The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Haley W

After a bit of a hiatus from this project, we’re back with Haley’s story of qualifying for Boston at her sixth marathon.

 

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?

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

The BQ(Q) – Dennis

Name: Dennis

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 47

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’0″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 141

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Revel Big Bear

Tell us a little about the race. I held my marathon goal pace for the first 25 miles, then died in the last mile and hobbled across the line just before my BQ standard.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 30 years of running, training for Boston for last 1.5 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 12000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 7

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, followed a program set up by Coach Paul of Revel Race Series

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, I would cycle 1 day a week to keep some of the pounding off my feet.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I’d do a speed workout once a week.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? One thing that made a big difference for me over years past was consistency in training and avoiding injuries. I had to really focus on stretching and strengthening exercises to manage the little injuries along the way. I also decided to run 6 days a week. Hard days hard, easy days easy.

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

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.

Corbin’s story of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

At 17, Corbin might be the youngest BQ(Q) entry ever.

Name: Corbin

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 17

Height (at the time of first BQ): 6’0″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155

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

Tell us a little about the race. This was my second marathon and it took place on a very pleasant day for northern Michigan. Mid 50’s at the start with little wind. The course is quite flat with just a couple small rolling hills. I kept right on 7:00/mile pace for the first 13. Then I put down about 10 miles at 6:40 to 6:50 pace simply due to feeling good. Of course that caught up to me for the last few, which were closer to 8 minute miles, but I still finished under 3:03.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 5 Years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

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? 1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 5

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 Focused on high mileage, ran modified work outs with the track team

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

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

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I was part of my high school track team at the time. I ran most of my speed workouts with them, often just doubling the workout’s distance while running at a slightly slower pace.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I think an essential part of BQ training is consistency. Running almost everyday for months before the race and getting up to the high mileage weeks are more important than any single workout or long run.

How Max Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Damn, this dude ran a lot of miles at a young age…

Name: Max

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6′ 1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160

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

Tell us a little about the race. Hot (76 at finish) day on a relatively flat course. Inclines and declines are very slight until about 16 miles. The last half marathon is a spoke out and bank with the out portion being uphill and the back being downhill. There is also no shade on the back half (ugh)

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 8 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 13,000 mi

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2,200 mi

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 2

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, Hansons

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 lifted weights 3x/week for the first 2/3 of my program, but only did bodyweight workouts the last month as an attempt to increase my “peaking”.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Pretty much just basic interval workouts and tempo runs a few seconds faster than race pace. Tempo runs great for building confidence

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? In my opinion increasing mileage is the best route to take towards decreasing your time. I ran about 50-60 mpw during my training and wish I could have been in the 60-70 range.

Also in general, you can never hydrate too much.

How KG Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name: KG

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 110

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?  Providence

Tell us a little about the race. It was my 3rd marathon. It was a good, well run race, in my hometown so no travel required, which I feel gave me a “home field advantage”. Small enough to have space running, large enough to always have someone nearby. Long stretches of no fans and quiet running by the ocean on a bike path. Some hills, but not too bad. I wasn’t actually trying for a BQ necessarily, but the conditions were perfect that day and I felt good, so decided to go for it about half way through the race.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 3 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 3000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1500

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 Generic marathon training plan from coolrunning.com

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 did not do much cross training. Occasional hiking/walking on off days.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how?          I did not do any speed work for this marathon.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I’ve run 9 marathons now, 3 were BQ -#s 3 (Providence), 7 (Providence) and 8 (NYC). Performance varies due to so many things during such a long race. Traveling, staying in a hotel, eating at restaurants always results in slower marathon times for me (mostly, except NYC with perfect weather). I always do best at races where I can sleep at home, eat my normal food, and take a short drive to the race in the morning. Also, running on familiar streets or by familiar landmarks makes me feel more comfortable and relaxed. If BQing at a large race hasn’t worked for you, try to achieve a BQ at a local race.

Don’t underestimate the power of weather. The perfect weather always leads to a PR for me…bad weather (hot, rainy, snowy) typically adds 5-10 minutes to my marathon timBoston Qualifier Questionnaire Arte.

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire: Charlie

Name Charlie

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): 140

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

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 30 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 20,000+

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1100

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 12

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? Focused on increasing long run every couple of weeks until I could go 26 miles

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? No

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? After having run Boston 3 times now, I would say weekly/monthly mileage is the single most important factor. Being able to run 50+ miles weeks consistently is most effective training, then sprinkle in all the other extras.