Most of us spend months preparing to run a single marathon. In January 2017 Michael Wardian ran seven marathons on seven different continents in seven days. To make it more impressive, he set a World Record for the event and averaged 2:45:57 per marathon. What the what!?! Since January he has raced the Tarawera 100K and the Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon in New Zealand, the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon, the Armory NYC Indoor Marathon, the Barkley Marathon, the BAA 5k (blindfolded), the Boston Marathon, the Big Sur Marathon, the Pristina Half Marathon in Kosovo, and the Ultra Trail Australia 100k. But that’s not all folks, he still has three races left on his schedule before taking a break in mid July, and two of them are 100-milers. In the midst of this mind-bending schedule, Michael took the time to answer some of our questions about what it’s like to be an endurance running machine, and for that we are incredibly thankful.
You’ve had a busy spring. How do you feel about 2017 thus far?
MRW: Thank you so much. 2017 has been a banner year, and if everything stopped right now I would be so unbelievably stoked. I can’t believe I have been to all 7 continents, set a world record, and been able to race at such a high level.
After playing collegiate lacrosse, how did you first get started running?
MRW: I got into to running to run the Boston Marathon just once and figured that would be it and that I would move on with my life and do other things. But I found a passion for training and competing, and I love the feeling of being a part of events and pushing my limits.
What is your training regimen like?
MRW: I train a lot. I love to work. I run between two and three times a day during the week and go longer or race on the weekends. I am normally between 80-120 miles per week with some weeks that are less busy and others that are more. In fact, in 2017 I had my biggest week ever with 200 miles…it was great.
As an Injinji athlete, you wear Injinji toesocks for training and racing. What sets them apart from other socks and gear you’ve come across?
MRW: I really love my Injinji socks. The things that set them apart are that they feel great, reduce the amount of blisters I get, spread my toes to allow more dynamic landing, and last forever.
You’ve raced in a number of different costumes over the years. Who is your favorite persona to race as?
MRW: I have definitely explored what it is like to race in costumes, and my favorite is currently Elvis. He is just so cool, and people really connect with what he is all about. It is amazing how much energy you get from everyone while you are in costume. I highly recommend everyone try it at some point. You will not be disappointed.
With training and racing at such high volumes, do you incorporate any strengthening/injury prevention exercises?
MRW: I definitely try to do strength and injury prevention through body weight exercises, stretching, warming up and cooling down, and of course using my +Addaday recovery products to treat any niggles.
What about rest and recovery? How much do you sleep?
MRW: I tend to do really well on recovery, but I am not really skilled at rest and sleep. I am making sleep and rest a bigger part of my plan for 2017 and beyond and have really tried to improve both. However, I still only sleep about 4-5 hours straight, and if I stay in bed then the rest of the time is not really productive. But I am working on it.
Compared to many ultrarunners, you race a lot. Is there something about racing that motivates you to get out as often as you do?
MRW: I definitely race a lot more than most people, but I love being out there. It keeps me fresh and dedicated, and I can’t pass up the opportunities I have been given. I feel so lucky to have an ability to race a lot at a high level, so I hope I can inspire people to do a bit more than they think they can.
Do you have a preferred race distance or event?
MRW: I really love all races and events. I think the distances that I tend to excel at are from marathons up to about 100K. I am working on 100 Milers and have won a few lately, but I still feel like marathons and the 50K are really excellent for my skill set. I will need to keep refining my longer racing, but that is what is so cool. I love that you always have to be tweaking things and challenging yourself, and I think doing the longer events helps me in the shorter races and vice versa.
What is your favorite Injinji sock for training? What about for racing?
MRW: My favorite Injinji sock for training is the Run Lightweight Crew. My favorite Injinji sock for racing is the Trail Midweight Mini-Crew for trails and roads
Do you have a favorite color scheme or design on an Injinji toesocks?
MRW: My favorite design is probably my USA flag Injinji toesocks
What are some of your favorite races to participate in?
MRW: I am always up to race, anywhere, any distance, any time. Some of my favorite events are: the Boston Marathon (still), the Tarawera 100K, the Ultra Trail Australia, BUFF ® Epic, Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Big Sur Marathon, The North Pole Marathon, Missoula Marathon, CIM Marathon, JFK 50 Miler, Vermont City Marathon, Tussey Mountain Back 50 Miler, The North Face Endurance Challenge, Eco Challenge Paris … I don’t know. I can go on and on.
Do you have a favorite memory of racing or competing that you can share with us?
MRW: I feel really fortunate to have a lot of memories, one of the best lately was the feeling of finishing the first marathon in Antarctica this year while I was running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents and knowing that I had run the fastest time ever on a continent. That was super cool and something that I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to improve on.
Do you have any advice you can share with anyone who is just getting started as a marathoner/ultrarunner?
MRW: My favorite bit of advice is “Be Consistent” in your training. Great things happen when you can consistently train. Running doesn’t care who you are or what you have done. You have to continually train to maintain results.
Thank you for your time. We wish you the best of luck with the rest of your season!
MRW: You are most welcome and thank you so much for the interest and support.
Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.