THE INTERVIEW: MARATHON AND ULTRAMARATHON CHAMPION MICHAEL WARDIAN

 
     I’ll tell you all about Michael Wardian, but you won’t believe it.  He won the 2008-2010 US 50 km championships, and won the U.S. National 100 km championship in 2008.  He’s the 5-time winner of the National Marathon, and has won the Miami Marathon, the JFK 50 Miler, and scores of others.  He ran in the 2004 and 2008 Men’s Olympic Marathon trials and will be running with the upcoming Olympic Trials on January 14 in Houston.
     But what’s most amazing about Wardian is the sheer volume of his racing.  In 2006, Wardian won four out of five marathons he raced in less than 2 months. And that’s not unusual for him.
     In March 2008 Wardian won the National Marathon on a Saturday and finished third at a marathon in Knoxville, Tennessee the next day. In 2008, Wardian ran 53 races, and has held the world record for fastest marathon while pushing a jogging stroller, fastest marathon on a treadmill.
      I was able to catch up with Wardian during a rare down moment.
      JH:  As you return to the Olympic Trials next month, how are your goals different than they have been in the past?  Is your preparation for this race any different than for your other races? 
     MRW: My goal is to try and make the team and I am not sure I can do that but I am working very hard to put myself in a position to be in the mix and see what happens.  My preparation is a little different – I’m adding a lot of hill work and speed to the mix to get myself comfortable with running the pace I think is needed, but my legs are still coming around.  It’s going to be close but I am excited to try.
     JH:  What is your assessment of the state of elite distance racing in the U.S. today?
     MRW: I think it’sincredible.  We have so many fast guys just killing it every weekend.  That’s inspiring and gets me excited.
     JH:  You’ve run in — and won — so many races across the U.S. and the world — what races remain on your wish list?
      MRW: I have a ton a races that are on my wish list, such as: The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB), The Hardrock 100 Miler, Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mount Fuji, Hood to Coast, Copenhagen Marathon, Leadville 100 Miler, Pike’s Peak Marathon, there are so many, I can’t even think about them all.
     JH: Where do you see your running career and goals 10 years from now?
     MRW: I would like to think that my running career and goals 10 years from now would be the same to push the limits of what I am comfortable with and excel against the best in the world.
     JH: What non-running exercise and sport do you currently do?
     MRW: I like to cycle a lot and sometimes I do Yoga with the kids.  I also love lacrosse, which I played growing up but don’t get to play much right now.  I also like weight lifting and working out.  Spinning is fun too.
     JH: Which athletes and figures inspire you?
     MRW: I am inspired by lots of people, mostly it is other athletes but also anyone that really works hard and doesn’t give up no matter what.  I see that almost every weekend when I race.  I just did The North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco and I ran the 50 miler on Saturday and the 1/2 marathon on Sunday and I stayed at the finish line and watched everyone come in and every single person was just blissful – that inspired me.
     JH: Do you have any special phrases or mantras that you use during your races and in training?
     MRW: My special phrases is “Stay After It”.
     JH: What is your worst injury story? 
     MRW: My worst injury to date just happened on November 1, 2011, I fell on my lunch run and busted my head, lip and cracked my front tooth.  I ended up at Georgetown hospital in the ER and with a bunch of stitches and a new front tooth.  It really hurt, a lot.
     JH: You’ve held some odd racing records — racing with a baby stroller, or on a treadmill — what strange race records do you covet?
     MRW: I was really partial to the baby stroller as that was shared record with my son Pierce and I was hoping to get a similar record with my son Grant but I got 2nd so lost it but it was fun going for it.
     JH: What is your worst current vice or bad habit?
     MRW: I think that would be checking email and staying “connected” I have a hard time “relaxing”.
     JH: How do you maintain your motivation?
     MRW: I set big goals and I go for them and I know that to get to the goal I need to work everyday for it and that keeps me motivated.
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About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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