The BQ(Q) – Ben

Thanks to fellow RAer Ben (B-Plus for all you RA users) for taking the time to fill this out!

Name: Ben (@benlooii)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 33

Height: 5’9”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 145

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

Tokyo Marathon, 2009. This was my second marathon, and I finished in a time of 3:08:47. I had just run my first marathon in the fall, and this race took place 5 months later. The conditions were great at the start, and everything was going wonderfully. At about the 30km mark, I had this huge smile on my face and really couldn’t contain myself, because I had it feeling that this was going to be my day. At the same time, I knew I still had a lot of work ahead of me, and I tried my best not to let the excitement get the best of me. This was a bit difficult because I was so overwhelmed with the amount of crowd support in my first ever mega-race.

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

I started semi-seriously in 2007. I had previously run on and off for several years for fitness and fun dating back to junior high. I think I ran the 1-mile fitness tests in junior high in about 10-12 minutes.

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

Less than 2,500 miles.

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

1,700 miles

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

9 races in the 12 months prior to my BQ.

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

Pfitzinger/Douglas 18/55

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 some strength training, but leading into this race was around the time that I started to get more serious about running and started to drop my non-running activities.

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

To be honest, I’m more of the type to follow a plan without questioning it. But I do think it’s all about balance within a training program and getting all of the different types of workouts in. I tend to gain confidence from nailing tempo workouts during heavy periods of training.

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

Just keeping working hard toward your goals and celebrate the small successes. I never thought I would get anywhere close to a BQ when I started this running thing. Enjoy every step.

Ben on the run

Ben at the Tokyo Marathon

The BQ(Q) – Amby Burfoot

Technically, Amby Burfoot never qualified for Boston. When he ran it for the first time, you didn’t need to qualify. However, since he finished 25th that year, and would go on the WIN THE RACE in 1968, I am going to grandfather him in.

It is incredible honor to have Amby fill out this survey. Burfoot is not only an incredibly accomplished runner and editor of Runner’s World. He has also given much more to the sport through his writing, speaking, and advocacy. It tell us volumes about Burfoot’s humility, generosity, and love of running that he found time in his busy schedule to fill this out.

Thanks, Amby, you just made this runner’s day. I hope I get a chance to meet you at this year’s Manchester Road Race and thank you in person.

Name: Amby Burfoot

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 18

Height: 6’ 0’’

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140

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

Didn’t need to qualify then. Boston was my first marathon. My longest previous run was perhaps 16 miles, but I was a very fit 18-yr-old. I believe I ran 2:34 and finished 25th overall

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

Did you run in college or high school? I started running three years earlier as a h.s. junior.

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

Lifetime? I would guess 4000 miles.

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

Probably 2500.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

Lots of college xc and track races in addition to Boston, Manchester on Thanksgiving Day, and other road 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 was “mentored” by John J. Kelley, the 1957 Boston champ and my h.s. xc coach. Which is to say, he never told me what to do, but I mimicked what he did. Essentially we ran steady pace on the roads and through whatever woods and parks we could find.

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

I was a freshman at Wesleyan University in 1964. Jeff Galloway was a teammate. Bill Rodgers would become a teammate several years later. Jeff influenced me a lot with his consistent application to hard training, and he had already run a marathon. Bill was just a young punk to us.

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

No. I did nothing but run.

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

I ran speed because I was young and competing on a track team. I never enjoyed it, or racing in mile races, which I always lost on the last lap. But the speed did make the road races seem easier.

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

I have mixed feelings about the importance of a BQ. I mean, there are a million other races these days, and they are just as important to one’s personal fitness and sense of accomplishment. That said, Boston remains a big goal for those with the time and talent, and it is certainly the granddaddy of them all.

Amby Burfoot in 1968 on his way to winning Boston.

Training Totals For the Week Ending August 25, 2014

Run Miles for the week: 47.8 in 7:21:33
Run Miles for the year: 720.8
Projected total miles for the year: 1110.1
Run Streak: 7
Number of runs that were one stupid mile: 0
Number of days until I beat my old run streak: 107
Prospect Park loops for the week: 7
Prospect Park loops for the year: 62
Body Weight Work: ~30:00
Average weight: 175
Total Exercise Time: ~8:00:00
Hebrew: 00:00:00
Books Finished 1 (Why We Run, Bernd Heinrich)
Total Books Read for the year 23

 

Notes: Tried the Whole 30 diet, felt like shit. Quit. Got razzed about it by everyone. Glad its over. Ran my highest mileage week in over a year; felt pretty good. Feeling good about my running in general right now, looking for more of the same this week.

 

The BQ(Q) – Wade O

I risked ridicule and insults and posted a request for responses to the BQ(Q) on the Let’s Run forum.  I think this great response was in answer to that.  Thanks Wade, great advice, especially this:

I would tell anyone trying to get a BQ to worry about 2 things: volume & time at MP. Don’t get caught up in fast reps, or too much cross training stuff. There are no bikes, jump ropes, stair masters, or box jumps, on the marathon course. It’s just running, and how much you run will determine how you perform on race day. The other stuff is just ancillary work

Name: Wade O

Sex: M

Age:  36

Height: 5’8

Weight: 145

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

Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL  I needed to run >3:10 and I ran 3:07. Prior to that I had only run 3:20 the year before. I qualified on my 3rd attempt at the marathon.

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 the 5th grade, ran in HS & college.

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

No way to guess on that. I will just say it was  A LOT.

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

I ran between 40-72 miles per week.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

8

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 didnt use a written plan, (but people should.)  My basic plan was to run 1 med. long run during the week, 10-15 miles, 1 tempo session 6-8M, and a long run on the weekend that was 15-22 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 or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Mostly tempo runs, no repeat 800s at the most I did some repeat miles at MP.

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

I had been away from the sport for a few years and decided to give the marathon a try. My first marathon was a total disaster, my second was better and I got my BQ at my 3rd. I have to say I was VERY VERY happy. It gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I still remember how happy I was after finishing and beating my goal time by a full 3 min.          I think adding that extra medium- long run during the week helped me a lot. I would tell anyone trying to get a BQ to worry about 2 things: volume & time at MP. Don’t get caught up in fast reps, or too much cross training stuff. There are no bikes, jump ropes, stair masters, or box jumps, on the marathon course. It’s just running, and how much you run will determine how you perform on race day. The other stuff is just ancillary work.

Prospect Park Legends – Felipe Vergara and the Power of Work

I’ve seen Felipe Vergara hundreds of times, but until I read this great article, I didn’t know his name.  I didn’t know he was 49.  I didn’t know that he ran for the elite local club, West Side Runners.  I didn’t know that when I see him in the evenings, I’m seeing him clock his second work-out of the day — the book ends to a full time job as a plumber.  I didn’t know he supports four kids in Mexico, and I didn’t know he runs a 2:45 marathon.

See some great photos of Felipe, and other runners for WSX here.

All I knew was that if I was in the park around seven on a week night, I’d likely see Vergara and a group of other runners, blasting around the loop at a 6:30 or so pace, or stretching and chatting in Spanish near the Parade Ground entrance.  I’d exchange a nod, and that was that.  I didn’t know how hard he had worked that day, both on the roads and at his job, and I didn’t know how fast those hours on the roads had made him.   But I do now, and I’m inspired. 

I hope I get a chance to see him tonight and thank him.

The BQ(Q) – Larry

Younger runners are overly represented in the responses I have received to the BQ(Q), so it was with great excited that I received these answers from Larry who BQ’ed at sixty and has this sage advice:

Patience, diligence, run lots.  The fine details of your plan play a minor part in your race performance; the volume and persistence of your training play the major part.  If someone asks me for a marathon training plan, I respond, “Run 2000 miles in each of the two years leading up to your race.”

 Thanks for responding Larry!

Name: Larry (LedLincoln on RA)

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 60

Height: 6’1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
Lincoln Marathon, 3:43:41.  BQ standard for me was 3:55.  I went with the 3:40 pace group, based on race calculators.  I don’t have GPS.  I felt a lot stronger this time than in my previous three marathons, which I attribute to lots more base miles going into it.  Even after finishing, I didn’t feel as wasted, in spite of the faster time.
Full report is here:  http://www.runningahead.com/logs/a47d6758569a4a00b87f846bdf96b6c3/workouts/5229add531da48e4b7e6c21acbd63264

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
Started running at age 55, ~six years prior to this race.  No HS or college running or athletics.  Played some tennis in JH and HS, not on a team.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
6440 miles.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
2085 miles.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
Ten.

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 made up my own.  Continue my average daily run of 6.5, long run on Saturdays, midweek either a double or speedwork.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
No coach, belong to (lead) running club at work, but no training related to running club.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
Some easy bicycling (commuting to work) may have helped to stretch out the legs.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
Yes, did fairly informal speedwork (fartleks or tempo runs) every other week, plus monthly races.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?
Patience, diligence, run lots.  The fine details of your plan play a minor part in your race performance; the volume and persistence of your training play the major part.  If someone asks me for a marathon training plan, I respond, “Run 2000 miles in each of the two years leading up to your race.”

 

The BQ(Q) – Ken

Ken is another regular over at Running Ahead, the best running forum on the internets.  Thanks for taking the time to respond Ken!

Name Ken (kencamet at RunningAhead)

Sex: M

Age (at the time of first BQ): 36

Height: 5’8″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 168

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Silicon Valley Marathon.

What was your finishing time?

3:14:03

Tell us a little about the race.

I didn’t realize it was a BQ (didn’t know that I had run a ‘BQ’ time till someone told me).  The race was flat, perfect weather, started/finished in the same place (though not out-n-back).  I just ran the best I could on that day, though it entailed a big fade the last few miles including some walked water-stops.  I remember the sun being right in my face for the last 4 miles which psychologically affected me in a negative way.

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

About 6 years.

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

About 8,000 miles

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

~1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

2 (Si Valley Marathon and Big Sur Marathon)

Did you follow a canned program? No.  If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

I just ran a lot and did long runs of 20miles most weekends.  I think I probably averaged about 40mpw with a peak week of, at most, 50miles.

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

No

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

Probably as I was doing a lot of mountain biking back then.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training?

Not significant.

 If so, how?

I rarely if ever did any.

 

Training Totals Week Ending 8-8-2013

A gorgeous week in the mountains of Vermont has come to an end.  Now I am back at my desk, watching the sunset over midtown.  It was fun while I lasted. 

 

I didn’t hit fifty miles for the week, but I did get in some serious time on my feet including a decent eight mile hike, to and around Moss Glen Falls and a shorter three mile affair around Stowe.  I couldn’t have asked for a better week.

 

The author with backpack and waterfall.

The author with backpack and waterfall.

This week, it is back to the pavement, and more miles.  I’m feeling good about my running right now, let’s hope it stays that way through the fall.  

The Numbers.

 

Run: 38.5 in 6:20:44
Bike: 0
Hike: ~11.5 in 4:45:00
Total Time ~11:

 

The BQ(Q) – Matt L

Name: Matt L

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height: 5’11

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155

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

I ran the 2013 Pittsburgh marathon in 2:46. The course is a bit hillier than most (though surprisingly flat given that its in Pittsburgh) but I didn’t find it too hard. The weather was very cooperative and a long downhill section near the end led to very even splits (I think I was 1:23 at 13.1 miles). I started out wanting to shoot for somewhere in the 2:50s but I felt very comfortable at a ~6:15 pace so I decided to ride it out at that speed and see how things went from there.

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

I started running the summer of my freshman year in college. I played offensive tackle for my high school football team and lost a good bit of weight at the end of my senior season. I spent my college junior year abroad I ran for my school’s club team during that period but nothing more competitive than that. Before running the Pittsburgh marathon I had ran in one 5k in 2011 and 2 half marathons in the fall of 2012.

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

Maybe around 8,000 or 9,000 miles.

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

Probably around 3,100 or so based on an average of 60 miles a week.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

2 half marathons. The last half was roughly 6 months before the 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 didn’t stick to any particular program but I did base a lot of my training on the more advanced marathon plans featured in Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster from 5k to the Marathon.” Hudson’s advanced marathon plans rely on a lot of high mileage runs and he is a pretty big proponent of incorporating hill sprints and I think that adding such sprints once a week at the end of an easy run really helped me on the hilly marathon course. I just generally tried to stick to a basic hard-easy breakdown. I ran 6-7 days a week in the months leading up to it. I put in a lot of tempo runs and had probably completed 5 runs over 20 miles during the course of my training, with the longest run being a bit over 21 miles. I also tried to end a lot of my long runs with about 7-10 miles at ~10 seconds slower than goal marathon pace to get used to performing in a depleted physical state. Tim Noake’s massive book Lore of Running also helped shape my basic running philosophy and I recommend it to all serious runners looking to improve.

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

I am a member of a track club that has a speed program but I unfortunately didn’t have time to participate the days and times the speed training group met. I didn’t use a coach but my mother is an RRCA certified coach and I bounced a lot of ideas off of her and consulted her a bunch of times.

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

Not much at all. I did push ups and body weight squats about once a week but no really organized program. I also did a 10 minute ab workout roughly every day but I didn’t really do any cross training.

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

Yes. I would try to do mile repeats at the track by my apartment every Tuesday at 15 seconds below marathon goal pace. I would do 5 or 6 with about 800m of recovery in between. I had never previously really done any speed work before my other races and I felt like the track work helped my body get comfortable with maintaining a fast pace.

 

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

I found it very helpful to learn as much as I could about the course and watch the course video about 10 times. Maybe it was especially useful because the course was pretty hilly but I felt very confident in knowing where every incline and decline was and being able to anticipate such changes while running the marathon.