Ultra Runner, Vegan Athlete and Ultima Ambassador, David Jared, shares his training strategy for staying strong and healthy.
Q: Have you always been a runner?
A: I've been a runner for most of my life. I started running when I was in middle school. I wasn't interested in playing football like most of the kids, so they had me run laps in the grass instead. I would just run for about an hour a day every day. It turned out that I really enjoyed spending my time running and I just stuck with it. Later that year I went out for cross country and loved it. I've run almost continuously since then.
Q: Ultra Running seems a little extreme… why not run a standard 26.2mi marathon?
A: At one point in time running a marathon was my dream. I had never run more than 5k in a race and set out to do a full marathon. I trained and ran the Dallas marathon. After I completed that goal, I was kind of wondering 'What's next?' That's when I started hearing about ultrarunning and thought it sounded absolutely crazy. I knew it would be challenging and that's what draws me to it. I want to see how far I can go. Plus there's a great community of ultra runners. It's a really fun sport with like minded crazy people!
Q: How many miles do you run per day/week?
A: Daily can be anywhere from 2 miles to 30 miles. My weekly mileage is a little more predictable. I'll typically range between 30 and 50 miles. On a big week I may go up to around 80 miles. This may not sound like a lot, but I have to work a balancing act between getting enough training in and not injuring myself.
Q: Do you take part in any cross training?
A: I do some strength training on my own, but not much beyond that. It's my weakness as an athlete and I'm working on getting better about it. I just love to get out and run and I tend to let that take over.
Q: Do you train differently leading up to different distances?
A: My overall training strategy stays the same. I keep my weekday runs pretty short and fast. I won't do any more than 9 miles on a weekday. My weekend runs are where I'll make adjustments depending on what distance I'm training for. I like to do back to back long runs. If I'm training for a 50k I'll have those two runs total mileage be in the low 30s. If I'm training for a 50 miler I'll bring it up to the 40s. I'm planning on doing a 100 mile race in the fall and I'd like to run 100 training miles in a 4 or 5 day period leading up to that.
Q: As a vegan, do you find your diet affects, limits, or helps you in any way?
A: A lot of people think that not eating meat will make being an athlete more difficult, but I've found that my vegan diet is a big asset. Three years ago I became a vegan solely because I wanted to improve my athletic performance. Cutting out meat helped me to lose some excess weight to start, and later I found that I was able to run more frequently and had more energy. I feel like switching to a vegan diet is what allowed me to transition into ultrarunning. I always get asked about protein and it was a concern I had at first, but it turned out that I get plenty of it without much effort. I do make a point to make sure I get extra when I'm finishing up a big run though.
Q: What’s next for you in 2016?
A: I have some big goals for 2016. My next race is a 50 miler. From there I'll do some shorter stuff (half marathons and 50ks) to build up to a hot summer 100k in August and a 100 Miler in November. It'll be my first time attempting a 100k and a 100 miler, so it will be a big challenge. I'm really excited to go for it.
David Jared has been running for his entire life. In 2011 he completed his first marathon, and his addiction grew from there. He began to crave longer distances, and in 2014 he completed his first ultramarathon with the Whispering Pines 50k.