Roger has a textbook story of training for Boston. Lots of miles, lots of speed work, and lots of shorter races before tackling the marathon. It definitely worked for him. He ran a 2:35:49 his first time out. Check out the solid base building, and strong speed efforts, Roger describes below. I know I could learn a lot from this approach.
Age (at the time of first BQ): 25
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 136 or so
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
Denver Mile High (now defunct, but similar course to Denver Rock ‘n Roll). 2:35:49. I drank too many beers the night before, which was kind of dumb but I wanted to invoke Frank Shorter who supposedly drank a pitcher or 2 the night before winning Gold in Munich. The thing is, I didn’t account for the fact that my start was at 8 AM and his was late afternoon. So I was a little fuzzy the first hour or so.
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
I had been training for about six and a half years. Ran cross country and track in college but not in high school.
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
Maybe 15,000 to 16,000 or so
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
10 or 15 in the year prior, but just 2 in the 3 month build up.
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 just went by feel and by what I knew. Totally self coached since college and I did not refer to a training guide. I had done some high mileage running in college but was very inconsistent in races. I had matured a lot as a runner the year before, and something of a breakthrough in the half marathon the previous October. Took it fairly easy through most of the winter (50 miles a week or so), and got into serious training in February, 3 months before the marathon. I built to average of 60-70 miles a week and held it for 8-10 weeks, peaking at maybe 75-80. I did a weekly long run (16-20 miles) and about 6 weeks out started doing long reps at 5K to 10K effort. I think the most I did was 4X 1 mile at 10K pace. And in my long runs (not all of them but every other week) I would run at about 10 miles at an easy pace, and then the rest of the way at a hard effort, more or less goal marathon pace. No gels, no water, just run. I also did a mid-week 12 miler or so. Other days were 6-10 miles, mostly easy effort.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
Completely solo. It was my first year in that town and I didn’t really know any other runners.
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
A little bit. In December and January I cross country skied once or twice a week with a college ski team (sometimes up to three times) and did a couple of 10-15K races in January and February. I think this helped with strength and endurance.
Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
As I said above, starting 6 weeks out a weekly session of reps, usually 800s, 1200s, or 1 mile (and maybe up to 2X2 miles) at 5K-10K effort (didn’t do these on the track, just by time) with roughly half to two-thirds the recovery time. So if it was 2.5 min reps, I’d take 1.5 min recovery, 5-6 min reps then recovery would be 2 to 3 minutes.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
I ran back in the era when we were told to ‘respect the distance.’ That is, be prepared. All my marathons have been under Boston Qualifying time but I still haven’t run Boston. Maybe some day.