The BQ(Q) – Ron

Name: Ron

 

Sex: Male

 

Age (at the time of first BQ): 56

 

Height: 5”10”

 

Weight (at the time of first BQ):158

 

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Fox Valley Marathon, St Charles, IL 3:37:38

 

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

23 years

 

Did you run in college or high school?

Ran track and XC my last year in HS

 

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

12,000 miles-injuries every few months.(back issues)

 

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

1722 miles in 2010

 

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

(didn’t answer)

 

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, give us an idea of what your training philosophy was.

 

Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning UP to 55 miles per week

 

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

I have been part of a running club for twenty two years.

Did cross training play a role in your training?

No cross training. I did start running ultras in November of 2010.

 

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

The most helpful part of the training was the mile repeats. I used the McMillan calculator.

 

I was on the verge of  over training, The last 3 weeks I had to cut mileage from 45-55 to <30 mpw.

 

 

 

 

The BQ(Q) – Dave E

It’s the return of the BQ(Q). I have a couple of these in the hopper waiting to go up, but I am always looking for more people interested in doing this survey. Thanks Dave for taking part!

Name:  Dave E / www.beachesrunner.com

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 42

Height:  6′ 1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 195

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

Mississauga – 3:19:10 Spring Race, 16 minute PB

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

3 years, no HS running, played a lot of hockey with some light running as training

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

4500 miles

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

1800

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?

Hal Higdon Intermediate 2, hard on the hard days, easy on the easy days, long midweek runs

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

Group runs, and as well, I coached a marathon clinic

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

Core strengthening, some swimming, some cycling

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

RUN MORE, run with a group, preferably faster runners

BQ(Q) – Mike G

A great BQ(Q) with legit fast denizen of running ahead MikeyMike. I gotta quite this awesome passage:

That’s the question I think a work-a-day hobbyjogger has to always ask: am I willing to do the work?  Because for nearly all of us the limiting factor is not our God-given talent or genetics, it’s simply how hard we are willing to work–to what extent we are willing to prioritize running against all the other things we have in our lives.  It’s a tricky balance to get right but one that I think makes it all a little more interesting.

Thanks Mike!

Name: Mike G / Hobbyjogger Chronicles

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 30

Height: 5′ 9″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): not sure…160 ish.

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

It was at the 2000 Baystate Marathon, on the old course that started and finished at the Greater Lowell Tech School in Tyngsboro.  It was only my 2nd marathon–the first being Big Sur in 1999 which I ran almost on a lark, woefully under trained.  I decide in the spring of 2000 that this was the year I wanted to finally qualify for and run the Boston Marathon.  Originally I wanted to run Chicago with a buddy but he got injured almost right away so I changed plans to Baystate so I wouldn’t have to travel.  I followed a plan that I found on the race website, I think it peaked at about 65 mpw.  I had no idea what I was doing and I was hurt and running through injuries the whole time.  Luckily I didn’t know any better and wasn’t aware of any online running message boards where people would have told me how crazy I was for trying to BQ in only my 2nd marathon when my first had been a 3:40.  I needed a 3:10 to qualify (I didn’t even know about the “59 second rule” and ran a 3:09:40.  It took absolutely everything I had.  At the time it was definitely the highlight of my athletic life.

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

I always ran a bit for fitness, but that was about it.  I had run in high school but that was really sprints and middle distance (800m) so no real distance background.

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

Maybe 10,000 miles if you include 4 years of high school track 12 years earlier

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

Not sure.  I wasn’t running at all really before I started my 16 week or whatever marathon training.  Probably 7-800.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

1 including my BQ 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?

Like I said above, I found a training plan on the Baystate website.  It was written by John Barbour who at the time was the coach of the Greater Lowell Road Runners.  If I recall it was a fairly standard “intermediate” marathon plan.  It focused on tempos and a weekly long run and a lot of easy distance.   I actually bagged a lot of the workouts because as I said I was constantly battling little injuries.  My preparation was not ideal by any stretch.  Looking back I was so unprepared but I didn’t know any batter.  I felt like I was right on the edge of major injury or breakdown that entire summer/fall leading up to it.

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

Nope.

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

Not really during my marathon build-up although I probably had pretty good basic fitness just from being athletic my whole life.  I had done a ton of skiing, mountain biking, some running and other sports.

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

The thing that strikes me most now, looking back, is how hard I thought I was working and how impossible it seemed at the time.  And now, 10 years later, I’ve actually lowered my marathon PR by a full 20 minutes from that 3:09:40.  Training really is a progression and every time you reach a new level you need to really look down the road at what’s next.  I’ll be the first to admit that it was easier for me to BQ than for a lot of people but the thing is I didn’t stop there.  If I look at where I started, with a 3:40 at Big Sur, then a 3:09 at Bay State a couple years later to now having run 2:49 last fall at age 40 I think that proves that over the long haul training really works.  And I still feel like, if I was willing to put in the work, I could do a lot better.  That’s the question I think a work-a-day hobbyjogger has to always ask: am I willing to do the work?  Because for nearly all of us the limiting factor is not our God-given talent or genetics, it’s simply how hard we are willing to work–to what extent we are willing to prioritize running against all the other things we have in our lives.  It’s a tricky balance to get right but one that I think makes it all a little more interesting.

The BQ(Q) – James D

James is a triathlete and trainer, thanks for taking part in the survey!

Name: James D Power Multi Sport Twitter

Sex: Male

Age (at time of BQ): 37

Height: 5’ 8”

Weight: 160

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

Mardi gras Marathon (Rock and Roll New Orleans).  Late FEB, flat.

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

I started running when I was 30 to lose weight.  I quit smoking (smoked for 13 years) and lost about 65 pounds.

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

Maybe 5000 miles

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

About 1000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

In my build for Mardi gras I raced a lot – in my 10 week training plan I raced 6 times – 1 12k, 3 half marathons, 1 25k and 1 30k.  I PR’d every race.

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 FIRST (Furman) with many high volume blocks.  I guess the Furman was in name only – I wanted three well-defined workouts each week consisting of a speed session, a hard tempo and a challenging long run.  However, I work for a university and get a lot of time off over Christmas.  I ran several 3 day blocks (ultra runners call them back-2-backs) of around 50 miles (10 / 15 / 20 or 15 / 15 / 20 – at a very easy pace) and then recovered for 2 days.  I also raced a lot, these were my hard tempos, and hard long distance runs.  For good measure, I did speed work for 5 weeks consisting of Yasso 800’s.  I guess, looking back, I threw the kitchen sink at it.

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

I ran with everyone.  I am in a running club but I am self-coached.

Did cross training play a role in your training?

If so, how?  Being a triathlete I do bike and swim a lot, however, for my marathon builds the swim and bike take a back seat.  I did it some but nothing was planned.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Perhaps my BQ came too easy (first marathon – I needed a 3:15:59 and ran a 3:08:44 with even splits) but I think the necessary components are a consistent build, the hard runs need to be hard (that is for mental prep as much as anything else – I really need a race to perform well), and staying injury free.

The BQ(Q) – George

George was kind enough to email me with his BQ story. Thanks George, and good luck in Boston!

Name: George (MarathonGeorge)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 54

Height: 5”10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):150

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Chicago 2009

Tell us a little about the race.

I was lucky, perfect weather conditions, cold at the start and I was freezing as soon as I stopped running. I ran almost perfectly even splits for the whole race, never wavering by more than a few seconds from my goal pace.  I did follow, sort of, a pace group but it was more like a group of runners who I was near most of the race.  There would be times, like water stops, where I would be ahead or behind the group but we always seemed to sort of end up around each other. I debated pace a lot before the race and needed a 3:45 to qualify. All of my training had been done with a 3:30 goal in mind. I just knew I had a 3:30 in me. However in the weeks leading up to the race I went back and forth, go safe and conservative and run to the 3:45 or do what you think you are ready for and risk blowing up. I went for the 3:30.

Read the whole story here: http://wp.me/pIhgU-1

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

10 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Nope, I was a swimmer – although we did a tiny bit of running during preseason.

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

13,500

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

1,567 so far that year and I went on to run a total of 1,730 that year. Ran 1,600 in 2008

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

10

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, give us an idea of what your training philosophy was.

After 4 attempts using mainly Hal Higdon’s programs I finally got a local coach, Fernando Braz. He had me on a marathon program from January 1 to the October race. Most Tuesday nights I ran at the track with the group of runners he was training. His program was more demanding physically, although not a lot, and also focused on mental preparation. Overall philosophy would be a mix of long runs, endurance runs, speed work and solid base building. We also did more running at Marathon Goal Pace than I had in the past particularly at the end of long runs. For example, do 15 miles easy and then run 5 at MGP to finish a 20 mile long run. I firmly believe that Fernando made it possible for me to BQ and without him, I might not have reached the goal.

Here is a quote from my log:

My confidence grew with each week.  The plan was hard but I was doing well, feeling strong, feeling fit and injury free.  But even so, doubt always has a way of creeping into your mind.  Then there was a test that changed my mind. With 6 weeks to go, one of those hard Saturday long runs, this one 23 miles with the last 5 at marathon pace.  I ran a route that had me at the PA track after 16 miles.  I wanted to know just what my pace was over that final 5.  After one mile I thought, “Can I do this?” My second was sub 8 minute, as was the third, with the final two at 8. The last 5 miles of a really tough run in fewer than 40 minutes?  Wow, my confidence was sky-high, with 6 weeks to go.

That is what Fernando did for me – physical and mental preparation.

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

As well as using Fernando I belong to the Merrimack Valley Striders which was a way to connect for local races.

Did cross training play a role in your training?

I don’t stretch, cross train, do ice baths, use a form roller – I run – just run and I run for fun.

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

Really, if I can do it anyone can. I am not a super athlete, was no high school star, and did very little in college. I went through most of my adult life hardly doing anything athletic. But then at 45 or so took up running just because I was a little big and wanted to be healthier. I suppose in some ways age makes it possible. I am sure even when I was young I could have never managed a 3:10 but a 3:30 to 3:45 seems doable.

Goals work – set a goal – have a plan – work hard at it. I started 2009 with the goal to BQ and I focused all of my efforts to that goal. I made every training session and every race help me move towards that goal and I tried to keep that same focus in food, sleep, and mental preparation. Boy, achieving that goal was super fun. One of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Since I BQ’d I think of myself differently, I really am a marathoner, I qualified for and ran in the greatest marathon.

The road to the Super Bowl of running was not easy.  Luck played a huge part, no injuries, no colds. Training was absolutely key, without Fernando it would not have happened. But then on race day it was about executing the plan.  I am too old to make any mistakes; the margin for error is very small.  But it worked.  The race was just like a long training run.  I have done it before, only this time I had 45,000 companions.

The BQ(Q) – Keith A

 

Thanks for taking the time to fill this out, Keith!

Name: Keith Almeida; Keith’s Running Life

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 53

Height: 6’ 0

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 163

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

Hartford Marathon. It is mostly flat and straight. It poured most of the race which helped me to focus. Warm 56-58 most of the race.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school? 35 years.

I played soccer in HS and intramural soccer at UConn. I have swam and biked a lot over the years but not in the past 8 years.

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

30,000

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

1600

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 but I did use Jeff Galloway’s method for my first marathon. I then tried to walk only where drinks were served. I try not to drink at every possible stop.

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

No, most of my running is alone with a GPS for measuring pace.

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? Running on softer surfaces would help to run more miles. I found that 40-50 miles per week is an ideal amount for me to run my best marathon time and not wear myself out.

 

The BQ(Q) – Dirk H

Dirk has a great story about working long and hard to get a BQ and a great blog. Thanks for taking part, Dirk!

Name: Dirk H. http://dirkhayes.blogspot.com/

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 42

Height (at the time of first BQ): 6’

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160, currently 151

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

Huntsville, AL, Rocket City. I needed a 3:20 and qualified with a 3:17. This was after a failed attempt 30 days prior. I knew it was my day at mile 18. The miles just kept clicking off and this was the point of the only real hill on the course.

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

About 7 years worth of marathons on 15 years of running.  Did you run in college or high school? No, I started running 3 months before my son was born and after I quit smoking.

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

16,000 give or take.

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

1,761 miles the year before the BQ, which is down from my current mileage.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

6 according to Athlinks.

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, give us an idea of what your training philosophy was.

Yes, I can’t remember which one, though. I’ve been chasing the BQ every year for 8 years. Lots of different programs. In the end, more miles and pace work worked for me. Typically six 20 mile long runs.

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

Ran with a running club to make friends that I ran with regularly.

Did cross training play a role in your training?

Big believer that core work helps to maintain form in the later stages of the race. My routine was a really simple workout with dumb bells about twice a week.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Lots of miles for me, but one of my buddies qualified his first time out. Go figure. Key for me was finding the balance of miles without getting injured. It was hard work, but I’m working just has hard now with more miles and running faster.

BQ(Q) – Michael P

Michael has come a long way in his running losing a lot of weight in the process. He qualified for Boston for the time this year. Good luck next month, Michael! You earned it.

Name Michael P

Sex: Males

Age (at time of first BQ): 41

Height: 5’7

Weight (at time of first BQ):145

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

Indianapolis Marathon 2011 (needed 3:20:59 and ran 3:11:10).  It is a smaller marathon in central Indiana that goes through residential areas and a park.  It does quite a few out and back loops which makes it great to see people you know either in the race or that are trying to watch for you.  It is a relatively flat race with a decent sized hill at the end.  It is a fantastic race.

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

5 years and never ran in high school or college but did wrestle and play soccer at both levels. 

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

That is a tough question maybe 8000 miles.  I had a lot of weight to lose (65 pounds). 

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

Year before (2009)  about 2000 miles.

Year of (2010), which I think is more important 3500 miles.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

2009: 3 5K’s, 1 15K and 1 10K and 4 marathons.

2010: 4 5k’s, 1 10K, 1 15K, 2 half marathons and 2 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 don’t follow any programs.  I believe we are all an experiment of one.  I’m a big believer in speed work when I am not training for a marathon and then high mileage (70-100) with races during the marathon training cycle.

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

Off and on with the Bob Ronckers running group in Cincinnati. It is a great running group that is very organized.   I ran with some friends on the bike trail a lot. 

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

Not much cross training but I do some swimming and cycling if I have any injuries I want to stay off of for a day or two. 

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

I think if you want to do your best and to find out what you are capable of you have to find out what works best for YOU.  I’ve tried a lot of things to figure out what works for me.  I will also caution people to be realistic about what you can accomplish during the marathon and to be patient at the start.  Many people start off way too fast or think they are faster than they are.  A good friend of mine once said that you can lose seconds at the start if you start off to slow.  However, you lose minutes later if you start off too fast.   Use the McMillan calculator to help you figure out a range for what you might be capable. 

 

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.