Meet Marathon Specialist Brian McGregor

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The NYC marathon is on our minds—whether we’re running it or not. Throughout the week, we’ll be chatting with a few Paragon marathoners and sharing their personal stories and tips for the rest of us.

Today, we begin with marathoner and Paragon Running Specialist Brian McGregor, who has run the NYC Marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon.

Brian started running in 2008 when he heard about Paragon’s Tuesday night runs.: 

“The idea of a challenge really kept me motivated and it’s more than a physical challenge too. The mental aspect is just as demanding,” 

His first NYC Marathon was in 2011, and for his second race in Philly, he trained with a coach for 16 weeks prior. Beyond training, he had nutrition on his mind.

“Proteins and carbs are fuel for the body so I made sure that I consumed them in moderation,” he says.  “Water became my best friend. I drank about three to four gallons a day.”

On race day, he had goals to finish and to remember it wasn’t a race against anyone else. He set visual markers every couple hundred feet to stay motivated in a forward motion, especially as he neared the finish.

“I always kept my eye on what was in front of me. The spectators helped me too. Hearing their words of encouragement and seeing all of the praise excites you to a point where all you want to do is continue. Their push was my focus and I felt like I couldn't let them down,”

One pointer Brian has for the rest of us is to train in the same shoes as race-day shoes, or at least the same model you trained in.

Once race day comes he says,

“Repetition is your best friend at this point. One small change could mean the race for you. I made sure all of my actions were identical. From the way I tied my shoelaces to the notch on my hat that determined how loose or tight I wore it. I think it was almost superstitious in a way.

The feeling at the finish line is worth it all.

“Take it all in and enjoy every moment,” he says. “It’s a huge milestone for a person to run 26 miles. In the words of Haruki Murakami, 'Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional'.

Stay tuned for more marathoner interviews to come!

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