The marathon: sport’s classic test to those seeking to push their limits.
Unless you’re Mike Wardian, who cranks one out every other week in all corners of the world – he ran more than two dozen marathons, ultra marathons or longer in 2016, including all six city majors, setting a new record for combined time (an average of 2:31:09).
Wardian talks to Inside Sport about how he fits in training at every possible moment.
Finding time and distance
“I do a lot of training during the week. I run 10km to work, 10km home, and probably 7km at lunch. That’s a really typical day. If I’m not doing that, I’ll run first thing Tuesdays and Thursdays with my dog, Rosie. We’ll run trails for an hour and a half.
“That’s how I’ll get my runs in. On weekends, if I’m not racing – like this past Sunday, I ran 35km. I did 25km with a friend, and another 8km with my kids. I pushed them around as they mountain-biked around a park. And Saturday, I just ran 15km relatively hard.
“I love being in motion. If I don’t get a chance to run, it’s definitely not my favourite. Especially big travel days, where you’re in a plane more than on the ground, at the airport I’ll try to find a way to get a workout in. Carry my bags up and down steps for an hour, you know, just to get a sweat going. I’m the guy who does push-ups while waiting in line. On the plane, the guy who stands up and goes to the galley out back – it’s funny, you see people get inspired what you’re doing, when you’re cranking out squats and they’re just standing there.”
“I played lacrosse growing up, and in college at Michigan State. When I stopped, I wanted to stay fit, so I picked up running. I’d always run, and was one of the faster guys on the team over distance, not really sprinting. But if we were in trouble and [the coaches] made us run all day, it never really bothered me. I’m good at this – yeah, OK, that’s not really a motivation for me.
“I started out doing 5k, then 10k, and one weekend I went to my buddy Vince’s house, and his mum had just finished the Boston Marathon. It was the first time I met a person that had done a marathon. I kind of looked at her and thought: ‘If Vince’s mum can run a marathon, I can run a marathon.’ And she was cool enough to help me, gave me a little training program. Over that Easter weekend in 1995, I decided to run a marathon … The Boston Marathon [April 2017] was my 20th anniversary.”