Podcast: Episode 14 with Dylan Bowman

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Justin Sund/Red Bull Content Pool

For a lot of these races, at least for me, the key limiting factor to success is oftentimes how excited I am to bury myself. And I’ve just found that when I emphasize the rest, and lean on my experience, that I can get as fit as I’m gonna get in six, eight weeks of training and there’s really no need for me to continue to bang my head against the wall for 12 or 16 weeks, even for the most important races. And I think that’s something a lot of people have to learn for themselves and I’m really happy that I have, because yeah, it is very easy to jump at all these cool opportunities that we have in the sport now.

Pumped to welcome professional ultrarunner Dylan Bowman to the podcast. I caught up with the “perpetuator of stoke” just a few days after his most recent victory at the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji. The 32-year-old Bowman, who passed leader Pau Capell of Spain with a little over 3 miles to go in the 105-mile race, takes us through his win and explains why it was the best race he’s ever run.

Bowman, who also won the Tarawera 100K in New Zealand earlier this year, talks about his season so far, what he’s still got left on his 2018 schedule, and how he’s been able to compete at a high level—and continue improving—for the past nine years.

“As somebody who is a veteran of the sport, it is incredibly important to emphasize longevity, at least for me,” Bowman explained. “I’m the type of athlete who would love to be in the sport, competing, until I’m 40 or potentially beyond. I started in ultrarunning when I was 23 years old, and luckily I wasn’t a runner prior to that, so I still feel like I have a lot of tread left on my tires because I didn’t run a ton as a kid or into my teenage and college years. But again, I always have really enjoyed resting, and I think it’s just so important.”

In this episode we also discuss how he approaches a close contest at the end of an ultra-distance race, his recent FKT (Fastest Known Time) for Northern California’s 55-mile Lost Coast Trail, the consistency of his training volume—and the importance of rest and recovery after big races—the past few years, and how his relationship with coach Jason Koop has evolved since they began working together in 2013. We also talk about why he’d like to eventually get back to the Western States Endurance Run (where he finished third in 2014 but DNF’d in 2015), how the sport of ultrarunning has grown and evolved in recent years, the impact living and training in Marin County, California has had on his career, why he doesn’t think doping is rampant in ultrarunning, and a whole lot more.

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— Follow Dylan on Twitter, Instagram, and Strava.

— Visit his website.

— Check out Dylan’s results on UltraSignup.

— Bonafide Huster: Check out this profile I did on Bowman in 2016 for Competitor Running. “I have a desire to win big races,” he told me at the time. “I appreciate greatness and I appreciate hard work. It’s something about devoting a piece of every day to something that’s far off that’s really inspiring to me. I know there are areas where I can improve, which gives me a lot of confidence that it’s not the peak for me.”

Racing The Tide: Watch Bowman run a rugged 55-mile stretch of California shoreline with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain while dodging the tidal surge of the Pacific Ocean on his way to breaking the FKT on the Lost Coast Trail.

Bowman’s Ultrarunning Secrets: Want to push your body to the limits? Take these 15 tips to heart. “When I’m really going to the well in training and I want to slow down or adjust the session, I remind myself that it’s like putting a deposit in the bank: suffer now, race better later,” he told Brad Stulberg for Outside. “And you tend to get a nice return on that investment.”  

— “This is a rewarding way to give back to the sport of running that has given me so much,” Bowman said of volunteering his time to help start a running club at San Quentin State Prison. “I’ve developed a good relationship with the guys, and I like to see everybody improve and get faster.” More here.

— Bowman’s Favorite Workout: Lactate Threshold Repeats. “During a lactate threshold block, that’s all we work on,” Bowman explained to me back in 2015. “We do not vary the intensity or try to develop other systems. Because of this, I’ll usually do a workout very similar to this three days per week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.”

This episode of the morning shakeout podcast was edited by John Isaac at BaresRecords.com.

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