Heading to Boston: Tad Kardis

Continuing with the Boston Marathon bound ambassador interviews, Tad is up next!

Tell the readers a bit about yourself. How and why did you start running?

I didn’t start really running until about age 39. Years ago, I thought of myself as a soccer player, and running was just a necessary evil to get in shape to play soccer. I ran in my 20s and 30s to stay in shape, sort of. Approaching 40, I resolved to get rid of 40 pounds that had mysteriously accumulated on my torso, so I started running again. A friend asked me to join him in a race – a 4 mile fun run and my first competitive event since high school. I was hooked.

You’re running the 2015 Boston Marathon. This is quite the feat and requires qualification. What would you say are your top 3 pieces of advice for someone looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon?

1. Talk to others who have qualified. I’m not passing the buck on tips, I’m talking about extra motivation here. It’s such a special experience to run Boston that whenever someone asks me about it I can hardly stop talking. Here’s what someone told me before my first Boston: “It’s the closest thing you’ll ever feel to being a professional athlete.”

2. Set realistic goals. Use pace predictors to see where you stand based on how you’ve done at shorter distances. Work with a coach or plug those numbers into a training schedule. Realize that not all BQs will get you to the starting line at Hopkinton. Don’t set your goal at BQ-0:01. If you’re not hitting your target pace during a 16 or 18 week training schedule, you’re probably not going to hit it on race day. The first time I tried to BQ I was a total novice. I was in a marathon training schedule, but I was about halfway through before I said, “hey, maybe I should try to BQ!” I missed it by about 3 minutes, which wouldn’t have been a disappointment if I had been realistic about it!

3. Run with a pace group. More importantly, run with the right pace group! See #2. If you’re trained to a 3:15 pace, you’re probably not going to be able to keep up with a 3:05 pace group. That said, running with the right pace group for you can be an immense help. Instead of stressing out by looking at your GPS watch every 30 seconds, you can relax and just get into the flow. That said, if your pace group is too crowded or chatty, ditch ‘em!


What are your favorite types of workouts?

Anything with hills, aka speedwork in disguise. I’m an above-average uphill runner – or maybe I just want to convince myself it’s a strength! For double the fun, try tossing in some bursts of speed uphill.

Progression runs. Being an older masters runner, it takes me a couple of miles to really get warmed up. I love gradually ratcheting up the speed. When everything is clicking, it feels like I’m flying.

What is your proudest athletic moment, thus far?

A 3:09 at the Chicago Marathon last fall. A sub 3:10 had been my goal in 9 previous marathons. I finally got it with my first negative split. I was physically and mentally prepared for the race. If you don’t feel like you’re about to barf, you’re not trying hard enough. That’s probably a bit extreme, but I try to find that uncomfortable zone where I’m balanced between too much and too little effort.

Any pre-race rituals you like to go through?

Now I’m just babbling. I use the Western Australian carb loading method, so the 24 hours prior are a little weird. I ate 3 bags of candy corn before Chicago. Seriously. Also, no fiber! Because, well, you know. I top off in the morning with some more simple carbs, and usually some eggs.

How do you feel running influencing your non-running life?

I can’t imagine what balancing personal and professional life would be like without running. Running gives me strength, stamina, and sanity.

Which SKORA model is your favorite?

The FIT. It’s my Goldilocks shoe. Just right. There’s enough cushioning that it holds up as a trainer, and it’s light enough that I prefer to race in it too. I’ve run marathons in (the dearly departed) BASE and PHASE, but all four last year were in FIT, including my PR at Chicago. I’m also really excited about the new TEMPO. I’ve done several long runs in it this year, and I’m still trying to decide whether to run this year’s Boston in TEMPO or FIT. Wait, was I supposed to say which one was my favorite?

Check out Tad’s website here.

And Jeremy’s pre-Boston interview!

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