The BQ(Q) – Jeff E

Jeff’s blog the Logic of Long Distance is one of the smartest sports related blogs out there. You should be reading it. He is also an extremely fast marathoner who, like many of the people who have responded to this questionnaire, is very active on Running Ahead. Thanks for taking the time to answer this Jeff, very thoughtful response to the last question.

Name: Jeff E (thelogicoflongdistance.blogspot.com)

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): I didn’t run a marathon until age of 29, and I BQd in my first attempt

Height: 5’7″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140

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

The Flying Monkey Marathon. It is a hilly race in my hometown of Nashville, TN. It was the inaugural event. I love the park in which the marathon is held. I won the marathon in 2:50:25. Technically, this was not a BQ, as it is not a certified course. I suppose my first technical BQ was 6 months later at the Country Music Marathon. I ran 2:38:06.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school? I had been running for more than 15 years. I began running in high school and also competed in college at both the DI level (Rice University) and DIII level (Williams College)

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

30,000 miles

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

~2000 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

2 or 3–I was getting back into running after 3 or 4 years of non-competitive running.

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 didn’t follow a program. My training philosophy was to run regularly during the week and do a long, harder run at marathon effort on the weekend.

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

It was just me.

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

No.

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

I’ve got a million thoughts. It was easy for me to BQ, and it wasn’t my primary goal, but I can relate to the task, as I have had many “reach” goals through the course of my long running career. The two keys to reaching the place I did in my running were self-belief and work ethic. The first is the most important because the second is founded upon it. You get out the door and put in the miles because you believe that you are capable of being a better runner. Most of my weaknesses in training have to do with self-doubt, not improper methods. Self-doubt causes you to work too little at times and work too hard at other times. No one gets there through super-human effort. The sort of effort that is required is the human kind–getting out the door, putting in the work, until the days turns into weeks, the weeks turn into months, and the months turn into years. This is the only picture of human achievement that makes sense to me, and there is nobility in it. Paradoxically, most people fail in the marathon because they try too hard and they work at a level they cannot sustain. Finding that level of sustainable effort requires a great degree of self-knowledge, and it takes runners time and patience to find it.

The BQ(Q) – Cory M

Cory is another running who got his BQ the hard way, over 12,000 miles on the road. Way to stick with it dude, and thanks for taking part!

Name: Corland M

Sex: Male

Age: (at the time of first BQ): 34 (nearly 35)

Height: 6 feet 0 inches

Weight: (at the time of first BQ):  176lbs

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

 

Grand Rapids Marathon 2010.  It was 50 degrees and sunny, no wind.  It was the 3rd time I’d run the GR Marathon.  The course is flat and less than 30 minutes from my home.  It features some park and blacktop bike path.   Much of the race is on 2 lane blacktop roads south from downtown Grand Rapids along the Grand River.  I chose to run with the Pi Pace Team.  Their goal was 3:14.  I needed 3:15:59.  The pace team started out at a pace just over the 3:14 goal, dipped just below the goal pace several miles in the middle of the race, then slowed down slightly over pace the last 4-6 miles of the race.  I finished the race 3:13:53, 2 minutes to the good.

 

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

 

I started running off and on in Jan of 2001.  It was about a month after my first wife passed in an automobile accident.  I ran 5-15 miles a week on a treadmill.  Often 3 miles, 3 days per week.  I started maintaining a running log and working toward goals in January of 2006.  I played football and baseball in high school, baseball in college.  I did not run.  I hated running.

 

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

 

11,000 logged from 1/2006 to October of 2010, possibly an additional 2000 miles between 2001 and 2006.  (13k total)

 

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

 

2800+

 

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

 

20-25 races, 5-6 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 did not follow a preplanned program.  I based my training on Pete Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning.

 

Periodization:  Base phase, then threshold training (hard tempo once / week), then VO2 max training (hard 5k paced intervals once per week).  During Threshold and VO2 Max training I ran one hard training run during the week, often a race on Saturday, and then a long run Sunday, easy miles and recovery miles between.

 

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

 

I have a large group of friends that I run with.  I only run easy, occasionally long runs with them.  I run my workouts and races alone.

 

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

 

I like to lift weights.  I did core work 1-2 times/week.  I think it’s important.  I think that strength helps maintain posture and help with form later on in long runs.  I do not ride a bicycle.  I don’t use the elliptical.  I run a large portion of my easy runs and base training on the treadmill.  I try to do all long runs and workouts outside.

 

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

 

I’m not a fast runner.  My first marathon was 4+ hours.  I’ve managed to shave almost an hour off my PR through YEARS of easy running.  Be patient.  I shaved some big chunks off my PR the first few marathons in 2006 and 2007.  I struggled the most when I began to expect those big PRs in 2008 and 2009.

 

Easy running.  Build a huge base.

The BQ(Q) – Jason B

Jason is another RA user and is fast as hell. I am pretty sure I met him after the Hartford half this year, but I forgot my id, so I couldn’t drink with him. Thanks for taking part, Jason!

Name: Jason B boston255ink, jbrunningink, glrr

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 29

Height: 5’4”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

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

Portland, ME Marathon – 2009: You can read Jason’s race report here.

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

I was running on my own and with friends on and off, nothing serious (no racing), for about 10 years after college. I didn’t run throughout college and only did Cross Country in high school because there were hot chicks on the team.

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

Too many to count. Honestly, I never kept track of my mileage until about a year ago.

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

I was putting in about 40-50 miles per week leading up to my BQ (4 month cycle).

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

15-20, mostly 5K’s.

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 didn’t follow any program, and I still don’t today. When I first qualified, I just ran whenever I could, but I focused on running a majority of my training runs at my BQ pace. I think that this is key. Your body needs to know if it can even handle that pace for a few miles, let alone 26.2. Today, I mix it up and run all of my training runs at or 30 seconds slower than BQ pace. I’ve since also upped my mileage per week. I’ve been at about 60-75 miles per week for this Boston training cycle. I don’t believe in the canned programs because everybody is different. Listen to your body and take a rest day when you need it, not because a schedule tells you so. The only goal that I have at the beginning of each week is what I want to do for mileage. If I can hit it, great. If I don’t, then no biggie. I figure that there’s a reason why I couldn’t hit my mileage target that week, and that running/BQ’ing shouldn’t take over your life.

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

My breakthrough actually came when I started running with the Greater Lowell Road Runners. You can meet up with a lot of the same like minded people, and have more options when it comes to running, like track workouts, group long runs, club sponsored races and events, etc. I definitely recommend that anyone serious about qualifying for Boston join a running club, especially the Greater Lowell Road Runners, we cater specifically to crazy BQ’ers and those who like to drink and eat.

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

Not when I first BQ’ed. All I did were runs on my own. No speed work. No hill workouts. Since then, I’ve incorporated track (very important), hill workouts, and oddly, swimming! Swimming has only been recently, but I’ve noticed HUGE benefits to my running. My upper body and core is a lot stronger, and swimming also helps breaks up the monotony of running every day.

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

Train at BQ pace as much as possible, don’t overdo it with the mileage, listen to your body, and most importantly, HAVE FUN! Also, join www.glrr.net.

BQ(Q) – Bash Z

Bash is another young gun who BQed. It took him a number of tries, but he finally made it. Thanks for taking the time to fill this out!

 

Name: Bash Z

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

Height: 5’8”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 148

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

Bay State marathon in Lowell, MA. Very flat course and high BQ rate. Also about 30 min from where I live so I wanted to sleep at home the night before and not travel.

 

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

Ran track in high school, but competed in the hurdles and sprints. My senior year I wanted a Fall sport, so I ran cross country. Wasn’t terrible but wasn’t great, think my 5k PR was 19. Typical college kid after that, lifted a lot, drank a lot and ran little. Got out of college after 5 years (5 year program) and ran my first marathon 6 months later in January 2006. Ran another marathon Fall 2007, then Fall 2008, then Fall 2009, then Feb 2010 (dropped out at 19) and then finally BQ’d in Fall 2010. Wasn’t really consistently running though until 2008.

 

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

Probably close to 10,000

 

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

This was key to my BQ I think. The year before my BQ I ran 3200 miles and then the following year I BQ’d and ran only about 2200. But that 3200 year built a base for me.

 

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Including Triathlons 17.

 

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 Pfitzingers plan. I enjoyed it and tried following it as much as possible. It was up to 70 miles per week.

 

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

No, I was stubborn and wanted to do it on my own.

 

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

I swam and biked a lot in the Summer before the Fall BQ, but I don’t think it helped me become a better/more efficient runner. I do think it helped with injury prevention and helped my body become more balanced. But if you want to be a better runner, run more.

 

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

Relentless consistency. I read that somewhere and that’s pretty much it. I ran my first marathon in 4:34. And never thought I would get it down to 3:10. I ran a 1:26 half in May 2009 and then failed at the next 2 BQ attempts (Fall 2009 and Winter 2010). But then the following Fall (2010) I had more experience and felt more confident about it. I followed the Low Heart Training Method for a while and I think this kept me healthy during most of my training. If it’s a recovery run, make it a recovery run and relax and do not push yourself. Most of my runs 90% are easy and I hardly ever run at MP or 1/2MP, but I do race a lot, which I use as speed work.