The Pro’s Kit: Michael Wardian
In our new series, we go behind the scenes with some of the world’s best. Each interview covers the nuts and bolts of how they do what they do — favorite gizmos, gadgets, gear; what they read, watch and listen to; and the hacks and habits behind their mental and physical health.
Last week we looked at what’s in the kit for king of gravel, @iamtedking. Today we talk to marathoner and ultrarunner Michael Wardian (@michaelwardian). He’s is plant-based father of two and ship broker from Arlington, Virginia, and has amassed too many records (and miles!) to count across almost every distance and type of race.
Wardian’s results capture a love for all types of running and challenge. The variety? Fastest 50k on a treadmill. A world record for the fastest time for seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. The winner and last of 2,400 participants standing in this year’s virtual race, the Quarantine Backyard Ultra. No surprise Outside recognized him as one of 2020’s Outsiders of the Year.
Biographies, Science Fiction, History, Finance, Chess, AARP new letters
Favorite books: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand; Open by Andre Agassi; Shoe Dog by Phil Knight; Tales from the Breakdown by Lane-James Shapiro; thrillers from Daniel Silva; Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
Favorite podcasts: Fantasy Footballers, Marketplace, Ear Hustle, The Indicator, Ted Talks, Disgraceland, Ultrarunner Podcast, TalkUltra, How I Built This, Plant Money, The Future of Everything, Rich Roll Podcast, Masters of Scale
Playlists: Lumineers, Milky Chance, Avett Brothers, Macklemore
New Band I just started loving: Old Crow Medicine Show
TV: Lost (watching with son), Queen’s Gambit, Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror
YouTube: chess videos and running videos
Movies: Lost in Translation, Conan, comedies
Resources: Go-to apps, gizmos and gadgets that help you do what you do?
Chess.com, Strava, Instagram, Facebook, Libby, Mint, Vanguard, Clash Royale
Nutrition and Hydration: Before, during and after a big event?
Before a big event, I try to eat 3 hours before hand and that will be something simple like “Stoked Oats” and “Big Spoon Roasters” almond butter.
During an event, I like GUs for races up to 50 miles. For races over 50 miles, I like to use GUs with liquid calories and “real” foods.
After an event I like to refuel with burritos from District Taco and pizza.
Nutrition: Anything unique about your philosophy?
I am a vegetarian and have been for over 25 years, so eat plant based and have found that to work really well for me. The biggest thing you would find in my pantry is Big Spoon Roasters nut butters; I love them and eat tons of nut butter on a daily basis. In our refrigerator, you will find lots of veggies, fruit, and oranges and grapefruit.
Mind: Anything you do for your mental health?
I run to help my mindfulness and find listening to music, podcasts and books to really help.
Sleep and rituals
My biggest ritual is to lay out my kit before a race. I don’t sleep a lot and I do nap if I can.
Strength and Mobility: How much, how often and what type?
I do a lot of strength and mobility work. I was doing strength six days a week on top of running and mobility. I love strength and find it really helpful for running.
I do all kinds of stuff: push-ups, pull ups, dead bugs, plank, squats, bird dogs, single leg hops, jump rope, dynamic stretching
Recovery: Are there health metrics you watch?
I like to watch my weight and I take that measurement on a daily basis to see where I am and also my scale, Withings, shows my muscle, BMI, etc.
Favorite items and running shoes in your Kit?
I love my Nathan bags as I use them for running but also just about everything, they are my “manpurse.”
I am a HOKA ONE ONE athlete so really enjoy their shoes like the Rincon, Clifton, EVO Mafate, and of course the Bondi.
I use Injinji socks, Compressport compression, Polar watches, T8 underwear, Zansor masks, and GU.
Anything unique about your kit?
I write the date I take my HOKAs out of box so I know how old they are.
Are you partnered with any brands or causes?
- HOKA ONE ONE
- Big Spoon Roasters
- Squirrels Nut Butter
- Med Star
- Inside Tracker
- Red Dog Coffee Roasters
- Spartan Trail
- Ultra X
- Athletic Brewing
- Stoked Oats
- District Taco
- Uncommon Breed
Questions for Mike? Ask in the comments.
Follow Mike on Prokit @MichaelWardian, or on Instagram.