10 Q’s With a Pro: Justin Daerr

Today we check in with the United States' Justin Daerr.

Photo: Jeff Thoren

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With zero racing action for the foreseeable future and our “Last Weekend Now” column on hiatus indefinitely, we’ll be checking in with a pro every week to see how they’re coping—and hopefully learn a couple of fun facts. This week, the United States’ Justin Daerr checks in from his home in Boulder, Colorado. Here’s what the Ironman champ had to say about life through the pandemic.

My first race of 2020 would have been…
I’m not exactly sure. I had planned to race both Ironman Tulsa and Ironman Frankfurt back to back in May/June, but I may have done a 70.3 somewhere beforehand to get back into the rhythm of racing. I had been pretty busy with non-training related stuff in February and had traveled to Tucson in early March for a six-week training stint, but went home to Boulder after only six days.

I’m social distancing with…
My wife, Brooke, and our two cats, Lexi and Siggy. This is actually kind of our normal MO anyway.

Justin and his wife, Brooke. Photo provided by Justin.

My favorite indoor workout is…
I wouldn’t really say I have a favorite indoor workout because I do so little of it. However, here’s a session on the treadmill I do that can be adjusted to be as hard or as easy as anyone wants to make it:

15 minutes of easy running followed by 4 x 30 sec build/60 sec easy

Main Set
30-40 minutes of continuous running with three grade cycles of 90 seconds. 

For Example:
90 seconds @ 7:00/mile 3% grade
90 seconds @ 6:00/mile -1% grade
90 seconds @ 6:30/mile 1% grade

The idea is to pick a sustainable pace for the 1% grade (steady/moderate effort) and then vary the uphill and downhill accordingly. You can also turn this into intervals if you are looking for a faster paced workout (just be sure to insert some recovery after each 4.5 minute block).

If I wasn’t a pro triathlete I would be…
It’s hard to answer this question after having been involved with triathlon for long, simply because I think most of the interests I have now have been fostered by my time in the sport. When I was in college, I looked into working toward my PhD in history. However, I had also planned to move to a mountain town to be a ski (snowboard) bum. So you can see my motivation and direction had a lot of latitude depending on the day.

My favorite post-workout meal is…
The four egg omelette from The Breakaway Cafe

One change I’ve made that will probably stick is…
I think there are a lot of habits I’ve made in 2020 that I probably shouldn’t stick with long term. However one change I’ve made this year, as it relates to training, has been shortening the duration of my training blocks. I have made a conscious effort to try and not get that last 5-10% out of myself before resting up and it seems to have had a positive change overall.

The last thing I watched on TV…
“Jeopardy.” I watch it every day. As far as binge watching, during the first couple months of lockdown, Brooke and I watched “The Sopranos” from start to finish. I watched it when it was on TV in the 2000s, but she had never seen it. The show stands the test of time for anyone that’s interested.

I knew I could be good at triathlon when…
I wouldn’t really say I ever had a particular moment where that happened. I didn’t have a background in any of the three sports and just started doing triathlon in college for fun. However, after a year or two of dabbling around I decided to start riding my bike a lot throughout this one winter (which isn’t cold in Texas) and in the spring I started to keep up with people that used to drop me. It sort of shifted me into the mindset that with enough work and enough time, I might be able to make some real progress long term.

It would surprise everyone to know that…
I got distracted from this question to take a picture of my cat.

The last thing that made me laugh…
Probably something from @jerryoftheday on IG. 

Your sponsors:
Ventum Racing, Shimano, ON Running

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