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Toughness, Desire And A Plan: Interview With Todd Rushworth

The LA-based trainer is helping Apolo Anton Ohno prepare for his first marathon.

Rushworth, left, and Apolo Anton Ohno, right, after the San Francisco Marathon 5K in July.

The LA-based trainer is helping Apolo Anton Ohno prepare for his first marathon.

Interview by: Cielestia Calbay

Ask Todd Rushworth what it takes to be a good endurance athlete and he’ll say you need three things: a mental and physical toughness, the undeniable desire to be successful and a plan.

The LA-based strength and conditioning coach has worked with individuals of all levels, from Olympic athletes to professional boxers to celebrities to those just looking to achieve their fitness goals.

Rushworth, who has more than 20 years of training experience, is currently training eight-time Olympic medalist speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno for his first marathon in November.

Here’s what he had to say about his experience as a trainer:

Q: When working with athletes from different backgrounds, what criteria do you use to assess them before starting a program?

A: Their training and performance history dictates everything to begin with. You need to understand where they have come from to understand where they are going. Then there is an entire evaluation process that will vary pending on what they do and what their goals are.

Q: What are your favorite ways to fuel up and recover from training sessions?

A: I love brown rice pasta and a lean piece of protein for lunch and dinner the day before a big run. The morning of the run I love a fast-burning fuel, such as oatmeal with a banana, honey and cinnamon, and coconut oil and water – this is ideally one to 1.5 hours before the run. During the run, I like GU gels and a stick or two of honey.

For a quick recovery, I like to have coconut water, oatmeal with banana and honey, and a protein powder shake to refuel as soon as possible. I’ll also do some light stretching and am a fan of hot mineral baths.

Q: What advice do you have for people who want to get involved in training and coaching others?

A: Get experience and find a mentor. Once you surround yourself with like-minded and focused people, everything else will fall into place. I’m a huge advocate of manifestation, so if you see it, you will achieve it. Seek the best knowledge out there and keep looking when you have found it. Not one person or training system has all the answers.

Q: If you weren’t a trainer, what would you want to be?

A: Confucius said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If I’m not performing as an athlete or having the ability to help other people strengthen and condition their bodies, then that would only leave the other passions in life: the ability to be a full-time dad to my awesome sons Landon and Grayson and/or travelling and eating in every possible culture, just like Anthony Bourdain!

Todd Rushworth’s 5 Tips For First-Time Marathoners

1. Seek medical advice from a reputable doctor to be sure that you have no issues which may be a hazard to your health and well being.

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2. Shoes are the most important tool of the sport. Once you find shoes that work for you, stick to it. These days it’s nearly worth buying several pairs of the same shoe at the same time, as when it becomes time to replace your shoes you have grown to love, they’ve been replaced by a similar improved model and it may not feel the same to you.  If you let your shoes run down too much, you’ll be wondering why injuries have started to occur.

3. Find a plan and training program that will best fit your fitness and athletic background, and stick to it as best as possible. Go crush it!

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4. Don’t miss your long runs because these are the runs most important NOT to miss. Most marathoners are everyday people with families and work commitments so it’s easy to have your plan side-tracked with other things. Eventually you’ll understand where you can deviate and where you cannot.

5. Stay balanced. What most experts forget to warn people is that training can be addictive. The stronger you get and easier it becomes, the more you lose track of other things in life. Don’t forget about the other aspects like your family, friends or work – I’m always teaching the practice of balance with all my clients and athletes.