I met today’s guest briefly during a race a while back and we connected on social media after the event.
After seeing a few of his posts, I knew I had to invite him on the show for a chat.
I am looking forward to seeing where today’s conversation takes us as I go on an easy run with Jason Martin.
While growing up, Jason Martin was always involved in sports, especially baseball.
Once he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Marines where he spent the next 12 years.
During his time in the Marines, Jason ran frequently and had to stay in shape as a requirement of the job.
Jason was in his early 30’s when his time in the Marines ended.
Once staying fit was no longer a job requirement, he found himself smoking, drinking, and noticeably less active.
Those lifestyle choices led to Jason being the heaviest he had been up to that point in his life.
Jason knew he had to make some changes and that was the motivation he needed to start walking regularly.
It didn’t take long for the walking to eventually progress to running.
From Couch To 50k
It was around 2018 when Jason began to question if he was capable of running beyond a 5k.
Jason lives in an area of Georgia where trail races are everywhere.
He was intrigued by the ultra distance and literally went from couch to 50k.
The 50k went so well that it gave Jason the confidence to try a longer distance.
It was a few short months later that he climbed the distance ladder again, completing a 40-mile race.
During these first few ultras, Jason learned that his mental strength had to be even stronger than his body.
Jason prefers race distances where there is a higher chance of failure.
It is during races when Jason is really hurting and wants to quit where he feels he is really experiencing life.
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Baby Dragon 100
In the summer of 2021, Jason completed the Baby Dragon 100, his first race at that distance.
It was also the race where Jason first met Denny.
Jason devoted about 6 months to train specifically for the race.
In his preparation, he ran 3 separate races in the months leading up to his first 100.
Jason was ready on race day and ultimately accomplished what he set out to do.
He battled with some issues that slowed him down, but he problem solved to the best of his ability to navigate those obstacles.
Over the course of 100 miles, Jason learned that he needed to be comfortable relying on himself.
Goals Won’t Reach Themselves
Following the Baby Dragon 100, Jason was back to running after about 4 days and resumed normal training after only a week or two.
He had another big race a few short months later that he had to stay focused on.
Jason prefers to have goals and races as a way to keep him motivated.
The next race he did was the Fierce Dragon 100, the winter version of the Baby Dragon.
Though the race takes place on the same trails, the terrain is drastically different in the winter months.
Jason headed into the race with a goal of finishing under 30 hours on a course known for its elevation.
At the halfway point of the race, Jason began to struggle with staying awake, keeping nutrition down, and the cold temperatures.
No amount of troubleshooting helped him, and he made the difficult decision to DNF at mile 77 even being in first place at the time.
Respect Your Body
A few days following his DNF, Jason tested positive for Covid.
He doesn’t know if it affected his race-day performance, but he won’t rule it out either.
As Jason has gotten older, he has become more aware of listening to what his body is telling him.
Looking back on the Fierce Dragon, Jason could have finished the race, but at what cost?
Running has taught him that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.
It was the first time that his body told him no when he was running and was humbled by the DNF.
Overall 2021 was a very successful year for Jason and he also became a smarter runner.
He wants to run for a long time and sees no reason to push his body until it breaks.
An Experiment Of One
Jason is self-coached and over the years has found what works for him.
Leading up to a race, he will create training blocks with goals that include running volume and elevation gain.
A typical week is usually 70 miles and 15k feet of elevation gain over the course of 6 days.
Jason prioritizes sleep, eating a healthy diet, and injury prevention (foam rolling/stretching).
He is quick to point out that he has worked up to this level of training over the course of a few years.
Jason has still experienced his fair share of injuries, but by listening to his body he has been able to ward off anything serious.
Jason has some big races on his calendar for 2022.
Those races include a last man standing event, The Georgia Death Race, and Cruel Jewel with the possibility of adding more.
Jason is fortunate to have a plethora of trails right outside his front door.
He typically remains close to home during training runs to maximize the amount of time he can devote to running.
Time is his most valuable asset and he prioritizes how he spends it.
Jason lives his life focused on the future rather than letting his past hold him back.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Stay connected with Jason Martin by following him on Facebook.
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