Our professional athlete series wraps up with the guy who started it all: Brendan Brazier.
All month long, we’ve interviewed professional athletes and Vega Ambassadors to learn what it takes to make it as a pro in their field. Here’s a recap of interviews to date:
• Mac Danzig
, UFC fighter
• Betsy Bailey
• Lyzabeth Lopez
, fitness model
• Dylan Wykes
If you missed any, be sure to read up! There is tons of inspiration to be had from these highly successful individiuals.
When did you decide that you wanted to go pro?
As you may have read last week, Brendan is making his return to racing at next month’s San Francisco Marathon. Brendan’s journey to professional athlete started almost 20 years ago when he started running track in high school. Next month, as Brendan returns to competitive racing, he’s aiming to race in the low 2:20s beating his decade-old Royal Victoria Marathon record of 2:29. Even though he has not raced competitively for a few years, Brendan has always enjoyed the escape running offers and even while on tour, runs an average of five days a week for about 75 minutes at a time. Now that he’s officially in training mode, he’s added in longer runs that last just over two hours which are about 28 km and shorter runs which last about 45 minutes but are quicker and more intense.
I knew when I first started running in high school that I wanted to make a career out of it. I didn’t know how exactly to do it or even if it was realistic, but I knew it would be the ideal job for me.
What inspired your decision to go pro?
The lifestyle. I really enjoyed swimming, cycling, and running. So to me it was a way of being able to do what I enjoyed and not having to fit it around a regular job.
What steps did you need to take to go pro?
I looked at the training programs of the top pros and tried to mimic their training. But later I realized that recovery was the key to success since the faster I would be able to recover from training, the sooner I would be able to train again which would speed my rate of improvement. So I focused on recover and found that nutrition played a major role. That’s when I first began looking into diet for performance boosting purposes. Its impact was significant.
Walk us through a day of training. How many days a week? Hours a day?
When I trained full-time, I’d swim about 4500 meters in the morning, starting at 5:45AM. Then I would do a gym workout that lasted about 45 minutes. Next I’d eat breakfast, a smoothie that would eventually evolve into what is now Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer
, have a nap, then cycle five hours and run for 75min (about 18km) right after. This was a typical day; about 7.5 to 8.5 hours a day once it was all accounted for. I’d do this 5-6 days per week.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
On paper, probably winning the 50 km Canadian Ultramarathon Championships twice. But I think finishing 11th in Ironman Canada while not thinking I’d be able to make it to the finish line due to sever back cramping problems might be one of my best performances. At about the 110km mark of the bike leg, my back began to cramp and I still had 70km of cycling and 42.2km of running so to push through it and still finish in a decent place was a good test of mental toughness.
Thank you to all the athletes for participating in our professional athlete interview series. We're proud to have you on our team!