Q&A with Mike Blackmore

.Mike Blackmore, 56, UO graduate, Licensed Massage Therapist in Eugene, head cross country/distance track coach at Linfield College in McMinville, stud racer. Now single (has a girlfriend), no kids, one cat, 7 sub-fours (miles, not marathons), his best being 3:57.46. His 13:37 5000 ain’t too shabby either. As a master, he has won five USATF National Championships on track and trails. In December, 2017, he was third in his age group at the National XC Championships. He has never raced a marathon. And doesn’t apologize for it. We said, on your behalf, we’re OK with that, and respect him notwithstanding.

1. When/how did you get interested in running? After such early success, you gave it up. Why/when did you return to competition?

I started running when I was 12 because my best friend was running. We didn’t really train much until high school. I stopped in December of 1992 because I was tired of fighting plantar fasciitis. After 16 years off of racing and training, I jumped back in because I thought it might be fun. Never thought I would get to the level of masters running I have.

2. Your work/commute schedule is crazy. How often do you run? Training schedule and key workouts? Other strength/cross training?

I try to run as many days a week as I can because I know things are going to get in the way. I try to get in one hard effort every 5-7 days if I can. This fall, I ran a bunch of 1000m workouts to keep things simple. I can usually stay pretty healthy if I don’t get on the track and start running short, fast repeats. I also have an Elliptigo that I’ll use if the weather allows, and hit the pool for deep water running if something doesn’t feel right.

3. A Eugene resident for 37 years, you know all the best runners, boys and girls. Who is especially fun or great and why? Examples, please.

I think the simple answer to that is the incredible job Jeff Hess has done at South Eugene over the years. His kids always race well when it matters, and many of them have gone on to have successful college careers. Paige Kouba representing Harvard in the Olympic Trials steeplechase was great to see. I was also lucky enough to coach Russell Drummond at Churchill to a state title in the 800, and he had a nice career at Colorado School of Mines with a pile of All-American awards.

4. Advice to your younger self at 20 years?

Run your own workout, not somebody elses.

5. Books on your night table?

Coaching Better Every Season by Wade Gilbert. , Brenda Davis’ Becoming Vegan (which won’t happen). Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness.

6. What three running/sports/nutrition books would you like your athletes to read?

I gave my entire Linfield team Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook, Run Fast, Eat Slow this year. Athletes need to learn how to cook and take care of themselves if they expect to stay healthy. Chris Lear’s Running with the Buffaloes is a good read about dealing with adversity to achieve a goal. I think every kid wants to read Pre by Tom Jordan.

7. What did you have for breakfast? Usual breakfast time?

I actually have a hard time eating breakfast unless I’m racing in the morning. Unless you count a pot of coffee. I usually have a snack mid morning if I remember to take one with me, like a banana or a Market of Choice cinnamon roll.

8. What special moment or insight caused your devotion to running?

I played basketball from 4th-9th grade. After I broke my high school 2 mile record my freshman year, I decided it was time to start training during the winter. I still played hoops with my friends, and could dunk a volleyball when I was senior, but my playing days were over.

9. What does your morning and daily routine look like?

Organized chaos.

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