Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Road To BQ

Maintaining metal focus on a long run is one of the toughest things for me. As much as I try to stay in the now, concentrating on breathing, heart rate and form, my mind tends to wander off. This can turn a good run to bad in a heartbeat if I let BBW have his way. It's easy to start thinking about how the run can go off the rails, how much further I have to go, do I have to go (you know what I mean) or worst of all am I even capable of running 26.2.

The best way I have found to combat this is to think about running. Whether it's looking forward to an upcoming race, planning strategy for achieving a goal or just simply wondering what I'll tweet about the run gets me back in the now. As long as its something positive about running, I easily slide back in the now.

During today's LR one of these little mental breaks turned to thoughts of qualifying for Boston in 2016.

Now the thought of running a marathon was something I didn't think was in the cards. Sure, it was something I dreamed about when I was much younger but downplayed the idea as I got back into running. Training for a half was hard enough, where was I going to find time to train for a full.

It wasn't until a conversation with my younger brother where we both came to the conclusion that IF 26.2 was going to happen for either of us then it would only be worth it if qualifying for Boston was the prize. We both laughed it of since we both knew that a BQ on the first shot would be nearly impossible.

After a day or so after trying to convince myself that attempting a marathon was a silly idea, I signed up for one anyway. While external forces prevented me from running that race last February, I'm 6 weeks away from take 2.

Every time my mind wandered today, I couldn't help but think of a hashtag I saw from Jonathan Levitt (@JWLevitt) on NYE; #RoadtoBQ. I just couldn't get this out of my head.

Here I am literally training on the road to a BQ and at one point somewhere around mile 13, this hashtag became part of my breathing. 1-2-3-Road-To-B-Q, 1-2-3-Road-To-B-Q, 1-2-3-Road-To-B-Q as I count off my breaths with my steps; 3 in, 4 out. Just like that I was back in the now.

It hit me that this was meant to be my my motivation and you can imagine my surprise when I found that both and were there for the taking. I quickly snatched these up and here we are.

Now I bet you're wondering about today's run; well it was a chilly 15.9 miles.

Temps were in the high 30s/low 40s and since I had too much water before I went out, I had to take a quick break before mile 2. This pit stop further took me off track since I thought it would be a good idea to run down on the creek bed instead of the trail. Not having checked this out beforehand, I realized it was a mistake when I hit a big patch of mud. Live and learn.

For the most part it was a pretty uneventful LR. Aside from a bit of a niggle in my right Achilles and intermittent thoughts of going longer than the planned 16, I moved right along. It wasn't exactly a great run but since I had to take 2 bathroom breaks and a couple stops to get the large clumps of mud off my shoes I'm happy with the 2:49:37 and considering that when I last ran this loop on 11/9 it took me 3:13:1; an improvement of 1:15/mile in roughly 2 months.

So 3 days in to 2015 I've already logged more miles, 26.7, than I did in the first 2 weeks of 2014, 18, and with 9 scheduled for tomorrow I'm off to a good start.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the Road 2 BQ as much as I do.

Week ending January 3rd - 43.8 miles


  1. Chris,
    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is as if you and I are on similar paths. I am 44 and putting it together to qualify for Boston in the next few years. I have only been running for a year. I have run 2 half's and two fulls. Used Higdon from January to May. Then became a Maffetone guru. I am aiming for a 3:20 marathon. From May-August ran 80-100 miles a week in my heart rate zone. Ran a half without tapering (60 miles the week before) 1:38:50 and as you write, it was easy (first half with Higdon ran 1:55, ran first 26.2 with Higdon 4:23)! But then I got ahead of my self and engaged in too much speed work, injured myself, and bombed at my last marathon 4:13. Also destroyed most of my aerobic base I developed with Maffetone. Anyway, all this too say THANK YOU!!! Thank you for reaffirming the smart way to train by sticking with Maffetone! My plan for 2015, is to rebuild my base, maintain 80-100 miles a week feeling fresh with Maffetone, and use races as my only form of speedwork!

    1. Hi Michael
      Sorry I didn't respond to you sooner, time just got away from me this week so I have to apologize. It does seem that our stories are quite similar although I hope you didn't abuse yourself as much as I did from my late teens until my mid 40s.
      I am so happy to have rediscovered running and completly enjoy it. Because of it I now make healthy choices and feel better and more energetic.
      I was also so happy to discover the Meffetone Method and it has made running even more enjoyable. Not to mention the improvement in my overall health.
      It is nice to read about your success with it as well so I also realize I'm on the right path too.
      I don't know if you are on Twitter but there is a wonderful community of runners there and we get together every Sunday for #runchat. It is a fun hour with lots of great advice, tips and sometimes giveaways. Hope to see you there.
      Thanks again for sharing your results and I look forward to hearing of your progress.