A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Subway asking if I would be interested to interview Apolo Ohno. I didn’t have to think long about my answer… it was a definite YES! Myself along with five other bloggers, met with Apolo via phone conference to discuss his latest challenge: running the New York City Marathon THIS WEEKEND!
A little background on Apolo, he is an Olympic gold medalist in speed skating. He is the guy who had the massive quads and long hair held back with a head band. Yes, him! Apolo was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and won! He is one busy guy.
Rumor has it that Jared (the Subway guy who ran his first marathon last year in NY) dared Apolo and other famous athletes to run the ING New York marathon. Up for any challenge, Apolo accepted!
Apolo has been running for years as a part of his training for speed skating. However, training for a marathon is a completely different ball game. Skating was fast explosive and all out. He had to learn to slow down and control his movements while running.
This is his first full marathon and he is super excited about it. He has a goal finish time around 3:30. Apolo shares his confidence that he has a strong mind and believes that he can do this. I am a firm believer in positive self-talk, and if one believes he can achieve it, they can. I am proud of Apolo and confident that he will rock his race!
Below are a few of the interview questions that were overheard earlier this week on my conference call with Apolo. These answers are not word for word, as I can only write so fast… and really enjoyed just listening to his enthusiasm.
Do you have a running mantra or phrase you use to push through the wall?
Yes, when I’m in pain and having doubts, I have to dig deeper. My mantra is “zero regrets,” something my dad taught me. I want to know that I gave all to my performance and left nothing on the table.
How do you stay motivated when you don’t feel like running?
This happens all the time. I give myself no choice. It’s not an option. I just get out there and do it. Once you start you feel so much better!
How has running effected your body?
I have actually lost weight while marathon training. My legs are ridiculous things, but they have gotten smaller with marathon training. I no longer look like a Tyrannosaurus Rex! My upper body has beefed up more and now my legs are 50% smaller than they used to be! I don’t have to have my jeans custom made anymore!
What is your goal for this race?
(Laughing in good fun) I want to beat Jared’s time and Mario Lopez! I am running on behalf of the Special Olympics and partnered with Subway. Subway has promised to donate $26,200 to the Special Olympics if I’m able to run under 4 hours. I’m ready to rock and roll! My hope is to spread awareness and inclusion for all athletes in all sports.
What does your nutrition look like during training?
Marathon training has given me the opportunity to be less strict with my nutrition. I am able to eat more calories because of the crazy mileage I put in each week. A good blend of carbs and proteins the night before (he finds brown rice pasta to be a good choice). The morning of the race I eat some oatmeal. During the race, I do liquid gels and try to stay hydrated. I am always learning and finding the right blend of carbs and protein with each meal to see how my body uses it as fuel during training.
What is your go to post-race treat?
I love to drink low-fat chocolate milk. It’s the perfect blend of carbs and protein. A lot of times I’m not hungry after a long workout so it works for me. I am a big fan of protein and love Subway subs.
What’s your favorite Subway sub?
I’m a double meat guy. I go for a foot long double meat (turkey) on honey oat with all the veggies, banana peppers too and oil/vinegar. Sometimes I add in avocado.
What is your advice for for time marathoners?
Make sure you are persistent and plan ahead. If you can, get a good trainer/coach to serve your needs. Without my coach (Todd Rushworth) I would just run hard everyday. But it’s really important to know when to take it easy on the long runs. The biggest thing with marathon training is to not skip out on the big/long runs, they are the most important. I also learned the value of rest.
Who is your running inspiration?
I think anyone who runs a marathon and finishes an inspiration. I have big kudos for those who finish a marathon in less than 3 hours. I have only run 20 miles and knows that it is tough!
Other fun things I learned about Apolo:
His go to music to get him amped is house music. His favorite is Cascade.
My favorite quote I heard during the interview was, “Athletes train when noone is watching!” which gave me pause to rethink my own training and mantra.
Do you want to be like Apolo and run to your nearest Subway for double meat on honey oat? Subway is giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader!!
To enter, just tell me how you fuel up before and after a tough workout. That’s it. A random winner will be chosen on Friday, November 11.