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April 13, 2012 Comments (1) Interviews

Michael Wardian: Interview

Michael Wardian
Occupation: Ship Broker/Runner
Husband, Father
Age: 37
A few races/details:
1st at 2010 ING Miami Marathon

1st at 2010 Delaware Marathon
1st at 2010 National Marathon-Washington, DC
Bronze Medal at 2009 & 2010 50K World Championships-Gibraltar, Gibraltar
3rd Place at 2010-100K World Championships-Gibraltar, Gibraltar
6th Place at 2009-100K World Championships-Torhout, Belgium
USATF National Champion: 2008, 2009, 2010 USATF 50K National Championships
USATF National Champion: 2008-USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships
USATF National Champion: 2008-USATF 100K
IAU Ultra Runner of the Year 2010
USATF Ultra Runner of the Year-2008, 2009 & 2010
New York Road Runners Ultra Runner of the Year: 2009

Recent Results:
1st place at 2011 San Francisco Marathon

3rd place at 2011 Badwater 135
2nd place at 2011-Disney Marathon
3rd place at 2011-ING Miami Marathon

14th place at Empire State Building Run-Up
1st place at 2011 Lower Potomac Marathon-
set Guinness World Record-Fastest Marathon as Super Hero (Spiderman)
3rd place at 2011 Shamrock Marathon
1st place at 2011 National Marathon (5 time winner)
19th place at Two Oceans Marathon (56K)-First USA
11th place at Comrades Marathon (87K)-First USA
3rd place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-50 Miler
1st place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-1/2 Marathon

If you didn’t know who Michael Wardian was until now…at least you have some idea about the level of athlete we’re talking about.  He is one of the best distance runners in the world, period. A few weeks ago, he finished 3rd overall in the Badwater 135 ultramarathon, amongst an international field of supreme athletes. Badwater was just another race for Michael, who manages a regular racing schedule of 50 or more events per year. He loves to race…recovers in ridiculous time, and competes in almost every distance on every surface.

Michael Wardian is inspiring…not just for his pure athletic talent and dedication to distance running. He also works as a ship broker to support his family.  He is the proud father of two young boys, Pierce (4 years old) and Grant (2 years old).  Michael rises before sunrise for training…runs miles at lunch…and races like a superhero on weekends.  A supreme athlete with a humble attitude…he represents the every-day, Clark Kent…but quickly becomes Superman once the race begins.  Michael Wardian provides the most powerful counter-argument for those that say, “I don’t have the time.”

It was my pleasure to conduct this interview with Michael for Conversations with the Trail…

Avg Weekly Mileage: 100-120 miles per week
Trails, Road, or both?  I run everything… trails, roads, treadmill.
Shoe type?: “I wear all different kinds of shoes… road shoes, trails shoes, racing flats, even barefoot sometimes.”

Runner’s World Interview

PR Marathon: 2:17:49-Grandma’s Marathon-2011
PR 50k: 2:54:06
PR 50mi: 5:22 (split from Comrades 2010)
PR 100mi: 15:34-Vermont 100 Miler
Preferred Distance? “Any distance… I love running and racing all distances. I am probably better at the longer distances from marathon upwards.”
Pre-workout meal? Something light, fruit usually.
Endurance Nutrition Favorites?: Water, PowerGels and S-caps.
Any recovery nutrition? Water, Milk, Fruit
Electrolyte Drink Preference? “Not really.”

Q: Michael, you are well-know for your incredible recovery time and ability to race week after week…Do you every feel overwhelmed by this rigorous schedule?

A: I don’t feel overwhelmed at all, I love the challenge of training and racing and I am lucky that my wife and kids, family, work and sponsors allow me to do what I love to do.

Q: Congratulations on your Badwater performance just a few weeks ago! What new challenges did Badwater throw at you?

A: Badwater provided a lot of challenges…Dealing with extreme heat, long climbs, fueling beyond the point that I have ever needed to and then the challenges of the distance. It was a tough race but I think next time I do it I can improve a lot. (Ian Sharman Blog on Crewing Michael at Badwater)

Q: You don’t just run marathons and ultras…you race at the top of the field. I imagine, however, that even you have to be careful about pacing in the early miles of a long event. Do you agree? How do you decide how fast to run when a race will go all day or longer?

A: I agree that you have to be very careful about pace and if you look at my Badwater splits you can see that I was very slow through the first couple of check points but I was hoping that was help me later and I think it did. I think you need to be able to run a lot of different paces because during a long event you are not always going to be able to run the same pace the whole time.

Athlete Dad


Q: Many people say they are too busy to stay active. You are a full-time employee and father of two young boys…can you briefly share the daily schedule that allows you to be a high level athlete and dad?

A: I think you can always do more than you think you can do and you need to explore your limits and I try to live this way. I wake up early…usually around 5:00am or earlier if I need to. I normally run on the treadmill, so I can help with the guys. Then I either run or ride my bike to work. At work, I run at lunch and run or ride my bike home. After I get home, I normally am done with training and “on-duty” with the boys and my wife, Jennifer.

Q: What advice to you have for athletes who compete in marathon or ultrarunning? Do you feel that, generally, athletes could improve if they focused in one area….perhaps mileage, intensity, consistency, diet, or another area?

A: I think the biggest area that is going to gain you improvement, or at least it has for me, is to be consistent.

Q: Athletes all over the world are going to read this interview before heading out for their daily training run. What would you like to them?

A: I would suggest that everyone think about one super cool, outrageous goal/dream and then go for it.  It motivates me to try and explore my limits and choose lofty goals and I hope my adventures can inspire others to do more than they think they can.

Michael, thank you.. Your advice means a lot because you truly live by example. Thank you for sharing your time with us.  On behalf of all the athletes who will read our interview…good luck in your upcoming races. We will be cheering for you!

Interview by: Jerry Armstrong

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