Five Questions with Brian Burns

BofXBu6IgAAYRjwName/age/city/life:  Brian Burns. 38. Calais VT. Married with two sons, Sargent 9 and Dewey 8. I build furniture and my wife, Dillon, is a social worker.

1.  How long have you been running, and how long have you been running ultras?

I’ve been dabbling for 7-8 years but started to run steadily two and a half years ago. I’ve never run an ultra (sorry!) but ran my first marathon last May and parts of that had a death march feel that could almost count.

2.  What’s your goal for the year? Why?

Go under 2:50 in the marathon [ed: Brian ran 3:00:00 last year] and under 5:00 for the mile and stay healthy in the process. I need goals and mile training is a nice change after putting in a marathon block. It never hurts to try to get faster. For me mile training really helps every other distance and especially improves my downhill running which is a real weakness for me.

3.  What’s the best (running) advice you’ve been given?

Most of the cliches are really true for me. Take easy days easier and hard days harder. Consistency. Run as much volume as you can handle. Don’t skimp on hills. Spend time running at the pace you’ll be running for whatever race you’re training for. Do threshold intervals with short rest (1K-3K repeats with 60 seconds max rest). And somehow do all that without overtraining or getting injured. I think most people run too fast on easy days and too slow on hard days. That’s the biggest thing I was doing wrong for a long time and now I try to focus on that. Some possibly bad advice that I would give to another runner is not to obsess over little injuries and to try to run through niggles unless they get markedly worse during runs. It’s hard to be consistent if you shut it down every time your legs hurt. Take that advice at your own risk though!

4.  If you won a bazillion dollars, how would your running life change?

I probably wouldn’t have to do winter headlamp night runs b/c I wouldn’t have to work. Other than that not much change other than a Rolex GPS, a team of Italian “coaches” and significant blood doping/EPO/synthetic testosterone so I could win some local 5K age group prizes.

5.  What’s your current 50k gear set-up? 

Theoretically it would be pretty simple. I run in Brooks Ravennas, Asics 2000s and New Balance 1400s and generally try to rotate them every day. I don’t have any real clothing gear preferences. If I’m going out for over 20 miles I usually bring a gel or two but try not to take in calories on anything shorter. So for a 50K or marathon I’d take gels, the kind with tons of caffeine, every 30-40 minutes and drink water at aid stations. I don’t like to carry water.

 
Bonus question: What’s your favorite beer?

By volume it’s definitely PBR. By flavor I’m pretty open but like Sierra Rye IPA (do they still make that?) and Torpedo. Sixpoint Crisp is a nice pilsner. I really like Budweiser sometimes with certain foods. And most of Hill Farmstead’s beer. When I’m feeling rich I go straight for Booker’s Bourbon. I guess it’s good that I’m not a bazillionaire!

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