Meet the runner: Michael Duchek

All-American 2014In spite of running sprint distances in high school (nothing over 400 meters) and a handful of road races here and there post-school, St. Louis native Michael Duchek never really felt like a runner until 2011 when he trained for and ran his first half marathon. Since accomplishing that bucket list item, Duchek has continued to train and compete, joining the Big River Training Team in 2012. Having found a training group, he claims to have seen a dramatic increase in his performance. An engineer for a living, Duchek feels that running is a way to make up for sitting at his desk all day. In his own words:

What is your greatest running accomplishment: Really my greatest achievement has just been my improved performance. In 2013, I set 11 personal records in seven different distances last year, and completed my first three sprint triathlons.  What a year! I hope to continue that through 2015.

Do you have any good luck charms or pre-race rituals: I have a race day routine that is very straight forward:  Get up early – eat a light breakfast – get to race – do easy warm up run – do dynamic stretching – lightly stretch in corral – race – repeat!

Favorite distance to race: Half marathon, no doubt.  A challenging distance that can still end with a sprint to the finish.  However, my latest passion is triathlon.  I joined the Saint Louis Triathlon Club (thanks to Big River for being one of the club’s major sponsors!) and gained interest and inspiration from my fellow triathletes. Swimming & biking are fun and also excellent cross-training activities for running.

Gear by Michael:

Training Shoe: Nike Pegasus, at one point I had six pairs of the Pegasus 29.

Racing Shoe: For 10K or less, I have Saucony Virattas and Saucony A5’s.  I stick with the Pegasus for half and full marathons.

Favorite Apparel: Anything Big River, of course!

Can’t run without: A hat – I have an arsenal of featherweight hats that provide function, and don’t look too bad either.  Then there are the must-have 2XU Compression Socks – they are very functional, but I don’t think high socks are a good look.  (Then again, I am an engineer – function over fashion.)

Favorite Nutrition: Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Energy Bars are my favorite pre-workout nutrition, and Honey Stinger “Ginsting” gels take care of me on the course.  Post-race nutrition consists of a blend of fresh blueberries, almond milk, chia seed & whey protein powder.