I think we can all agree on our love for Meb. He’s humble, he’s kind, he’s someone you want to root for and besides being able to run a sub-6 minute mile for 26.2 miles and win huge marathons (New York and Boston) and Olympic medals, he’s a lot like us.
At his core, he just loves to run.
Meb seems to be a fairly simple man. In fact, I think he summed up his entire book Meb for Mortals in one sentence:
Three factors determine everything I do; good goals, commitment and hard work.”
Now get out there and run like Meb!
Ok, so maybe you need a little more guidance but truly, it all comes down to these three things that everyone can do, and can apply to their running life. Meb just happens to be one of the best in the world at doing it.
I love the story he tells about choices. Another running goddess and training partner of his, Deena Kastor is quoted in the book as saying “we make choices, not sacrifices.” Meb tells a story of being at a church social, looking around and seeing that everyone (small, medium and large!) is eating a donut. He thinks about the fact that he did a 12 mile run in the morning and will be doing more mileage on his ElliptGO later that day, yet he is the only one not eating a donut. He relayed these thoughts to a friend there, who responded by saying “You’re the only one here who won the Boston Marathon.” Exactly.
FIVE (MORE) SURPRISING REVELATIONS ABOUT MEB:
1. HOW DOES MEB FUEL PRE-RACE? Since he doesn’t sleep well the night before a big race (just like us!), he puts food like a banana, two or three whole wheat or bagel sandwhiches, on his bedside table. When he inevitably wakes up in the middle of the night, he just starts eating. This is genius people!
“Over the next few hours I eat a decent number of calories. By the time I’ve eaten my sandwiches, I’ve probably taken in as many calories as the people who stuffed themselves at the prerace pasta party. But by eating smaller amounts more frequently, I’m not making my digestive system work overtime, and my blood sugar stays at a more constant level.”
2. WHY DOES MEB WEAR SUNGLASSES?
“I usually wear sunglasses in a race if it’s a sunny day. This is not because of the sun but to help keep my head at the right level.
When you get tired, it’s natural to put your head down. As I discussed in Chapter 2, not hold- ing your head level can throw off your form, which in a race situation will just make you feel that much more tired.
If you’re wearing sunglasses when you lower your head, they’ll start to slide down your nose. When that happens, it’s a cue to return your head to a level position, looking 20 to 30 meters down the road.”
3. WHAT’S THE BEST FUELING TIP MEB RECEIVED FROM A FELLOW ELITE?
So, if you read my post this past Wednesday about living the life of an elite, you would know that elites get to have their very own “fluid” bottles on the race course. Because they train at such a high level, their bodies get used to a certain sports drink and they want to be consistent with that on race day. Fellow elite Ryan Hall, told Meb how to take this a step further and I think it’s a fantastic idea…except I don’t have this luxury!
“I practice drinking on my long runs and tempo runs. I’m fortunate to usually have someone accompanying me on a bike for these workouts. I give them two bottles. As in the marathon, one has sports drink in it, and the other has sports drink mixed with a caffeinated gel. (I learned that trick from my fellow Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall. It sure beats carrying the gels and having them freeze or cutting your lip trying to open them on the run.) On long runs, I have the bottle with the dissolved gel at 12, 15, and 21 miles.”
4. HOW DOES MEB STRENGTH TRAIN?
Meb makes no bones about the importance of strength training. Though out the book, he preaches the significance and positive impact strength training has on his running and racing, especially as he ages. I was very happy to see that he touts the importance of upper body training (it really is important to running!) but I wasn’t sure what to make of this:
5. DOES MEB TAKE CARE OF “ALL THE LITTLE THINGS?”
Meb talks about the fact that some people attribute his success to “taking care of all the little things.” Meb disagrees:
“It’s true that I’m dedicated to eating well, recovering well, working on my running form, cross-training, and staying strong and flexible. But it’s important to realize that I don’t consider those “little things.” They’re integral to being the best runner I can be; when done day in and day out, they’re like compound interest, building to something big over time.”
Meb is my hero for so many reasons but I love that he won, in epic fashion, the Boston Marathon in 2014, two weeks before his 39th birthday. He’s practically ancient in the running world and still winning marathons. It’s truly incredible and he’s such an inspiration to me.
I was given a copy of this book by Runner’s World (although all opinions are my very own) at just the right time. Reading all of this, two weeks before my first marathon in eight years and as a 40 year-old athlete, has pumped me up! Obviously I’m not comparing myself to Meb but I’m so inspired by him and, I guarantee, you will be too if you read even a few pages of this book!
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Do you love Meb as much as I do?
Do you have any idea who this guy even is?
Tell me about someone in your life who inspires you!