2013 Badwater Pre Race Interview with Mark Matyazic

1. What does you training look like this year for Badwater?

Not nearly as much or good as I wanted.   Work has been really busy so I haven’t been able to get in a lot of the longer runs or weight sessions that I would have wanted to, but I was able to get in a few long races (marathon and 50k) and ran the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago, which is excellent training for Badwater
2. Is there anything you’d like to do differently going into this race for the 3rd time?
It’s really had to ‘plan’ for a race like Badwater due to all the variables, so probably not doing anything really different.
3. Are you dealing with any injuries at this time?
For injuries and recovery I also try to get as much body work as possible and I’ve also found it productive to get the same work done on a symetric part of the body, ie if my achilles is bothering me on my right leg, I’ll have it worked on and then have the left one worked on as well.  That way I feel ‘balanced’ when I walk out of the body work session.
Currently I have a right foot/ankle problem and I’ve been working through it. It seem orthotics helped a bit as did the Joints n’ Stuff product with all the anti infammatories in it.
It seems like injuries come in waves and right now, luckily and knock on wood, the wave is at low tide!
Graston Tooling

Graston Tooling helps with breaking down scar tissue and speeds up recovery after strenuous workouts

4. What do you use for calories during the race? 
I go pretty light on calories, but similar to last year, mostly Vitargo as that seems to be by far the best liquid nutrition available.  The calories just seem to last longer, as opposed to maltodextrin which it seems you have to take every 30 minutes or so once you start using it.  I can take Vitargo every 90 minutes or even longer intervals and the effects last.

Vitargo calories and recovery drink

5. What shoes and equipment will you be racing in?  
Not sure about the shoes, but I have decided to go with all 2XU this year.  Through trial and error in the jungles and desert I’ve found 2XU to far surpass other garments in terms of comfort and wear.  The stuff just doesn’t chaffe and I think the way it reduces muscle vibration helps deliver more energy into running, sort of like a carbon fiber cycling shoe helps deliver more energy into a pedal stroke.  I’ve had great results with 2XU.
6. What is your pre and post race diet consist of?  When you plan this out, are you focusing more on the quantity and/or quality of your caloric intake?  Also, what is your opinion on the variety of diets being adapted by endurance athletes today (vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism).  Understanding everyone’s physiology is different, do you see (or maybe have experienced) benefits of strictly eating certain types of foods?
Well I eat a lot of cows, chickens and fish, plus a fair amount of veggies and some fruit.  I stay clear of pork.  The systems of pigs and humans are nearly identical, this is why pharmaceutical and biotech companies use pigs in the early phases of clinical trials because they so emulate humans.  Think about that next time you eat bacon or pepperoni…..
I stay pretty clear of the diet fads, ie Paleo, Hollywood, Adkins, Zone, Fruitarina and all the rest.  There is a variety of good food out there.  I eat it all. I do try to stay away from processed stuff and don’t eat a ton of sweets(exceptions below!).  I also eat when I’m hungry and don’t eat when I’m not.  Pretty basic logic.  There are times during heavy training where I’ll easily eat 4-5000 calories a day, but like after I had shoulder surgery I was hardly ever hungry and probably didn’t even eat 2000 a day.
Now AFTER big events is another story.  I try to eat pretty well during recover phase but it seems like I’m incessantly hungry and just can’t get enough calories no matter how much chicken, lean beef, sardines, sushi, rice or veggies I eat.  Example:  I ran the Brazil 135(135 miles) in late January this year and then a week later flew to Costa Rica and did The Coastal Challenge, which is about 150 miles through rough terrain.  When I got back I would basically salivate when I saw live animals I was so hungry.  This went on for a week so finally I went to a bakery and bought the biggest 3 layer chocolate cake they had.  I think it was approximately 10,000 calories and I ate the whole thing over about an hour.  I felt AWESOME after.  I did something similar after Badwater last year so this may be my new recovery regimen.
Running Badwater in 120+ heat

Running Badwater in 120+ heat

7.  Even though competitive long distance running has existed for centuries, Ultra Running is somewhat of a new sport compared to many other currently marketed and organized sports.  With that, where do you see the sport of Ultra Running in ten years?  Do you see the following expanding as more of the population begin to become more active?  in addition, where do you see yourself as an athlete in ten years? 
No, first for an audience, ultra running is very boring. I mean there’s no real action or blood and they can’t ‘see’ the pain.  It’s probably ironic as I think some of the fittest people in the world are distance athletes.   I mean you have to be just to go that long.  Anyone can put out for 20-30 minutes and take a break, ie all the game ‘sports’, crossfit, and sprint races but put them in a marathon and they will drop.  Get to the 100 mile distances and you not only need endurance but a lot of strength, esp to get you through the later miles.   Most of these races begin around mile 60 and the weaker of the human population can’t even get that far.
I think this is also the reason why there is a comparatively small number of avid ultra runners.  People are going to gravitate to what’s easy or quick.  Ultra running is neither so I just don’t think it will ever draw the masses.  I came from triathlon where there are literally millions of competitors worldwide.  I moved on to ultra running for the additional challenge and I’d bet there are fewer than 10,000 ultra runners globally and thats being generous.
In ten years:  IDK.  I try to remain pretty balanced, meaning putting equal time into sport, fun, friends and family, work, etc.  This may fluctuate a lot too, ie in the summer months I may train a lot more as the industry I work in (dietary supplement) seems to slow down a lot, but then in winter/spring the industry is crazy so I hardly get to workout at all, but over the year I guess it balances.  In 10 years, barring death or injury I do hope to be working less, and doing more on the fun side, including training.  I may even train for a few triathlons again but I think I may forever be burnt out on those.  Who knows, maybe they’ll have ultra cage fighting where you aren’t allowed out for 2 days or something novel like that.
I really just want to stay balanced.  I don’t want to be in a high rise in NYC or trading on the floor making tons of money with a tire around my gut, but I also don’t want to be financially insolvent but being able to run with the wind.  So we’ll see what 10 years brings.
Deep Squat

Deep Squat

8.  How is it doing the same races multiple times and is it harder to get motivated? No I actually like it. I did this with marathons and tri’s too.  You can learn and also become familiar with a race/course over time, plus, if a race is particularly challenging, why not go back?  Badwater tests pretty much every element of human strength, endurance and perseverence.  There are many people who have done it a dozen times or more.  It’s a race one can sort of bond with.
Badwater 10am starters

Badwater 10am starters

9. Tell us about the aftermath of such an enduring race, and what do you do to recover?
Oh, I sort of did that earlier with the cake thing but my recovery really depends on the length and type of race I do.  Usually I try to plan a nice vacation right after, ie Europe, Caribbean or something and I’ll not run for maybe 2-3 weeks, even a month.  Even for 2 weeks after I’ll do nothing but eat and then when I come back I’ll start with yoga or swimming and then add some crossfit or weights and then when I feel like it all start dong everything.
I do have a recovery concoction, based on Vitargo, that I’ll take immediately after a long event to really kickstart replenishment, and then take that every day for maybe a week.  I have noticed a huge difference when I take that daily for a few days after than when I don’t.
I’ve also found wearing recovery skins, like 2XU,  as much as possible, immediately after the event and up to 3-4 days after.
Any closing words?
Well there are a lot of fads out there, poser trainers, funky diets, etc all trying to take an athletes money.  You just have to have fun and be wary of something that may not sound right or make sense.
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