I can’t even describe to you how excited I was to talk to Dathan Ritzenhein. Dathan went from an injury that took him out from running (and cross-training) for 6 months this year, to taking 4th in the Olympic Time Trials with a 5 second PR (2:09:55).
I was a little (okay, a lot) nervous all day long to talk to one of my biggest running heroes. They called 12 minutes earlier than I was expecting and Billy can tell you that I almost had a heart attack.
Dathan was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to, I learned a lot from him and I am so excited to share it with all of you! Pretty much we are bff’s now. Is it creepy that I photoshopped our pictures together?
Billy is really smart with computers and things and made a link for the interview (if you make fun of my high pitch voice you will be in big trouble).
You can hear the full interview HERE!!!!! (if you make fun of my voice you are in big trouble.
Surprisingly Dathan is feeling pretty good today and the best that he has felt physically after a marathon. “Mentally I am still getting over the disappointment of yesterday but that will get less with time.”
I read that Dathan experienced cramping during the race and he said that it was more like a spasm in his hamstring that was due to the fast pace that they went out at and the lack of training (6 months of doing 0 miles per week this past year), not due to nutrition. He has experienced nutritional cramping before and it was not what he experienced yesterday. He was able to lessen the spasms by slowing down a little bit and it went completely away for the last few miles.
Of course he is disappointed about missing the Olympic team by just 8 seconds but he is happy that he was out there healthy, he is ready to go forward.
How has your nutrition changed over the last few years?
-He is working with Gatorade this year and this is the first time (in six marathons) that he has not struggled with nutritional problems while running. This year he was able to go to the GSSI Lab to find out what his body is burning, how efficient it is and what he needs to put back into it. He is learning a lot working with the pioneers of sports nutrition, Gatorade. He will go back in the spring to see how things have changed now that he is more fit.
What are some foods that you recommend for runners?
-Eating well year round is difficult, especially for workoutaholics. He tries to eat well rounded but supplements with producs in the G Series Pro Line help supplement his diet. “When you are burning 3,000-4,000 calories every day there is only so much you can do besides eating McDonalds every day.” Nutrition is something you REALLY have to work at!
What is your pre-race meal?
-You want to stick to things that are kind of the opposite of what you should eat for your everyday life, you want to steer clear of your fruits, veggies and protein. Stick to something EASY to digest. HIGH CARBOHYDRATES like a plate of pasta and white bread. When he is running he takes in Gatorade and thinks about getting in high amounts of sodium and sugars which you NEED as an endurance athlete but sodium and sugar are things that people are usually told not to eat too much of. So basically our pre-race and during the race nutrition is kind of the oppositve of what we are used to hearing about that makes us healthy.
Dathan has dealt with a bunch of injuries and so I asked him how he mentally dealt with them.
-He has had almost every type of injury possible and he says that it is part of the game when you are pushing yourself to the max. You could back off that extra 10% and not get injured as often but it is when you go the 100% that you get the amazing performances. Finding the line is the hard part that comes over time but that doesn’t make the disappointment and heartache any easier.
-Recovery is so important to do EVERYTHING RIGHT.
-Simple things you can do: Get the massage, take an ice bath (HE DOES EVERYDAY!) “If you can squeak them into your day you can beat things away before they build up but when they do happen, I always dig myself into cross-training.”
“GET ON THE BIKE, GET IN THE POOL, it is good for your head and you can keep that aerobic conditioning, you can infinitely increase your aerobic conditioning.”
Getting in the weight room is really important so that when you get back to running you do not get injured somewhere else.
He says that he has had the best training ever because he really focused on strength training during this cycle. Make sure you recover (G Series Recovery Shake for him) in between running and strength training so that you don’t hurt yourself:)
Why did you start running and what keeps you going?
-What keeps him going everyday (twice a day ha) is money of course (he has a family to support;) but he really does love running and loves training ever since he was a kid.
He started running after his parents got divorced. His dad really wanted to get in shape and joined a runners club and so Dathan tagged along with his dad and go hang out with a friend. Eventually he got absorbed into doing 5ks on the weekend and speed work on Wednesdays and even started doing triathlons at 11 years old.
He still loves it today!
Are your kids going to be runners?
-He sure hopes so but really just wants them to be good at any sport. He wants to be able to cheer them on. He thinks his daughter has the little frame of a runner but his son has the frame of a linebacker;)
Best tips for beginner runners?
-Road running is a booming industry right now and so there are a lot of people getting into it. One of the most important things for beginner’s is to set a goal. Just set something and get with other people and train together. Running with people makes a huge difference in being able to get out the door and run. Get with a group, his training group helps him get out the door!
Who is your running inspiration?
-Greg Meyers was from the same area as him and won the Boston Marathon in 1983 and was from his hometown. He grew up with a lot of great runners in his small town.
Are you going to be focusing in on the 10K now?
-He picked himself up and dusted himself off and realized after not making the team yesterday that he has had a lot of success in the 10k and he wants to go again to try and qualify to make his THIRD Olympic team in a few months. All of his attention will be getting back to the track.
How long will you be resting after your 2:09:55 marathon yesterday?
-He is in recovery time right now but they are not sure how long he will need to fully recover. He feels great right now because he had a great training but he does not want to go back too quickly. It may be a few days or even a week or two?
When the race gets tough, what are some ways you mentally bring yourself back up?
-He said that with the marathon you have more time to get down or have slow times (not for him…only 2 hours;) You practice going into the race what you will do when the times get tough. He never gave up yesterday but had focused so much on preparing for when things got hard. He is a big fan of MANTRAS. “I am going to make that team.” That is what kept him going because he had been thinking about it for 6 months. Positive REINFORCEMENT.
What do you drink/eat during the marathon?
-He does not eat during the marathon and only takes in liquids. The threshold that he is runing at (under 5 minutes per mile) makes his breathing SO hard that he really can’t choke down anything. The body starts running out of glycogen at mile 18-20 so you HAVE to get energy in during the marathon and so for him he uses Gatorade mixtures in his body with the right ratio for him.
No bananas or powerbars for him while running that fast:)
Are you going to go back to the 1/2 marathon to try and break that 1 hour time?
-“FOR SURE, I have had a lot of success with the 1/2 marathon and the 1/2 marathon is a good aerobic distance and you can do foundational work and you can almost jump into one of those at any time.”
Are you staying in Portland?
-Yep, he is heading back there and will be joining his training group as soon as he his body is READY!
Thanks again Dathan and Gatorade….that was the coolest phone call ever:) Yes, I am officially the biggest running nerd ever.
If you are looking for some amazing form drills for endurance running, check out Dathan’s video HERE!
Who are your running heroes?
What running injuries have you overcome?
What distance are you going to be focusing on this year?
-This year I want to get my 10k and half times down. Those will be my main focus.
WOW. That is seriously cool stuff! Thanks for posting your interview!
I think it’s crazy/funny how running does make you eat/fuel differently during the actual race. That is a hard one to get my mind around ;) But it makes sense physiologically.
WHat a stud–can’t believe he runs SO freakin’ fast! I sure hope him success and more wins in the future–he sounds awesome!
You are welcome! It really does change all of the rules of ‘healthy’ ha! Hope you are having a great day Annette!
Thanks for interviewing him, Janae! He is so awesome! I’m glad to know that he has a hard time eating anything when he is running that fast. That’s hard for me, too. I really like him and I was rooting for him to make the team. I like that he is so friendly and down-to-earth.
I’m still trying to overcome stupid plantar fasciitis. Dumb foot. I end up taking that splint off every night in my sleep. I tried cutting back on running but that made it worse. Strangely enough it seems MORE running is helping. I might add totally ignoring it to the list of recovery options next.
I’m focusing on my 5K this year. Ran it in under 30 on Saturday!!!! What are your time goals for the 10K and the Half?
Oh yeah, I agree…it is hard to choke anything down but so necessary! Oh, Sarah I am so sorry about your Plantar. I totally know what you are going through. YAY for the 5K. Hmmmmm not quite sure about the 10k but for the 1/2….sub 1:28!
Great post, Janae! Unrelated, but I heard about this (http://www.outsideinteractive.net/) this weekend and thought you should know about it if you don’t already =)
HOLY COW!! I need that in my life, how cool! Pre-paced DVD’s and course reviews?!?! Thanks so much Sarah!
Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs
What a cool opportunity! Thanks for posting the interview!
I’m training for my first Half this year, so my goal is to train effectively & efficiently, and to not get injured in the process. And to run fast of course :)
Michelle…you’ve got this half and I am stoked for you!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats
that is so cool that you got to interview him! And I just can’t believe how fast he, and other elite runners, can run! It’s insane!
I KNOW…I feel like they really are super humans! I can’t understand going that fast for 30 seconds let alone 26 miles!
Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile
That’s sooo awesome that you got to interview him! You kind of sound like Amanda Bynes lol
But he gave some really great advice, love it!
Ha…that is funny because I get the Amanda Bynes thing a lot:) Glad you liked the advice!
SO AWESOME!!! <3 him and the rest of the Portland runners :) I think since you are BFF"s now that you HAVE to come do the RnR in May :) RIGHT?!??!
AHHHHHH – LOVED this interview! I’m so happy you were able to be a part of it – and thank you SO much for sharing! He had some great information to share :)
ummm cutest voice EVER!
weird ,, I swear I left a comment …. anways .. thanks for doing this! So awesome and I think since you are BFFs now you need to for sure do Portland RnR now!!! :) and ….very cute voice!!
how cool..now I am going back to watch
Mallory @ Have Your Cake
SO cool, Janae!!! you have natural interviewing skills btw..you really know how to keep the energy up!!
natalie @ southern fit foodie
What a cool opportunity! Great interview!
I just told Daniel today that 2012 will be the year I run my first 10k, and possibly my first half. Now I just need to figure out which race to run and sign up!
All the great runners train in Oregon! Yes I am a little biased since I was born and raised here :)
I am currently dealing with a hamstring strain. I am so impressed with the way you handled not running for so long after your stress fracture, I have no idea how you did it! I was going crazy and I only took a week off.
This year I am training for my first marathon, and hopefully my first ultra!
that is so cool! :-)
Not making fun, i promise, but why, oh, why am i so surprised when all you bloggers i follow end up having such northern accents!? This Kentuckian just never expects it! ;-) Great interview!
lol sometimes it takes this Tennessean aback a bit, too. Last November, I met several bloggers in VA, and they all said the same thing about my southern accent. None of them were expecting that. lol
What an awesome opportunity! He is a great role model!
And your voice is perfect! :)
Kristin @ Every Day Is Run Day
That is SO awesome that you got to interview him! I felt really bad watching the trials and seeing him finish 4th, but I’m happy to hear he is moving past it quickly. He is obviously still an amazing runner.
So far I’ve overcome runner’s knee and shin splints. Fingers crossed that I don’t deal with anything else!
This year I’m working to tackle new distances. I did a 50k last weekend and I’m looking to tackle it twice more this spring to get the PR I want. I also have my first 50-miler this June! Eek!
Yo Momma Runs
Holy crap, his family is so cute. Great info in the interview! I have signed up for three marathons from January to April, so I guess that’s my focus right now. Not sure about the second half of the year.
This is great! Love it! I’m so excited for you! Also… that little girl is the cutest little thing on the planet! Look at those cheeks! Daaawww :)
also i need to be banned from exclamation marks hahahah
That’s awesome! I was so bummed for him yesterday but he ran an amazing race!
My running heroes are Kara and Desi! (so unique I know!) I love them both for completely different reasons but am in awe of their athleticism. I’ve also gotten to meet both of them and they were two of the nicest people ever!!!
Fantastic interview, Janae. You did a great job!
This year is the year of the half for me. I really, really, REALLY wanna get that time down. Most days I think I can do it, and then I have runs like today’s that makes me doubt myself again.
Cool interview, but I think it’s actually spelled “Ritzenhein.” Really excited to have Ritz have a shot at the 10k, though! He’s such a stud.
Wow…thanks! I knew that but sometimes my brain doesn’t work ha. Thanks for the help!
Kristen @ notsodomesticated
That is so cool! I especially liked hearing what he said about dealing with injuries. I’m still trying to nurse a heel, and I think I might do some laps in the pool at the Y tomorrow, after reading this! ;) Thanks for sharing, Janae!
Katie @ msfitrunner.wordpress.com
Great interview, great questions!:) I guess I’m focusing on my 1/2 time and marathon time. I’ve had runner’s knee, ITband syndrome, bursitis in my knee, and achilles tendonitis. so fun. I guess I don’t really have any running heroes, I just look up to all of those superfast marathoners – they amaze me!
WOW awesome interview!
Umm… he takes an ice bath EVERY DAY?! That is craziness.
I never have taken one.. it sounds so so cold and awful… but as I’m starting to run more my legs are really feeling it so maybe I should lol anything we newbies should know about ice baths before attempting one?
Totally awesome you got to do that interview!!
I had a small stress fracture once – but nothing big (yet! hopefully never) and I am working on BUILDING my miles so this year it would be huge if I decided to try a 10k or half :) Currently I’m prepping for the 5k Color Run which will be my 3rd 5k and I want to see if I can average 8:30 miles??
Without a doubt, his performance was the gutsiest out there yesterday. I really felt awful that he didn’t make it. What a talent he is. And how gracious, too. I’m so glad you got to talk with him! I will be pulling for him in the 10,000! And I wouldn’t just photoshop the pic, I’d enlarge it to poster size!
Half marathon is my focus this year :)!
Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner
Thank you for doing that interview, that was incredible!!!!!
He is so incredibly fast, I still can’t believe it.
Jen @ Jen's Creative Moments
My running hero is actually a girl I work with that inspired me to start running…she’s done the Kona Ironman and just did the Goofy Chalkenge at Disneworld (a half marathon one day, and a full the next.) She’s a machine!
I’ve had bouts with plantar fasciitis, and currently I have a weird calf strain going on. At least that’s what I think it is, I’ve read symptoms for every cause of calf pain that I can find, and nothing fits but “generic calf strain”.
I’m focusing on a 10k this year. I’ve only been running for 6 months, I’m working my way up slowly.
I’m so glad you got to interview him. He was so interesting and my heart felt for him after that comeback at the very end. I’m really convinced he will make the Olympics!
Awesome interview! It’s so cool to hear you on the phone with him! You asked great questions – I love hearing what he’s got to say about everything.
I wouldn’t say I have a particular running hero. Many people influence me in different ways. Perhaps everyone together makes up a larger, collective hero (including you!). Running injuries suck :( I used to get shin splints to the point I could hardly walk, but *knockonwood* I haven’t had them for a few years. I’d love to say that this year’s focus will be the marathon, but perhaps I’ll just stick to the half.
Brooke @ sweats & sweets
I overcame my left lateral hamstring tendon being torn to a stage 2 and was out for a month and some weeks. I am now dealing with the same exact thing and this time I know how to overcome it and take care of the injury and not abuse it even more. I just can’t stand not running, being injured is a mind over matter game. You think you’ll be ok and you go out and then BAM you set yourself back even further. Its hard to let it go and just heal.
Heather @ run eat play
Great interview! I’ve had hip burstis and detached my rib cartilage, talk about painful! I’m working on my 10k this year.
Great interview! Very fun to listen to.
I’m going to do a half marathon or two this year… just trying to decide which one(s) to do. Maybe a girls’ trip to Seattle for the R&R half. Wanna come? :)
I’ve battled plantar facitis before. Not fun at all. It made me much more cautious, though, which has been good. No injuries since then (knock on wood).
Wow! That is awesome Janae!!! He sounds like a really nice guy who has stayed positive through some rough injury times.
I really have to watch it or my piriformis muscle gets my hip out of whack (yes that is the medical diagnosis ;) and I am laying on the couch for a week with sciatic nerve issues.
Focusing on shorter races (still a newbie) like 5ks and 10ks. I definitely want to do 13.1 sometime soon, but not sure its going to be this year.
Britt @ Runwithbritt
This is amazing! I can’t wait to watch the videos later when I am more awake. I actually went to the trials yesterday and had a great time. It was by far one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I’ll have to email you some pictures. :)
No way! That is soooo sweet! My running hero is Desi! My goal is a marathon! Wahoo! Game day’s in MAY :P
Josie @ happycorredora.com
Good job on the interview! Such an awesome opportunity. Interesting he mentions groups… I think I need one!
I am focussing on my half marathon this year but I imagine my 10k time will go down as well (seeing as I have two run two of them in the half haha).
Injuries… eeugh… prefer not to recall of them… but worst was 1.5 years out for a really bad ITB.
Liz (Little Bitty Bakes)
AH, how awesome that you got to talk to him today right after the race! He’s definitely one of my favorite guy runners… so neat – thanks for sharing :)
Loved listening to the interview…great job!
Focusing on my half this year as well…fun stuff!
Jenn @ RunItMyWay
This is AWESOME! How cool was it getting to talk to him??? I’m equal parts jealous and in awe! :-)
Also- loved the drills video. This is something I’ve wanted to know more about for a while but didn’t really know where to get good info on. I’ve read about drills, but it’s really helpful to see him demonstrating how to do it properly and explaining why you’re doing it. I really enjoyed reading this!!
AAArrrghhhhh! That is so amazing that you interviewed Dathan. Holy Cow, I am impressed with your connections.
I’m focusing on my half right now but plan on doing another full this fall. I may even do a Ragnar in Utah this summer!
HOW AWESOME JANAE!!! :)
I loved this post!! And loved being able to hear your conversation with Dathan! :) BTW, I think your voice is cute… in a non-creepy sort of way ;) Thanks for the interview, i really enjoyed it! :)
Brandi @ Faith Fitness and Laughter
So excited for you!! These are some really great questions that you asked him. I don’t really following the sport of running, but I do like to do it and following your blog over the last few days and the break downs of the runners has made me a tid bit interested in them as people. :) When I saw the picture of him after the race, my heart broke for him, but it sounds like he is super positive about where he will go from here.
Cait the Arty Runnerchick
i’ve been a fan of Dathan (read as: obsessed with) since high school! he’s such an amazing athlete and i know he’s gonna make that 10k team! thanks for sharing the interview, so exciting u got to talk to him! :)
He’s from Portland??!! So cool, that’s where I am! :)
Thank you for posting this!! Awesome!
Loved the interview and am stoked to hear he is going for the 10K. I bawled like a baby when he didn’t make it. Actually I bawled like a baby for the entire trials, I wanted them all to go. haha
Jamie @ http://feelingsfoodandrunning.wordpress.com/
This is incredible! Thanks so much for doing this. I would have been very nervous!
Awesome interview and questions- thanks for sharing! Even though I can probably run a half marathon (just about for that matter) in his marathon time, it was great learning about what works for him and how to implement his tips to make me a better runner :)!
My boyfriend was on the flight back to Portland with Dathan and his wife after the Houston Marathon today! He texted saying he was starstruck :p So cool you got to talk to him, too!
this is awesome Janae! :)
loved the video! thanks for sharing!! I’m going to try & incorporate some of those drills into my regimen.
I’d really like to set a new PR’s in all my distances this year. Esp. the marathon. :) luv ya!!
How exciting that you got to talk to one of your role models!
Kate @ Chasing It
gahhh I love Dathan!! I so wish he’d gotten a spot on the team! BUT its the mark of a true champion that he’s able to dust himself off and get pumped for the track trials. 3rd olympic team here we go!!!! I really admire Dathan for getting through all those injuries. This was my year of injuries haha I’d been out for the past six months….so its really inspiring to read stories like his, as I’m just now getting back on my feet. I wanted to focus on the marathon this year, but I think post-injury I want to patiently wait a year to make my marathon debut, and focus on the 5k, 10k, 15k, and HM in order to build a little speed before moving up to the full 26.2 :-)
Jerilee @ Mom's Gone Running
How awesome!! You did a great job on the interview and your voice sounds great! Loved it.
My running heroes are mostly big name marathoners cause im in awe. Then people i know like my bf and a guy I know who runs for scotland etc. Then bloggers like SR and yourself!
So far ive had 2 months of shin splits/suspected fracture line (2 yrs ago) and in Oct last year tore my knee entirely open. If youre brave read all about it here:http://cadsandscallywags.blogspot.com/2011/10/so-i-did-something-dramatic.html
Had 6-7weeks off from that and only really getting back to it now!
This year I think i’ll be fiocusing on the half marathon, would love to do a full but realistically dont have the time or knee strenght again yet! Would loveeeeee to jump under 2hr mark!
Aww, he seems like such a total sweetheart!
Casey @ OatsAndNanners
Oh I would pee myself if I talked to him on the phone… great interview! (and if you peed yourself, we won’t judge;) ) I can’t believe he runs TOO fast to eat. Looks like I have a new goal!
Janae – this is absolutely awesome. When you posted the other day that you had an upcoming interview w/ Ritz, I kinda thought you were joking at first! :-)
You asked GREAT questions, and Dathan gave a lot of info that is useful for all of us. Nailing the nutrition aspect of the marathon is very difficult.
I think a Hungry Runner Girl podcast might be in the works! Billy can be your executive producer.
I am sure you have been told this but OMG you sound exactly like Amanda Bynes!!!!! Too cute!
Ahh so cool! How amazing you got to interview him! Thank you for sharing this with us!
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail
WOW! GREAT questions for this elite marathoner. You know, I hate that I can’t eat during a marathon either b/c I’m pushing out 6 min miles…wait now! AMAZING! I always wondered how elites fuel.
I like his mental toughness as he has dealt with injuries and finds alternatives to keep his fitness level high (like you had earlier this year!)
Thanks for sharing this information, now I must go back and re-read it. So helpful!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
Great interview! It’s so cool that his inspiration stems from a local runner that ran Boston in the 80s.
I am SO jealous you got to talk to him. I was seriously literally crying for him during the coverage though, getting 4th place is so sad and I was so sad for him and Amy Hastings. What a great interview – way to go!
Awesome interview Janae!! Thanks for sharing.
I totally meant to comment on this the other day….but I spaced it out. Oops! That is so awesome that you had this interview with him. I love his name! Is that random?! Haha! It’s really cool…b/c it’s different & I love different names :)
It’s interesting to read about him & his habits. I cannot believe how FAST he is! That is crazy!!!
What a great interview! I am sure you must be so thrilled!
My fav running heroes are Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe. I am currently recovering from a major Achilles Tendon inflammation :( So off running for sometime. Hoping to focus on 26.2mi this time. Need to better my last time :) Good luck to you!
That is really awesome that you got to talk with Dathan! He just seems so normal to me, even though he is an elite. He is a really awesome runner, I was hoping that he would make the Olympic marathon USA team. I know he’s had a lot of injuries over the past 2 years, so that would have been awesome if he had made it. I guess I feel a kinship with him, because I’ve also been injured off and on over the past year. I hope he has a lot of success in the future too.