Recently, I had a chance to interview one of the Team New Balance runners—James Carney. James grew up just south of Pittsburgh, PA, but he now lives and trains in Boulder, CO. James is a 2008 US 20K Champion and a 2008 US Half Marathon Champion. His 5K PR is 13:37; his 10K PR is 27:43 and his Half PR is 1:02:21. Read on to learn a little more about James.
RD: How long have you been running?
James: I have been running now for about 17 years.
RD: What got you into running?
James: I grew up as a wrestler. I used running to condition for wrestling and I turned out to be a better runner than wrestler.
RD: What do you enjoy most about running?
James: I enjoy the solitude of it and pushing myself to the absolute limit.
RD: Your occupation is listed as “Athlete.” What's a typical day like for you as a professional athlete?
James: I train twice a day everyday except Sundays. I usually wake up and grab a quick bite of 200-300 calories and hydrate myself and then take an hour and go for about a 9 mile run followed by drills and strides. After that session, I usually head to the gym for strength training for approximately 45 min then get something for lunch followed by a nap. I get up and have about 2 hours of free time to catch up on errands and emails before knocking out another 9-mile run. If I have a track workout or long run things change a little.
RD: I see your event distances are the 5000m, 10000m and the Half Marathon. Which is your favorite? Why? Is there a distance you’d like to compete in, but haven’t yet?
James: I like the half-marathon distance because its about the maximum distance you can muscle without fuel becoming a problem. Maybe someday I'll jump in a steeple chase.
RD: Of the many running icons past and present, who do you consider role models and/or inspiration for your own running?
James: I have a lot of inspirations including Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Peter Elliot, Dick Beardsley, Bronislow Malinowski, and Rob Decastella. Today I draw motivation from guys like Ryan Hall, Chris Solinsky, and Matt Tegankamp.
RD: How important is food to your training? What are your favorite training foods?
James: I eat whatever I want and have no regimented diet. I do like Digiornos Pizza as my night-before-the-race meal. As a pre-race meal, I like Cliff bars, Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes. For a post-race meal, I like fish-n-chips and a Bass.
RD: Are you a lone runner or do you run with some buddies? What do you like about each?
James: I am by myself for most of my runs. Lately, I have been jumping in a lot of workouts with Brent Vaughn.
RD: What’s your biggest running accomplishment?
James: Winning a couple National Title on the roads was big for my career and taught me how to win races.
RD: Do you have a favorite running shoe? Why?
James: Most of my training I do is in the New Balance 905. Its a great neutral lightweight trainer.
RD: If you were speaking to a group of non-runners or runner wannabes and trying to encourage them to run, what would you say?
James: First and foremost, enjoy the ride. Be patient, consistent, and run with controlled aggression. Running is a microcosm of life. What you put in is what you get out. If you work and work at running, you with reap the harvest and get a lot out of your efforts.
Check out this video clip of James stretching before a 20-miler. I kind of like his approach. LOL!