You know who your coaches are. You know we write and facilitate your workouts. You know we run. But lately, we've been getting some questions about our training styles, nutrition, and running schedules. So, we're going to take the next few posts to let you really get to know us. Find out why we run. Why do we train the way we do? We spend a lot of time watching you (not in a creepy stalker-ish way), gauging your abilities, and tracking your progress. It's only fair you get to know us as well.
This week, you have a chance to get to know Nick Weis.
How long have you been running?
I started running track with I was 13, I began cross country when I was 15, I became a year-round runner when I was 16. Other than an 18 month break I took in my late-teens/early 20s due to a severe injury, I have been running ever since.
Tell us about your running history:
I am proof that you really do not need talent to be a successful runner. I have asthma and I by far was not the most athletic kid. But, I do have an insatiable appetite to be the best at whatever I do.
In Junior High, I was a mediocre runner. In fact, that might be a stretch. When I got to High School, I decided that I was tired of being mediocre. My freshman year, I went from being the 5th-8th fastest miler in my grade to being easily the fastest. But that was not enough. There was a pretty good group of guys that were two years older than me and I wanted to be competitive with them, if not outright beating them. Towards the end of my freshman year in track, I was hit by a car during practice, which side-lined me for 2-3 months. Once I got over that, the rest of high school was about finding someone I wanted to beat and working to make it happen.
I went to MSSU to run track and cross country, but my hip was damaged from being hit by the car in high school and my body could not take 120 mile weeks. I pushed myself to the point of breaking and had to take 18 months off. After that, I realized that I had to do something or else my asthma was just going to get worse and worse (at this point I was having asthma attacks when I would go for a walk in 30-40 degree weather). I decided I was going to get in as good of shape as possible. I started running with people (Joy included) that I had no business running with in the shape I was in. I would run as hard as I could for as long as I could, hit the wall, then crawl back home. In a little over a year, I was back to 16 minute 5K shape.
After a few years, I got tired of the same old, same old. I knew I was never going to really PR again (my body could not handle the training that was needed to do such). I was losing interest. I needed to find a new focus for me to keep running. Into the picture came Ruger. Ruger is an Alaskan Malamute - my first sled dog. My running became less about me and more about him. That is where I am today. I do not run for myself. I still have the insatiable appetite to be the best, but that is focused on training my dogs to be the best runners they can be.
Tell us about your training style:
Balls to the wall. In addition, when I run (i.e. not with a group), every run ends with a sub-6 mile, no matter whether it is a long-run, a training run, or a cool-down after a workout.
Why do you train this way?
My body is very much slow twitch dominated. As such, it takes a lot for me to respond to training. For me to get a response from my body, I have to push it hard. I do not have to really worry about my body running down (unless I had 8 hours a day, seven days a week to dedicated to running). The sub-6 last mile is because I want to be able to run a sub-6 in my sleep. Plus muscle memory. Your body remembers the last thing you do when you exercise, and I want mine to remember that we do not go slow.
What is your favorite workout?
Pace run. No rest, no recovery, just pick a pace and hold on.
What is your favorite race distance and why?
Anything I can run with my dogs. As I said earlier, I will never really PR again (at least in anything 5K or longer). My body cannot handle the training that is needed. Running with my dogs give me a reason to push myself even if it will not be a PR.
What is a piece (or two) of advice you have for someone new to speed work?
If it is not hard, it is not worth doing. I know that being new to hard workouts sucks. You feel like you heart is going to rip through your ribs and you are getting your butt kicked by everyone around you. I have been there. Just remember that if it were easy, there would be no point in doing it. You get places by making yourself uncomfortable. Just make small goals for yourself. “I am going to hang on to this person as long as I can” is a perfectly acceptable goal. Before you know it, you will not notice that pain as much.
What do you like to eat before a race?
Pasta, but I would eat that for every meal if I could.
Do you crosstrain? What do you do?
Every day, I do 100 pushups. I try to lift weights and do an abs routine 3-5 times a week (although I am not the greatest at keeping to this). Plus, dog sledding. Seriously, when you think you know what a hard workout is, I welcome you to put on 15 pounds of clothes, 5 pound boots and run 6:00-7:00 mile pace for even 100 yards (maybe I ought to mention that my dogs have the same training philosophy, balls to the wall, well if they had balls).
Tell us a few of your favorite quotes:
“Champions are made, not born.”
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If it is not hard, it is not worth doing.”
Please know your coaches are always available to answer questions or help with your training. Stay warm, stay safe, and if it's not too slick, we will see you in the morning. #thefitclub417
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!