Many of us know Meb Keflezighi as a long distance runner and the first American man to win the 2014 Boston Marathon. However, his accomplishments have gone much further. Keflezighi won the 2009 New York City Marathon and the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, among many other honors.
He was born in Eritrea on May 5, 1975, this making him the “oldest” runner in the field. When asked about competing as the oldest runner Meb explained, “I am happy to be on the team regardless of age, it’s an honor.” However, his process of recovery has changed, Meb said, “I am getting wiser, not faster. I take more recovery days now than I used to.”
That being said, his training process is intense and when it comes to setting goals. “I take pictures weekly and monthly and use tactics and strategy for the race,” Keflezighi says. One of these tactics includes practicing intervals for long runs.
However, getting into a strict training regimen is not always easy for Keflezighi. “Being away from my family for 5 weeks is difficult,” he says.
But when it comes to his career, his biggest training challenge came from multiple stress fractures, which left him unable to walk or stand, let alone run. While these injuries have yet to slow him down, Keflezighi has adjusted his routine. “I used to train for a 9 day cycle, now I train 7,” he says.
So when does Keflezighi take a break? Keflezighi says it’s important to know your limits, and not push when you’re on the brink of injury.
“When I have aches and pains and I am sick I take a day off,” he says. When it comes to skipping your workout Keflezighi believes you should rest “one day longer than you think you should so you don’t relapse.”
Today, being healthy is Keflezighi’s main concern. While he trains, he constantly focuses on his health because injury is common and it is harder for him to recover at his age.
Keflezighi also believes in the power of a good diet. “I eat vegetables, salad, protein and carbs,” and “I eat a Power Bar a couple hours after my workout,” he says. But, even as an athlete, he still gets cravings. Keflezighi says his favorite cheat foods are cheesecake and tiramisu.
Despite his achievements, Keflezighi is not yet ready to hang up his running shoes. He is currently training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
While he’s not “concerned about the race,” Keflezighi does have some apprehension over the Zika virus. “I’m just praying everything comes together,” he says.
After the Olympics, Keflezighi wants to do more charity work, including with his Meb Foundation.
“I have been doing some motivational speaking and would like to be a part of a camp or be a running coach,” he says.
For more about Meb check out his website https://marathonmeb.com/.
Follow Meb on Twitter @runmeb