Categories: Motivation

A day in the life of a world-class athlete | Noah Droddy

September 5, 2017

At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, there was one man who rocked the men’s 10,000-meter final at Hayward Field. And it wasn’t winner Galen Rupp – it was Noah Droddy, the longhaired, mustachioed, backwards hat wearing runner from Indiana who became an instant internet sensation. Droddy may have finished in last place that night, but he won the hearts of track fans everywhere. The 26-year-old Polar athlete, who ran in college for Division III DePauw University in Indiana and ran a blazing 61:48 at the New York City Half Marathon earlier this year, is currently training for the Chicago Marathon, and despite swearing by a so-called “monotonous routine,” his training requirements vary a bit day to day. He does long runs on Sundays, five- to 10-mile tempos on Fridays, and interval workouts on Tuesdays. Here’s how a recent interval day shook out for Droddy.

I have a pretty cool job. I make my living traveling to races across the country and competing against the best distance racers the United States – and sometimes the world – has to offer. Those races make for some exciting days, compelling stories, and lasting memories. But to make those days possible, most of my time is spent in a fairly monotonous routine of trying to become a better distance runner. Sometimes it can be difficult to fit everything I’d like into a day, but hey, we do the best we can.

6 AM:

My Tuesdays usually start around 6:00 in the morning. In an hour or so I’ll meet my Roots Running Project teammates at the local track to run some fast laps. I like to give my body some time to wake up before I start my workout. I wake up and start slow – coffee is a must, plus a piece of toast with peanut butter. I take our greyhound, Sarah, for a quick trip outside, then grab my Polar M430 off the charger and am out the door by 7:00.

7 AM:

Practice time is from 7 to 10 AM. A warm-up jog with my teammates. Drills. Drills. A few more drills. Once the legs are loose and the mind is awake, we jog to the track and swing into lung-searing, gut-busting intervals. These are run at a fast pace over distances varying from a quarter (“one lappers”) to full miles. Even on a good day, Tuesday morning is a grind. The last repetition rolls around. One more lap. Hands on knees, sucking in the thin air. (Boulder is around 5,500 feet above sea level) After a short cool-down jog, I’ll do some exercises to strengthen my body in hopes of becoming a stronger, healthier athlete. On this day, I have a date with a 10-pound medicine ball. After tossing it around for 15 minutes or so, I’m back in the car en route to see my coach, Richard Hansen, who happens to be a sports chiropractor.

10 AM:

All I really do here is lay on a table while Richey pulls, twists, pops, and stretches my body out. It isn’t usually a pleasurable experience, but I always walk out feeling a little more limber. When you run tens of thousands of strides every day, it’s important to keep the body (and soul) in balance.

11 AM:

Breakfast time. This is usually my largest meal of the day. I push myself hard in the morning, so this is my time to replenish. I typically eat a large portion of sautéed vegetables and a few eggs. (Read more about Droddy’s eating and nutrition habits here.)

12 PM:

I’m drained. Not even a strong cup of coffee could revive me. So it’s naptime. I really believe the best thing you can do for your running (besides running) is sleeping. On my hard workout days, I try to close my eyes for at least an hour in the middle of the day. I have another run to do later, so recovering in between is key.

2 PM:

While I’m fortunate enough that I can support myself financially through my running (thanks to sponsors Polar and Saucony!), I still hold down a day job at my local running store, Fleet Feet Boulder. I work on the floor helping the citizen runners of Boulder find what they need for around 20 hours a week. It keeps me involved in my local running community, and gives me something to focus on outside of my own running. My boss, Lee Troop, a three-time Olympic marathoner for Australia, knows the lifestyle of a runner and has been great about accommodating my busy schedule.

7 PM:

I lock the store and walk the two blocks home. I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon, and a big focus is increasing my daily mileage so I can handle the new race distance. So tonight after work I sneak out for a second run of five miles. I move at a slow pace around the community gardens. The evening is quiet, the sun sets behind the mountains, people walk their dogs. I’m tired, but the day is almost done. I finish with a sense of relief and accomplishment. Another day of my calendar filled out.

8 PM:

This is decompression time. I make dinner, chat with my roommates, play guitar, read, or embark on the occasional Netflix binge. I make sure and take the time to appreciate what I accomplished today, while recognizing the need to prepare myself to do it all over again tomorrow. I try to take some time every day to be a normal human. The constant grind of distance training is hard to sustain – taking some moments to be normal helps make that sustainable. I go for another quick walk for Sarah, and then I’m off to sleep around 10 PM.

In the spotlight

 Noah Droddy

Noah Droddy

Noah Droddy is a professional distance runner and Polar athlete. Follow him on Instagram @noah_droddy and Twitter @iBuiltTheArk.