Tyler Green is the top returning man from last year’s Western States 100, where he took second. In the following interview, Tyler talks about why he’s returning to a race at which he’s already excelled, how this event coincides with the end of his teaching school year, and how he managed to train for a hot race during a very wet spring in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
Tyler Green Pre-2022 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar; I’m with Tyler Green. It’s a couple of days before the 2022 Western States 100. You are here again.
Tyler Green: I am, and I’m happy to be here.
iRunFar: You are the top returning men’s runner. You had an excellent race last year, by all metrics. You ran smart, you moved up in the field, you had needed psychology, you had your logistics nailed. I think you were the only one in the field with an ice vest. What brings you back?
Green: This place is incredibly special. This course is incredibly special. The community is incredibly special. I’m here to enjoy that once again and enjoy it fully once again.
iRunFar: You are a person I admire because you maintain a pretty impressive job outside of your running. You are a teacher. Is school over? How does Western States coincide with the school year?
Green: You know, I actually find that it’s a nice little boost to my psyche because I finished Tuesday, there were meetings on Wednesday, but I didn’t, I shouldn’t talk about that. [laughs]
iRunFar: Skipped them! [laughs]
Green: Yeah, so, anyways, I mean turning in final comments, saying goodbye to the kids for the summer, it is a real lifting of weight off of my shoulders and that actually gives me a nice little spring in my step that I can bring here to the race.
iRunFar: I love it, you are officially on summer vacation.
Green: I certainly am.
iRunFar: How does peak training for Western States go when it’s coinciding with a couple of crucial months ending a school year?
Green: You know, what really makes it tough is I also coach track and so that makes it a little bit more challenging. I kind of work with a great, actually someone who’s going to be pacing me, but he kind of took over some major roles as a head coach so that I could have some afternoons to put some extra training in.
So that was one piece of it, so grateful for him and for the athletics department to allow for that. And then it’s looking at where the three-day weekends are. I was able to go down and do rim-to-rim-to-rim [on the Grand Canyon] for the first time, which was really special. Because we had a three-day weekend, called the spring … Not spring break but it was like a spring extra day.
iRunFar: How we survive.
Green: And then there’s the Memorial Day camp, and so I went down for an extra day for that. And then besides that, I think I can do most of my things. Usually, it’s in the afternoon and it works just fine. I don’t need to train all day long.
iRunFar: But it is nice a little bit to put your feet up after a hard run or a long day on the trail and a person with a job like yours has less time for that.
Green: That is true. Yeah, there are certain times where I’m squeezing it in. But I make it work and it’s been working. I’m actually, that was my last year teaching so things might change a little bit here. Yeah, it’s changing up into more coaching and being able to run a little bit more. So we’ll see how that changes things, but also I find that it has been a good insulator for me to not train too much. And, we’re expecting a baby, and so that might be the next thing that becomes my insulator, to not train too much. [laughs]
iRunFar: That’s very exciting, congratulations on the upcoming parenthood.
Green: Thank you, yeah, we’re excited.
iRunFar: You’re now on as intense of a summer break as it can get. You’re out of school, the baby’s not here yet, you’re on vacation at Western States. Like, this is real vacation.
Green: This is vacation. Until we get to Saturday, and then it’s a work day.
iRunFar: One very quick workday.
Green: I don’t know how quick that is.
iRunFar: Well, by most Western States standards, how about that?
Green: Let’s hope.
iRunFar: So, let’s talk about your build towards this year. I mean, you’ve had some great training races. I didn’t know you went to do rim-to-rim-to-rim, but that sounds like perfect training. And then of course you were here at training camp a month ago.
Green: Yeah, so I ran Red Hot 55k at Moab, and then Chuckanut 50k, which I really wanted to focus on that one. And then a couple of weeks after that, did Gorge Waterfalls 50k. And those were super fun, like I hadn’t run 50ks in a little while and so it was truly like a learning experience. And I thought that that was like, you kind of feel like going into 100 milers is where you get humbled, but often 50k is going to humble you equally.
iRunFar: In a different way.
Green: Yes, absolutely.
iRunFar: I did notice it seemed like people were training with shorter, quicker, it’s funny that we say 50k is shorter, but a lot of people were doing training races that weren’t 50 miles, which are the historic way to prep for 100 miles. People are doing shorter, faster things.
Green: Yeah, and actually I kind of wanted to do a 50 miler and I guess going back to our discussion about teaching is I couldn’t fit one in at that time, which was okay.
iRunFar: Well, rim-to-rim-to-rim is pretty close to that at the end of the day, just not a race.
Green: And that kind of fit that build.
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah. You live in the Pacific Northwest, where it has been historically moist this spring. How have you been prepping? I mean, it’s funny, we’re standing here in a thunderstorm right now, but how have you been prepping for the supposed hot conditions of Saturday?
Green: Yeah, moist is putting it lightly. It’s sopping wet and the trails are still sopping wet. We just had our first 80-degree day. So, it’s sitting in the sauna a lot and getting that heat stress there. And I’m confident I have a great coach, who is a scientist and knows how to give me protocols that will get me ready. And so I just followed his protocol of sitting in the sauna, and I’m trusting that.
iRunFar: And is the ice vest coming back? Everybody wants to know!
Green: The ice vest will be back, yeah, why not?
iRunFar: Is it the same one? Are there some modifications?
Green: Yeah, it’s the same vest, I don’t see any reason to switch that. But I’m still looking at my cooling system, I think there are some ways that I’ve improved it. And I’m excited to put those forward.
iRunFar: And I’m excited to see what that is.
Green: Yeah, and it’s stuff that you may or may not see, but it’s there.
iRunFar: Okay. Well best of luck to you on your run from here to Auburn, and enjoy the journey.
Green: Thank you, I certainly will.