He is the 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist, the 2009 ING New York City Marathon Champion (the first American to win the event since 1982), the former holder of the American Record in the 10k (27:13.98), and a 20-time national champion. His name is Mebrahtom Keflezighi, Meb for short, and although this highly accomplished, elite marathoner is no ultrarunner (at least for now), he was kind enough to give TWIR a unique opportunity to catch up with him while he was in New York to help Jared Fogle of SUBWAY (“The Official Training Restaurant of the ING New York City Marathon”) fame train for the 2010 New York City Marathon? Fogle, who once weighed more than 400 lbs and travels the globe inspiring healthy choices in others, is training for the marathon as part of SUBWAY’s ongoing effort to promote an active lifestyle. Below are some of the highlights of our conversation with one of the top marathoners in the world…..
TWIR: Thanks very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us this unique opportunity to spend some time with you and talk running, and, of course, congratulations on your win last year at the 2009 New York City Marathon.
MK: Thank you. It’s always fun meeting new people who are passionate about running and marathons.
TWIR: To give you some background on us, iRunFar.com focuses primarily on the people, places, and things of interest to ultra-marathoners and trail runners, and the weekly TWIR series is designed to take a look at ultras and trail races taking place across the Country. We think it is great to be able to talk to you and a fantastic opportunity for our readers to hear an elite marathoner’s take on the sport of ultra-running. Do you have any thoughts on it? Have you ever even considered running any distance beyond a marathon?
MK: I have done 27 miles for marathon training – a little bit further, but not like you guys. I think ultra is really interesting but right now, my focus is on marathons. Never say never, but for now I am interested in marathons.
TWIR: Lots of ultra-runners spend time training on trails for a variety of reasons. I recall reading an interview with you in the past where you mentioned that you did do some training on “dirt.” Do you train at all on trails? If not, have you in the past? What are your favorite trails to run on?
MK: Twice a week I run on pavement, the rest of the time I am on a soft surface, and I enjoy running off-road. I run all around Mammoth Lake, California where I live. We do quite a bit of training at elevation there, as well.
TWIR: What kind of weekly training mileage do you log during peak training?
MK: During peak training periods, I log about 120 miles per week. It varies for each marathon, depending on how healthy I feel at any given time.
TWIR: Your long training runs…what type of distance to you cover?
MK: My long runs are 25-27 miles.
TWIR: Do you consume calories during long training runs or do you think that interferes with your ability to train your body to burn fat as efficiently as possible?
MK: I use gels and I hydrate, but I try to keep it as simple as possible. Recovery is very important, and I do so with Generation UCAN (drink) and PowerBar.
TWIR: You’ve been helping train Jared Fogle of SUBWAY fame for the 2010 NYCM. Got a prediction on his finishing time?
MK: Jared is an inspiration. He started walking to lose weight and now he is in training to run a marathon – so he as come a very long way and is a good example for anyone who is thinking about getting into the sport. I ran with Jared today in midtown, he looked great. He told me that yesterday he ran 20 miles for the first time, and his training seems to be right on schedule. My advice to him as a first-timer was not to worry too much about his finishing time, but to enjoy the marathon experience. He is going to do great, and will have a lot of fun. I will be rooting for him from the finish line.
TWIR: Well, Meb, thank you so very much for talking with us today, and best of luck to you and Jared in the 2010 NYCM!