to-point race from Schenectady to Albany, New York. My time was 3:24:23, which was a only 37 seconds under my age/time BQ threshold. (I had to run 3:25:00 or better) It was a race where everything went right for me. First off, the weather was perfect – 42 degrees at the start, overcast with no wind. The race had a relatively small field of about 1,000, so right from the start I could get to my goal pace. I am the type of runner for which a negative split is a chimera, so I went out fast and then held on for the last 10k. The last few miles were a gut punch and lots of mental calisthenics. A sense of desperation kept me going: I kept reminding myself that weather conditions were perfect and my body was responding as well as could be expected, thus if I fell short in this race, a better chance to BQ might never come along. Fear is a great motivator: mind and matter ultimately triumphed. It was a tremendous feeling of satisfaction to cross the finish line. … The race was Oct. 7 that year, and by a quirk, Boston 2013 registration was still open, even though the registration window had opened more than three weeks before. The first thing I did when I got home to Brooklyn that night was register for the 2013 Boston marathon, and I got accepted. (I ended up finishing Boston just over a half-hour before the explosions near the finish line, but that’s another story).

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

I ran one year of cross-country and indoor track my senior year in high school. I could run in the high 16s/low 17s for the 5k and my best indoor mile was 4:32. I mostly drank beer and played intramural hockey and softball in college. I ran a marathon in 1988 in Detroit, but soon after dropped running because I moved overseas to work as a foreign correspondent for newspapers. I didn’t run another race until 2010, starting with 5ks then working up to a half-marathon late that year. (I got back into running because I cut back on softball and soccer) I ran the inaugural Brooklyn marathon (6-plus laps in Prospect Park) in 2011, finishing in 3:42:00 at the age of 47. Given the toughness of the Brooklyn course, I decided then and there that a BQ was attainable and decided to go for it the next year. I was a college student in Boston and had watched the marathon each year in the mid-1980s. I’d always wanted to try to run one.

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

1,200 miles give or take

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

700 or so

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

A dozen or so in 2012. I like to race at all distances – 5k, 10k, half and full 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?

I got Pete Pfitzinger’s book, Advanced Marathoning, but followed it loosely. I also joined a track club (The Prospect Park Track Club in Brooklyn) and signed up for speed workouts on Tuesday nights. I needed the group workouts to motivate me to get speed work in. But mostly, when it comes to running, I’m a loner. In preparing for the BQ, I focused mostly on getting mileage in. Having said that, I’m not into the two-a-day thing. The most I ran was 55 miles per week. The first thing that goes for me in a distance race is my quads, so I paid attention to getting my quads acclimated to lots of miles.

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

Yes. I’m with PPTC in Brooklyn. The speed workouts are helpful, but I think I could BQ without them. I enjoy the club for the companionship mostly.

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

No. I hate swimming, and biking in New York is downright dangerous. I avoid gyms like the plague and have never run on a treadmill, I have no idea what is Instant Knockout and don’t plan on figuring it out. If I do anything in the form of cross-training, it’s playing occasionally in co-ed soccer and softball leagues. But I’ve cut way back on soccer because it’s murder on my ankles.

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

Speed work helps, I suppose. It certainly helps make me mentally tougher. And the mental challenge in a marathon is every bit as tough as the physical.

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

No matter how much you prepare, sometimes it comes down to the weather on race day, so you just have to be philosophical. I’m actually trying to BQ again this year, and I’ll be running Mohawk-Hudson again in October. But as a backup plan, I’m also registered for New York in November. This strategy is pricey, but also it’s a form of weather insurance. If I feel weather conditions are not favorable, or if I’m just not feeling it at the start of the race in the first eight miles or so, I plan to dial it back at Mohawk-Hudson and save myself for a shot a BQ at New York. If I go for it at Mohawk-Hudson, then I will do New York basically as a fun run, shooting for a time of 4:15 or so. Now that I’m 50, I only have to run 3:30 to BQ, so I’m hopeful that I can get in the ballpark.

I feel I was both lucky and good to get the BQ on my first real attempt at it. At the same time, my margin of error is always slim. I don’t expect to BQ ever again. But I want to be in position to give it a good shot, in the event the stars appear to be in proper alignment again. If I don’t BQ this year, I’m not sure I’ll try again anytime soon. Training to run a fast marathon takes a lot of time.