THE JOURNEY: WITH BRENDAN BRAZIER
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START RUNNING?
I remember I started playing hockey around when I was 13, which was pretty late to start. When I first started playing with my friends, I was pretty bad and I figured I could offset my lack of skill by and become a better hockey player by running before school in the mornings. It didn’t work, but I realized I liked running from doing that.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO GET INTO THE MORE COMPETITIVE SIDE OF RUNNING?
I wanted to as soon as I could. I’m not really a person that is competitive by nature. However, I knew that was really the only way that I could possibly make a career out of being an athlete by doing races. I’ve always enjoyed being outside and running by myself and and racing. Some people love that racing kind of environment, but for me it was really necessary to support the training.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO RUN? DO YOU STILL COMPETE AND DEVELOP AS A RUNNER?
I’m not trying to be competitive right now. I just like running for the sake of it, because it’s something I enjoy – it’s more of a mental break for me right now. It’s really compliments the other things that I do.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 BENEFITS THAT YOU GET FROM RUNNING?
Mental clarity, daily life and productivity.
WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES DO YOU DO BESIDES RUNNING NOW THAT YOU ARE JUST RUNNING FOR PLEASURE?
Cross training, specifically swimming, especially open water -- it's great, as well as cycling in the Santa Monica mountains. I also really enjoy boxing, because you have to stay really focused and react to what is going on and really be in the moment. Things like this are helpful, because they help your brain stay fresh because you have to learn new things. Being bad at things is actually really good for your brain. If you become really good at something, your brain is not going to continue improving. You get better quite quickly because you have started at such a low level, which is good for your brain.
WHAT TYPE OF ROAD BLOCKS HAVE YOU HAD ALONG THE WAY, ANY INJURIES?
I’m pretty good at cross training and doing a lot of maintenance work to reduce risk of injury and keeping my core strong. But, a couple that come to mind are just minor overuse injuries, nothing serious.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS YOU HAVE DONE TO HELP REDUCE RISK OF INJURY?
Probably core strength, specifically keeping my core strong, as well as hamstring strengthening.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH ON BALANCE AND DAILY LIFE? IS THERE SUCH THING AS "BALANCE" WHEN IT COMES TO RUNNING AND DAILY LIFE?
I don't balance running and life. Running is part of my life, in that it clear my mind and I see it as complementary, not balance.
I've also never really been a fan of the word "moderation", nor do I like the word "balance" when talking about work or life. I don't balance running and work. It is a synergistic relationship, not one of compromise, which is what balance is -- take from one to balance the other.
Brendan's approach on balance, taken from his latest book, Thrive Fitness:
"It’s common for people to suggest that we ought to strive for “balance”, stating that , for good health, one must lead a balanced life, comprised of work and training; work-life balance. I see it differently. Balance is compromise; for one aspect to be enhanced, the other must be taken from, just like a scale. I don’t suggest we balance but rather follow a complementary program."
"I’m sure you’ve heard people say that they don’t have time to run. It’s a common statement. Yet, I honestly believe that I don’t have time not to run. I’ve found that the hour or so I spend running in the morning far offsets the time it consumed. There’s no balance there – simply a purposeful, integrated holistic program that works synergistically with life."
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YO LOOK FOR IN A RUNNING SHOE?
Fit is very important. More specifically, a shoe that fits your foot properly. I don’t like shoes that are super cushy – I like ones that are a little more basic.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU THIS YEAR?
Nothing major, just a couple marathons. My hamstrings aren’t great right now. I can run, but if I go fast or for long lengths of time, things can get tight. You just have to make sure that you train properly.