Here’s what the people have to say! 

“A good plan to help you qualify for Boston”

By Dudchenko on April 2, 2015

The first time I tried to qualify for Boston, I failed. The second time, I did better, and just made a qualifying time.

The race itself was a struggle. As I neared mile 25, my paced dropped to a dead-man’s shuffle. I pushed on to Kenmore Square, and to the finish, and then had a much need lie down under a tree in the Boston Gardens. Still, I was there. The atmosphere at Boston is like no other – it is a classic race in every sense.

But how do you get to Boston? Like me, you can try to guess what type of training you need to do run a qualifying time. Or you can pick Chris Russell’s new book Marathon BQ: How to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 weeks.

Chris Russell is the host of the superb RunRunLive podcast. He’s an experienced marathoner, who has qualified for Boston several times. More importantly, he is an excellent story teller, and his book provides a focused approach to running a qualifying time for Boston. It also provides a healthy dose of motivation.

What is the Russell’s plan? Put simply, it’s about speed. To qualify, you must run fast, and to do so, you must train at speed. The book lays out how this fits in with a balanced plan that fits in both speed and the necessary long runs. Russell also talks about preparation, injury, the importance of core strength, and the necessity of going to the “dark place”.

This book offers a useful perspective on improving your long distance running even if you aren’t a marathoner. Even though I am not training for a marathon at the moment, I have taken on some of Russell’s workouts. I want to increase my speed for the half distance, and now I know what to do.

Overall, this is an excellent read, and if you are think about Boston, this book will help you get there.

“Excellent, practical guide to marathon training”

Lisa Goldstein on March 23, 2015

I have just completed reading Chris Russell’s MarathonBQ book and recommend it to anyone looking for a clear and helpful marathon training program.

From the very start (the prologue), this book is engaging and helpful. The program that Chris provides is novel and will be very challenging, but what makes this book special is the plain English way in which Chris addresses physical training, mental preparation and the overall process of running a great race.

The writing style is enjoyable to read, including the fact that Chris clearly defines terms which are often used in running articles and books without explanation.

I have already begun to build some of Chris’s ideas into my current training, and plan to adopt this program for my fall races.

Anyone who is into running and interested in self-improvement will get something out of this book.

“Specific direction + detailed plan = clear path to a BQ”

By D Foss on June 22, 2015

If you are thinking about qualifying for Boston, you have already invested time and energy in your own training. I’m on my third attempt to achieve a BQ. In my first two tries, I used an on-line tool and a generic 16-week calendar. That got me close, but I have not [yet] achieved my BQ. I am using MarathonBQ as one of my resources as I train for my Fall 2015 qualifier. An important takeaway from ‘MarathonBQ’ is finding the balance of making your training plan fit with Family and Work. Scheduling a 2-hour block of time for your 1-hour run is common sense (time for warm-up, cool-down & shower), but that’s not how I previously scheduled my time. I very much enjoy the conversational tone of Chris’ writing. He is informative without lecturing. Unlike some dry manuals, or generic ‘Couch to 13.1’ outlines, ‘MarathonBQ’ offers specific direction, specific training activities, and a detailed organized approach to the 3-month training cycle. With this book in hand, I have an experienced guide as I work my way to Boston. This book is a valuable resource, and I’ve recommended it to friends whether they aspire to run 13.1 or 26.2.

“Great Advice from a mid-packer”

By Judith on June 21, 2015

Great advice from a seasoned runner. He knows how to train and he has successfully run lots of marathons and qualified many times. He is a mere mortal (like you and me) not a professional athlete. He knows what it is like to have a family and a job and train. With this practical advice, you can qualify too.

“35 year old trying to BQ”

By Matt on June 21, 2015

Chris wrote what I consider the best book on marathoning for mortals like me. If you have the goal of qualifying and running Boston, this is the book and plan for you. Chris can relate to us because he is one of us: a person with a full time job and family that has the worthy goal of qualifying for Boston. I particularly like the chapters on speed work and “the dark place”. You will fly through this book the first time you read it and will use it as a reference to guide you to Hopkinton.

“Good solid running advice.”

By Mandy Mitroff on June 8, 2015

Full of helpful advice from a running veteran. Written as though you’re talking with an old friend.

“The book has an easy to read and instructive writing style”

By gator gordy on May 30, 2015

Author represents himself as Joe mid-pack runner, but his 16 plus Boston Marathons suggest a more competitive nature. The book has an easy to read and instructive writing style. He has a story to tell and he tells it well. The subject matter is narrow and the audience who will be interested to read it likewise. However, for those looking for training tips to qualify for Boston, the book is on target. Highly recommend.

“Fast and enjoyable read”

By Courtney R. Allen on April 28, 2015

I feel like this strategy will work for me. I have been through a formal training plan with a coach. There is a danger of over-stressing the body for older runners like myself. The extra stimulus of a second speed workout may be too much for some to quickly recover from and be ready for a hard long run on the weekend.

“If you buy only one book on running, this MUST be it.”

By Amazon Customer on April 18, 2015

Chris Russell’s latest book MarathonBQ: How to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 weeks (with a full time job and family), is a must read for runners at any stage of the game. Chris begins by gently trying to scare off anyone who comes to the book unsure about his or her willingness to undertake the journey of qualifying for Boston, but he also knows his audience and knows that we are a tenacious group that will not be turned away so easily. We are quickly rewarded with not only a blueprint for qualifying for the greatest road race on earth, but also a blueprint on how to find balance and joy in our running and our lives. Chris has a gift for writing that the running community has not seen since the passing of Dr. George Sheehan. This book is engaging, motivating and most importantly, based on a sound and practical methodology. This book is part Sheehan, part Sun Tzu and an outstanding addition to every runner’s library.

“Great resource for those looking to qualify for Boston”

By Kimberly Cowart on April 9, 2015

Too often I read a training plan and walk away feeling as though the author of that plan just wanted to show off his/her dedication, knowledge, experience, etc. I end up dissecting the plan to fit my life and always walk away feeling like I could only commit 70% to that plan. Chris is not a full-time runner. He’s like most of us, juggling work, family and his passion for running. His plan is clear and focus and doesn’t deviate. He clarifies and explains terms for those unfamiliar with the jargon of the running world. He walks the walk having run Boston many times and knows exactly what it takes to get there. He doesn’t shy away from the hard work required, and while the workouts are challenging, they’re straightforward and clear. His writing style holds your interest, as opposed to so many dry training manuals. I’ve always loved Chris’s podcasts and now I love this book. An excellent resource for anyone ready to buckle down and chase that Boston unicorn!

“This is a great read and an incredible amount of insight”

By Brent Peterson on March 13, 2015

This is a great read and an incredible amount of insight. The plan is difficult and I have not yet qualified for Boston so I am planning (and hopping) that Chris can help guide me to Hopkinstown. My only comment is that I am older and in the beginning it says this book is for people in their 30’s. I am nearly 50 and I am not sure if I would have purchased the book if I would have known. Having said that, I think Chris could add a 40+ workout routine to the book. After all I need a 3:15 just to get into NYC or London so who says that 50 year olds are slow!

“Even runners with no personal aspirations to qualify for Boston …”

By Norene Prososki on March 9, 2015

Even runners with no personal aspirations to qualify for Boston will find this book to be incredibly inspiring, with information that would benefit anyone who is contemplating running a marathon.

“All I can say is… WOW.”

By Eli on March 5, 2015

What a great book, Chris. I, who never runs or jogs anywhere, salute you!

Not only is your writing style a treat to read, but your whole attitude toward running and the philosophical POV you bring to the subject is outstanding. I think this writing is better than 90% of what you read from the pros.

Congratulations on a real achievement!

“Great resource for runners who are serious about qualifying for Boston”

By William R. Pritchett “Michigan Marathoner” on March 2, 2015

This book is a great resource for runners who have a good base and want to get into peak running fitness to qualify for Boston. The workouts are challenging, but this plan is easy to follow, because it’s fairly simple. Russell lays out a program that includes long runs, speed intervals of 1600 meters, and tempo runs, so you work on endurance while building speed. Distance and intensity increase as you continue through the plan, so your performance peaks on race day. He also gives practical advice for fitting workouts into a busy schedule, preventing injuries, deciding which race to use as your qualifier, and much more. After you read the prelude entitled “Triumph and Glory,” you’ll be so inspired to run Boston that you’ll be eager to get started with this plan. I followed it and will be in Hopkinton this April, ready to run 26.2 miles to Boston!

“Excited to get started.”

By Jon Rafferty on February 24, 2015

I’ve been listening to Chris’s Runrunlive podcast for years, this book is a great collection of his experiences and advice for, not just getting to Boston, but becoming a better runner. Speed isn’t the only factor in determining a great runner. I’ve used his advice to finish marathons which were a few minutes off of my PR, but I was in much better shape at the end and actually enjoyed the race, rather than slogging through the last few miles, praying for the finish line or merciful death. I plan to use this book during the next few months for building a more solid base, then ramp up for attaining my BQ in the fall. Even if you don’t plan to obtain a BQ, this book will guide you to becoming a great runner, if you put the work in. Chris is up front about that. This isn’t a BQ in ten easy steps plan and he doesn’t spend 2/3 of the book crowing about the masses who have BQ’d following his exact advice, as so many other running books tend to do. This book won’t guarantee a BQ, but if any guide can get you there, this is the one.

“To race fast you have to run fast – great lesson.”

By Ann’s Running Commentary on February 19, 2015

I have read this book from cover to cover several times and I learned that I am not ready to qualify right now. But I love the program, I love Chris’s emphasis on having a strong base and proper running form and I love the program itself. I am a huge believer in “burning the speed in.” To race fast you have to run fast. This program is a great way to get there.

“Love, love”

By Rachel1 on February 18, 2015

Love, love, love this book. Chris lays out his decades of running experience in a manner that helps the new and the seasoned runner learn what to do, what not to do, what works and what doesn’t work. His approach is realistic and pragmatic. For the experienced (or even not so experienced) runner looking to Boston qualify I highly recommend this book. Going to try this plan and will post an update after my next marathon.

“The Definitive Guide for Earning Your Blue & Gold Ticket to Boston”

By Eric Strand on February 18, 2015

I’ve run Boston 7 times in 7 years and wish this book had come out 8 years ago. It’s not for everyone; no book is going to take you from couch to Boston. But if you’ve got a decent base of miles and the determination to run the greatest race in the world, I’d recommend letting this book be your BQ Sherpa. The author, Chris Russell, has run Boston 15 or so times . . . he has run it well and he has blown up. That experience, his love for the marathon, his respect for this sacred stretch of pavement and his ability to tell a good tale make this an entertaining and useful read. I’ve got 50+ running-related books on my shelf and none provide the specific substance and insider tips necessary to bring your physical and mental game to BQ level like this one.