Marathoner Meb Keflezighi's list of accomplishments is staggering. Aside from being three-time National Champion in cross-country, winner of the NYC Marathon and too many others to mention here, he also has a shiny silver medal from the Athens Olympics. He has overcome numerous challenges and injuries in his career and continues to be a formidable force in the marathon distance. He is also an author and proud family man so when we had the opportunity for a brief interview before this year's NYC Marathon, we jumped at the chance!
Career Highlights• 2009 ING NYC Marathon 1st place
• 2009 USATF 7 mile, Half Marathon, and Marathon Champion
• 2009 XC Champion
• 2008 Runner-up Falmouth Road Race
• 2007 Runner-up Falmouth Road Race
• 2005 ING NYC Marathon 3rd place
• 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver Medallist
• 2004 ING NYC Marathon Runner-Up
• 2000, 2004 Olympic Trials 10,000m champion
• 2004 Marathon Olympic Trials runner-up
• 12th in 10,000m at 2000 Olympics
• 3-time U.S. 10,000m champ (2000, ’02, ’04)
• 3-time USA 12km XC champ (’01, ’02, ’09 )
• 6-time U.S. 15 km champ (’01, ’02, ’03,’04, ’06, ’07)
• 4-time NCAA champion
• American 10,000m record holder (27:13.98)
• Olympic Trials 10,000m record holder
• U.S. Championships 10,000m record holder
How do you prepare mentally for a big race?
I visualize the race unfold in my mind weeks before the day of the actual race. This allows me to use the motivation of the race to push myself in training everyday. Additionally, it takes away from the pressure that comes from the race approaching so suddenly. There is no way race day will surprise me, because that is what I am preparing for each day.
Even the best professional athletes find it difficult to return after injury. What was the most important factor to becoming competitive again? How has your training changed?
My injury in 2007, which lasted well into 2008 taught me that the body has its limits and we must listen to it. So now that I am older, I listen to my body even more and do all that I can to minimize injury. But we must recognize that injuries are a part of the sport. When injured you must work harder than when you are not injured. That is when your committement to the sport is challenged, and how you respond will determine how much progress you make or don't make.
When racing, do you stick to a specific pace or adjust according to the tempo of the race?
When racing, I run to win. My strategy is to find a way to increase my chances of finishing in first place, and if not in first, then in medal position. One can be fit for a race, but must race smart in order to get the desired results.
What advice do you have for athletes looking to increase their training volume?
Increase your training volume slowly. Don't make drastic changes, because your body will not respond well to these extreme changes. Coach Larsen and I used the 10% rule of increased volume per year. In long distance running, having consistent training for a long period of time is more important than having lots of mileage for a short period of time.
What races are you looking forward to next season?
After the 2011 ING NYC Marathon, my focus will be on the USA Olympic Trials Qaulifiers in Houston, TX. There will only be 69 days between my running these two marathons, but I think it is very possible for me to do well in both races. I would be honored if I can represent the USA in the Olympics for a third time.
TriEdge would like to thank Sketchers for providing the opportunity to interview one of their sponsored athletes! We will be reviewing Meb's go-to race shoe, the new GOrun, later this month!