In the ultra running community, Andrew Miller is a young prodigy to keep your eye on. Winning the Western States 100 in 2016 (in 15 hours 39 minutes and change) as a 20-year-old, Miller has our attention. We had the opportunity to chat with Andrew, and he kindly answered our questions.
How long have you been running? What first got you into running?
I’ve been running ultras since I was 14. I first started running a little bit with my mom when I was about 10 years old, but never very frequently or very long. Mom ran ultras, so I would join her for some of her short runs. Over time, I started joining her for all of her runs, and that’s how I ended up running my first ultra.
What is your favorite thing about the sport, in general?
My favorite part of ultra running is the fantastic community that surrounds the sport.
You’re a student at Northern Arizona University. What are you studying?
I’m studying exercise science.
What are the main challenges you face when it comes to balancing your studies and running?
In the past, the biggest challenge I’ve had with balancing running and school is time management. This fall, dealing with stress was the main issue.
What advice would you give to someone trying to balance work/school/running?
The best way to create enough time to run is to pay attention to where your time goes. There’s always a few minutes wasted here and there throughout the day, so by eliminating that wasted time, you’ll have a bit more time to run. I’m still figuring out how best to deal with stress, but having a positive outlook is a great place to start.
When was your first ultra, and what was it like?
My first ultra was the McKenzie River 50K; I ran the race with my mom in 2010. It was an awesome way to spend the day with my mom, but I was really tired by the end!
What is your go-to form of on-the-run nutrition?
I like to use VFuel gels, because they are quick, easy, and sit well in my stomach.
Shop Andrew Miller’s favorite: VFuel Nutrition
What is your favorite shoe to run ultras in?
I’ve been running in the Salomon Sense Ultra the last couple of years, and I have been really happy with the shoe.
Shop Andrew Miller’s go-to ultra shoe: Salomon Sense Ultra
What was your mental approach before running Western States?
My mental approach to Western States was to break the race down into small pieces and focus on running each section well. Thinking of the race as a whole can be overwhelming, so I focused on small section of the race and never the whole thing at once.
How did you train for it?
For training, I tend to run at a fairly high volume but also try to include one or two fast runs each week to improve my speed.
What was the hardest part of that race for you, mentally, emotionally, and physically? What got you through?
The only section that was a real low point was between Cal 1 and Cal 2. I was hot and started thinking about how far I had to go. After I reached Cal 2 I was able to refocus a bit and continued thinking of the race as multiple small sections.
How many ultras have you run?
I think I’ve run about 25.
What has been your favorite ultra race so far?
It’s hard to pick one specific favorite, as each race offers something unique and special. One of my favorite moments was finishing the Bighorn 100 just as the sun was starting to come up. That’s the only time I’ve run through a whole night, so it was a special experience for me.
Is there a race you are currently training for?
Well, the next race I plan to run is the Georgia Death Race, so I guess that’s what I’m training for now.
Do you have any long-term goals in this sport?
My goal with running is to be the best runner I can be. Yes, I do have some specific goals, but for me, the most important part is to have fun and to keep improving.
Thank you, Andrew!
Rachel runs for fitness. It’s entirely about personal health and mental/emotional wellness for her. She’s one of those weirdos that finds proofreading to be thrilling. As manager and lead editor for the Running Warehouse Blog, THIS is her baby. She also recently started a graphic design business with her husband Ryan as a side hustle.