In Episode 90 of the Final Surge Podcast we talk to professional runner and Brooks Beast team member, Garrett Heath. We discuss Garrett’s time at Stanford, his transition to becoming a pro, his cross country win over Mo Farah, how he’s been pulled around the track in a Vespa, and his future plans in the sport.
Welcome to Episode 90 of the Final Surge Podcast where today we welcome professional runner Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beast Team. Garrett was a 9-time All-American at Stanford before turning professional. Garrett won the 2014 and 2015 Edinburgh Cross Country short course races before beating Mo Farah in the world championships in 2016. We catch up with Garrett about what his plans are for the future and talk to him about a time he almost took out a rabbit in a race.
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How did you get your start in running?
- Running across the gym in kindergarten and lead to stitches in forehead
- Was always outdoor and active growing up
- Middle school my father pushed me away from football so tried cross country running
You ran for a great program in high school. Did that help keep you interested?
- Was exposed to high school team while in middle school
There are many successful runners who came out of Minnesota and many of them seemed to spend a lot of time cross country skiing in the winter, did you do much skiing?
- Did almost all skiing in winter
- Does keep up fitness, but grow upper body mass and lose a little in the legs
You had a great career at Stanford and I’ve heard in your college career your coach had some interesting ways to work on overspeed work?
- Used a Vespa and attacked long bungee cord on the back and around our waist and would pull you around the track
- Seems crazy now, but made us run fast from 100-400 meters
When did you know that you wanted to try your hand at professional running?
- Didn’t even realize it was a thing until I was in college
- Junior year started thinking how it could happen
- Junior year went and did a few races in Europe which exposed me to it
What was it like running in Europe, how was it different?
- Meets are like 10-hours in college while over there it is more of a spectator event and entertainment so meets are just a few hours
- Really physical
Sounds like there is a model of how to make track and field a success with the public, why don’t you think we do this in the US?
- Trying, some races do, some mile races
- College meets too long
- Track Town did a great job with this too
First time you broke 4 minutes in the mile?
- At U of Washington. My brother was running at the Junior Cross Country Championships at the same time in Boulder. I was super excited and at the same time my brother was running and won the US Junior race.
You are now running with Danny Mackey and Brooks Beast Team, how did that connection happen?
- Was running with friends, but they started joining other teams so ended up doing a lot of solo time
- Liked the resources they had available, much like a college team
Early in your career, you focused more on the 1500, then you started with some 5ks but this year you ran a good 10k at the Payton Jordan. Where do you see yourself focusing going forward?
- Getting more used to the longer grinding workouts/runs
- Still, enjoy the 1500, but I am turning into more of a 5/10k guy
- Still unfinished busienss in the 5k and just starting with the 10k
You have had a lot of success running longer distances in cross country, how different is it racing those bad weather cross contry races vs a controlled track race?
- XC you need to change your efforts a lot more like a fartlek
- XC races go by a lot quicker, different things to think about
- Track try to turn off brain
If money and everything were the same would you make a living on the track, roads or XC course?
- Cross Country
- Love the team aspect even on national teams
You have mentioned a few times about the mental aspect of of racing, how much time do you spend working on your mental game?
- The mental game is huge
- Need to work on it in practice
- Being confident in training goes along with it
Not sure how much you pay attention to Let’s Run, but One of the posts from January this year asked who is most jacked Chris Solinsky vs. Garrett Heath vs. Ben True. So how much do you lift and work on strength?
- We did not lift in college hardly at all
- Most of that came from cross country skiing and trying to get rid of some of that upper body weight
- With Brooks and I spend 45 mins 2x a week, but more minimalist lifting than others on the team
One thing a lot of casual observers of our sport may not realize is when you run for a team, it is not like running for a professional football or baseball team with a huge salary. What is that relationship like with your sponsors?
- Spend a lot of time in Brooks office
- Coming out of college was blind to how it worked
- Talked to a lot of agents in the day right after finished NCAA
- The problem was it was in 2009 downturn was not any money
- Really tough sport because the market is limited
- Also, run for Roka Sunglasses
The Final Surge… 5 questions in under 1 minute
- Favorite endurance/running book? – Running with the Buffaloes
- Current trainers you are wearing? – Brooks Glycerin
- Favorite race? – Edinburgh Cross Country
- Favorite meal or recovery drink? – Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- Your favorite workout – Long Tempos