Hello Reddit!

My name is Tyler Andrews; I'm an American professional runner currently living and training abroad in Quito, Ecuador and sponsored by STRIVE Trips, an organization which arranges international service trips for student athletes to Peru and Kenya and for whom I've worked for the past 3 summers organizing programs in South America.

On March 1st, I'll be trying to break the World Record for a Half Marathon run on a treadmill. With this run, I am hoping to raise awareness and funds for some of the charitable projects currently being undertaken by STRIVE - including scholarships to bring disadvantaged student-athletes on STRIVE programs and the development of a community center in rural Peru. You can read more about these projects and support us online here!

I recently had a profile published in Runner's World where you can read a bit more about my background and the work I do with STRIVE. For all the running geeks out there, I have run 1h02 for 20km (1h05 for half marathon) and 29 minutes for 10km despite being a relative newcomer to the sport (only running 18'xx for 5k in HS and mid-pack in college). I was invited to debut in the invitational field at the Boston Marathon this April where I hope to finish in the top 15. I also keep a blog where I post all of training publicly.

So, ask me anything! I'm happy to answer questions about running/training, STRIVE and the projects we're working on, living abroad, horse/ducks, whatever you want! I did an AMA a few weeks ago through r/running which was really fun, so I'm happy to be back!

Here's my video announcement of the World Record Attempt

And here's proof it's me!

I'm off to do my morning run but I'll be back to start answering questions around 11am EST!

EDIT: 12:45pm EST - I've gotta take a break for a bit. I will be back to answer as many more questions as I can later this afternoon/early evening!

EDIT: 6:15pm EST - I'm back! I'll try to answer as many questions as I can over the next couple hours!

EDIT: 8:30pm EST - That's all I've got. I've got an early flight tomorrow to come back to the States, so it's about time I started packing... In the mean time, please check out STRIVE Trips - Service Travel for Student Athletes and support our projects through my run. If you have any questions that didn't get answered, feel free to visit my blog where you can comment and I'll get back to you!

Happy trails, Reddit!

Comments: 68 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

DubaiCM19 karma

How come the world record for half marathon run on a treadmill (67:29) is slower than the record for one run on a road (58:23)? Surely it would be faster, considering that a treadmill is powered and you don't have to deal with wind-resistance, hills, turns, etc., which you would encounter on the road and which all slow you down.

For example, at the recent Ras Al Khaimah half marathon, eight of the men all finished in under one hour. What's to stop one of these guys hopping on a treadmill tomorrow and blowing the record out of the water?

reynro0314 karma

Money and injury risk. Start putting out bigger purses and more will start doing treadmill runs.

STRIVE-trips16 karma

This is the correct answer. The reason that the record is so "soft" is because for most professional runners, if they are going to run under 1'07'29, they could go to a medium sized road race and get some prized money. The reason that 8 guys broke 60'00 at RAK this year is because there's hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money on the line, so dozens of guys will go out at sub-60 pace. The reason that none of those guys will go out and run a 65' half marathon tomorrow is because there's no one paying them to do it. While it's certainly not an all-out effort for those guys, it's not easy enough for them to just go do it on a whim with the risks of getting hurt/worn out for no pay. If RAK or USATF or someone put a huge prize out for a treadmill half marathon record, I would guess that the record would be well under 60'00.

For me, the benefit of going after the record is that it raises publicity for STRIVE and the charitable projects we support. To me, it's worth sacrificing a possible pay-day at a big road race to try to raise a few thousand dollars to help fund our Community Center in rural Peru

PaperlessJournalist13 karma

What's your diet like?

STRIVE-trips6 karma

A great question to start with, as I'm just sitting down to dinner!

Living in Ecuador gives me access to a lot of really great, fresh food for very low cost (in comparison to the US). I cook almost everything I eat from its raw form (grains like rice, lentils, quinoa; meats; fruits and veggies). In general, I try to eat fairly healthy, but when I'm running over 20 miles a day, I sometimes let myself give into cravings for ice cream or pizza.

A typical day might look like this (copied):

Pre morning run: Black coffee

Post morning run: yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal

Lunch: Egg sandwich with cilantro, onion, srirahca (yes - I had my girlfriend smuggle down 4 bottles from the US when she came to visit)

Post afternoon run: homemade smoothie (yogurt and fresh fruit)

Dinner: Lentils, brown rice, quinoa, fresh veggies, and some lean meat (white meat chicken or beef usually).

Treats would include some animal crackers, the occasional ice cream, or some pretzel m&ms - when my US supplier brings them down ;)

captain_Catfish9 karma

What is the best piece of advice you have for training intensely without injury?

STRIVE-trips12 karma

In one word: consistency.

I started running as a senior in high school and was probably running only about 20-30mpw. Since then, I've been working with the same coach for over 6 years and we've always had a very long-term approach to training. He was great in helping me develop slowly and continuously, as opposed to making big leaps in training to try to maximize benefits in high school or college.

So, the biggest thing I'd say is consistency. Try to gradually increase the intensity of what you're doing - though speed or volume - a little bit every season. Avoid huge jumps in mileage and think long term. I think it was Alberto Salazar who said something along the lines of "If you keep improving, eventually you'll set a world record!"

Stephensonson8 karma

During periods of intense training and periods of rest, do you know psychological differences in yourself?

STRIVE-trips9 karma

Hi Stephen,

Really good question! The answer is absolutely. I almost feel like a different person sometimes in periods of very high training intensity vs. periods of rest.

For those who might not know, the way that many professional runners structure their years might look something like this: two long periods of intense training of around 5-5.5 months each with a "peak" at the end. This peak could represent something like the Olympics or a big target marathon. Usually after the peak race/meet, the athlete will take a period of rest before beginning the process all over again. This rest can vary from total rest (no running, no exercise) to moderate or "active recovery" (very light running or some cross training). Time for rest periods can range from about 1-6 weeks, depending on the length and intensity of the cycle completed.

For me, the rest period usually consists of a few (read 2-3) weeks where I take a break from TRAINING. This doesn't necessarily mean a break from running, but a break from the MENTAL rigor of knowing that I must get out and run every day. I will go for a jog with my father or my girlfriend or my coach, but only because it's a good excuse to see them and get outside!

So, I think the biggest difference I notice is this kind of forced relaxation. I stick to a very intense training plan during the season - running twice a day and 140-160 miles per week - so forcing myself not to structure my whole day around how to fit in those runs, trips to the gym, watching what I eat, etc. is a huge mental relief for a short time.

I also notice some big physical differences. I sleep WAY less (sometimes I will sleep 10 hours per night during heavy training) and I am much less hungry.

That being said, as much as it's great and refreshing to have a break from that intensity, my personality really enjoys the intensity. After a few weeks, I'm always itching to go back!

loserforlife7 karma


STRIVE-trips18 karma

RunningOrangutan7 karma

What's your 5K PR?

STRIVE-trips5 karma


lilzy6 karma

Thanks Tyler. 1- Any tips for perfect shoes, especially for running in a high-humidity, often warm weather. 2- Running for a cause is very motivational in itself, say you were running (without a cause or target), what makes you persistent?

STRIVE-trips6 karma

Hi Lilzy,

Thanks for your questions!

(1) I've found that with shoes, the best thing to do is usually trial and error. Runners are often creatures of habit and for me, once I found a shoe that works well for me and my environment, I tend to stick to that or something very similar (which can then be frustrating when the company discontinues your favorite model!) In terms of running in really hot/humid weather - I think your choice of socks could have an even bigger impact than shoes in terms of breatheability/comfort. Most shoes have fairly similar constructions (though you can now find some super light-weight, mesh materials that might be a bit better), but socks will actually be a big factor - it's worth spending a bit and getting a couple of pairs of really light, wicking socks if you're concerned about that. Or you can go sockless! It'll take a couple months, but it'll toughen your feet and no more stinky socks :)

Your second question is a really great one. For me, running is a sport that is all about self-motivation and determination. Most runners are running for something other than just the joy of running. This could be anything from losing weight to finishing their first marathon to raising money for a great cause to winning an Olympic medal. All of these are legitimate reasons to get yourself out of bed in the morning and make it through your run.

For me, that "joy of running" will always be there - I love to run. I love the feeling of covering ground fast, I love the social aspect of running with my friends, I love running through beautiful places. But my biggest motivations will always come from beyond running. I've always run best when I run for something bigger than myself. That's been my team (as in college) or, more recently, fundraising for STRIVE (in the fall I donated a portion of my race winnings to the development of a Community Center).

So, I guess part of what makes me persistent is the inner drive to continuously improve. That's a big part of my personality (and I think you'd see it in a lot of other athletes). But at the end of the day, there's always going to be a cause or target that I'm shooting for.

laramite6 karma

Most races I entered in HS I was rarely ever confident in my own abilities.

How do you feel higher, consistent mileage changed the mental aspect to your racing?

STRIVE-trips4 karma

Hi Laramite!

Thanks for your question! I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about confidence on race day coming from consistent training. For me, it's super important that I understand my training because that is where my confidence comes from. If I don't know what I'm accomplishing in training, it's very hard for me to have any sense of how that will translate into results on race day. So, I think education/understanding what different workouts mean/suggest is a super important first step.

Once I understand my workouts, I usually have a very good sense of where I am and I glean an enormous confidence from that. I've been running workouts and racing for years now and so I usually have an accurate sense of what I can accomplish at any given time. Some may think this seems like cockiness or arrogance to go into a race with a feeling that you're going to run well, but to me it's just confidence both in my training and my understanding of what that training means.

So, I think that's the best answer I can give to your question. I think that my confidence really comes from a combination of knowing that I've put in the hard work and understanding what the hard work means. Having the understanding of where I am allows me to set goals that are realistic and with that I can go into a performance setting with the confidence of knowing that those goals are within my reach.

Velorium_Camper5 karma

Just a heads up, i think your proof link might be broken.

STRIVE-trips5 karma

Thanks! Fixed it

Velorium_Camper5 karma

If you weren't running professionally, what would you be doing?

STRIVE-trips11 karma

Hi Velorium!

Great question! I think the short answer is I would still be running at some level. I've always loved the process of training and the intensity of racing - it keeps me level-headed, grounded, organized, motivated, etc. Whether I was training as a professional or simply as a "weekend warrior," I think I'd definitely be running!

In a more practical sense - I have a degree in mechanical engineering. I was particularly interested in thermodynamics and material properties during college (my senior thesis was on performing molten oxide electrolysis to extract rare earth metal from slag), so I could see myself in a graduate program to continue research into that. One of my classmates who worked with me is getting a PhD on this stuff and seems pretty excited!

I do also really love working with people (kids and teens in particular), so I could see myself going into education. My work with STRIVE the last few summers has taught me how fun it can be to work with teenagers - they're at a particular age where they're very receptive to new ideas and are just developing their ideals personalities. I really enjoy being a part of that!

MattBustin4 karma

Amazing man working for an amazing cause. I am 17 now and have been trying to break the 1:30 mark for the half marathon. You give me hope, good luck!

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Thanks, Matt!

Good luck in your own endeavors!

And if you a high schooler looking for a great summer, be sure to check out STRIVE! Feel free to message me with any questions.

Ygetone4 karma

What injuries have occurred from running and how did you work through them?

STRIVE-trips3 karma

Hi Ygetone,

Thanks for your question - it's a good one and probably a sensitive subject for a lot of runners. I've been super lucky in that my body has reacted very well in the gradual build-up of volume and intensity that my coach has prescribed since I started running.

I did have one serious injury during my junior year of college cross country season. Coincidentally, the injury started as something entirely not-running-related; I was moving into an apartment at the end of the summer and sprained my back carrying heavy furniture. The problem was that I then continued to run and didn't let the injury heal. This led to running with poor/uneven form, limping, and developing a slew of other problems which never would have happened had I just let it heal in the first place. What could have been a week or two of rest and recuperation ended up being a whole season down the tubes because I was too stubborn to listen to my body.

So, that sucked, but I did learn a lot from it. I learned to listen to my body and give it rest when that's what it needs. I learned what I can and can't "train through."

Maybe most important, though is how I learned to deal mentally with the frustration of being hurt and not being able to run. One of the most important things I learned is to trust in your "body of work." That is, if you've been running for a few years and you get hurt, the years of building that you have behind you aren't going to disappear if you take some time off. Being able to remain confident is one of the most important (and most difficult) things when injured.

the-one-in-time3 karma

What would you say your dream day consists of?

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Great question! Let me think...

Well, it would certainly involve a run - hopefully with some of my best friends in somewhere beautiful. There's an old dirt road that runs through the forests of my home-town where I used to do lots of miles back in the day... but I digress.

The rest of the day would involve spending time with the people I care most about. I would hope it's warm - after growing up in New England and now living Ecuador, I'm not sure I could ever go back to intense winters...

And for any Bostonians, it would almost certainly involve a super-burrito from Ana's Taqueria :)

telepatheic3 karma

How do you measure the distance accurately on the treadmill? Most treadmills I know are a few % off.

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Part of the process of making the record "official" (getting ratified by the body that governs running world records) involves certifying the treadmill to be used. This is a process which (to my understanding) involves measuring the length of the belt and then calibrating the motor at various speeds to ensure that it's accurate.

Feather-in-my-pubes2 karma

How do you plan on dealing with the boredom? Running for me at least is great because stuff, new, shiny, often flying things are constantly moving around me and my mind is occupied so I can relax. I get bored running on a track, and even doing like 6 miles on a track is horrible. Do you share that problem? I'm impressed by your story. It shows that late-joining runners can still prosper.

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Flying things? Where are you running??

But seriously, I definitely feel the same way. Running 6 miles on a track is miserable. Usually for me, running on the track is a race or intervals, which keeps me a bit more focused, but there were snowy days in college where we'd have to do our normal training runs around the 200m indoor track. It was brutal. Makes me glad I live on the equator...

Anyways, I have a feeling that the adrenaline of being in a "race" (against the clock at least) will keep me in the game. I never had trouble with boredom during track races, so I think that when there's a lot on the line and I'm really invested, I won't have trouble. It will be particularly helpful here to have fans and friends and family literally right next to me to cheer me on! Plus I know I'm running for a great cause, so that always helps!

Officer__Barbrady2 karma

How were you able to run in college if the best you ran in hs was an 18:xx?

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Hi Barbrady (great name, by the way!)

I graduated from high school with a PR in the low 18-minute range for 5k (only XC, my school had no track team). I then took a year to work before going to college, during which time I also continued training. My 5k team improved to about 15'45 by the end of that year. Then, my freshman year, I attended a different school which actually didn't have an NCAA program, so I continued training on my on. Long story short, by the time I was actually talking to coaches with the intent of running in college, my times were in the mid 15s for 5k and around 32 minutes for 10km.

So, I was actually lucky in that if I'd gone to college right out of high school, I probably wouldn't have had a team to run on as an 18-minute runner. It was a tough couple years of training on my own, but in retrospect, it worked out really well!

the_chris2 karma

When was the point you decided you loved running and wanted to be a professional? How is it training in Ecuador?

Thanks a lot for this ama!

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your question!

I started running as a senior in high school when I met the new cross country coach (who is still my coach today!) He was a huge inspiration and really helped me turn my life around as a 17-year-old. He really convinced me that running was something that almost anybody can be good at if you were just dedicated and gave it your all over a long period. I'd always had a very driven personality, so something about that really clicked for me and I was hooked.

I guess I always knew that I'd keep running even after graduating college. Even as a high schooler, I knew that I wouldn't be satisfied until I really felt like I had pushed as hard as I could in training and preparation and had really reached my potential. I wasn't sure where that would take me, whether I'd always be running as a hobby or if I'd continue improving to the level of a professional, but I certainly hoped it would!

I guess the key for me was just to keep pushing and see how much I could improve. I've improved pretty steadily every season for 6 years now and I'm at the point now where I'm sponsored by STRIVE and I'm actually in talks with a couple of shoe companies as well. It's pretty exciting, but definitely not something I ever really planned on or expected by any means!

WarCryBaby2 karma

Goddamnit, read that as "developing communists"

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Not as far as I know...

andreasxc2 karma

What time are you going to try and hit? Obviously your going to try and break the world record time, but what's your personal goal?

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Hi Andreas

Good question! Obviously, you're right and the first goal is to break the world record (1'07'29). Beyond this, I think it depends partly on how I feel on race day. I'm really training for the Boston Marathon, so while I'll come down a bit in volume in this week leading up to the race, I won't be fully "tapered." Also, most of my workouts have been marathon specific, as opposed to half-marathon (though, there's a lot of overlap).

All that being said, I would be really pleased and honored just to break Andrew Lemoncello's record. He's a great runner (27'xx 10k, 63'xx HM), so being able to be compared to him is pretty amazing! If I were going into a road race, I would love to break my current PR (1'05'32) and take a crack at the US Olympic Trials standard (1'05'00). I think that in a perfect and well paced race where I was tapered, running 1'04'xx would be possible, but I'm not going to be upset with myself if I don't get that time next weekend.

detectivegrasa1 karma

Puede usted confirmar su involvment en una secuela? Eso fue sólo los huesos - ¿dónde está el resto?

STRIVE-trips1 karma

una secuela?? news to me! but I wouldn't be opposed...

syzick1 karma

Did you just feel like runnan?

STRIVE-trips2 karma


Strumm3r1 karma

When did you start running?

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Hi Strumm3r!

I started running seriously when I was 17 as a senior in high school. I was actually on the cross country team earlier than that, but to be honest, I was only doing it because I needed HS athletic credit! My senior year, my school got a new XC coach who really connected with me and taught me a lot about running and training. Pretty quickly, I started improving and I really enjoyed that improvement and competing and training and everything about it.

I guess if I have one message, it's that it's never too late to start running (or really anything new!) You might hear a lot about star who were high school prodigies and have been involved in athletics since birth, but there are also people like me who started late and just gradually improved over time. It's never too late!

KRoy19911 karma

Hey Tyler, it's amazing to hear about what you do - my roommate, Dan (buddy of mine from college, ran for MIT, focused on the 10k, that's probably specific enough) has mentioned your work/training before and I think it's awesome.

And best of luck for Saturday! Question: what time of day will you be running for the record? I'm planning to run a workout that morning, but this is for curiosity... (I live just across the river)

STRIVE-trips1 karma

Hey there! Glad to hear from a friend of Dan. That kids a beast!

Anyways the run will be at 10am at marathon sports' downtown store (in Copley near the Boston marathon finish line).

Good luck working out in this cold! I'm missing my equatorial climate right now...

Imsleepingnow1 karma

Did you have any serious injuries? How did you recover?

Also, do you have any tips for speedy/full recovery? I have a hamstring and adductor injury that won't heal with 2 1/2 months rest

STRIVE-trips1 karma

Hi Imsleeping!

With regards to your first question, check out this response

In terms of tip for recovery - it really depends on your injury. Unfortunately, there's no right answer or magic bullet. The good news is that despite how awful you might feel at any give time, most running injuries do eventually recover and you will be back to normal. The bad news is that if you have an injury that hasn't healed after 2.5 months, you might not be doing the right thing to rehabilitate it. If you aren't seeing improvement in that kind of timeframe, I would get a second opinion. If you got a diagnosis from a trainer, it might be worth talking to another or a PT or even MD.

My general rule with dealing with injuries is that if I can't run on it without limping, I don't run on it. And then if it doesn't get better within a week or two, it's worth getting secondary help.

Sorry not to have better advice! Good luck!!

mikayakatnt1 karma

What type of hats do you like to wear?

STRIVE-trips1 karma

Great question. That depends on the day really. And the temperature! Is it cold?? Am I protecting my head from freezing New England winter? Or am I protecting myself from the hot Ecuadorian sun? I've got hats for every occasion!

ForwardBound1 karma

Are you doing the Run to Remember this year? Not that you don't have enough on your plate already . . .

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Hi ForwardBound! You must be a Bostonian...

I'm not sure if I'll run the RTR this year (for those who don't know, Boston's Run to Remember is a half marathon on memorial day in Boston, MA. I have won the race the last three years and it's a really terrific event. If you're a New England runner and looking for a great Spring half, I'd definitely recommend it!)

To be honest, I doubt I will run it this year, though. As much as I love the race and it's been my "home course" for the last few years, I am committed to peaking for the Boston Marathon which is just 5 weeks before. I'm not sure I'll be recovered enough after the marathon to try to run a good half. I think the best thing for my body would probably be to take most of the month of May very easy before starting to build-up towards a fall season.

If I'm in the city though, I'll definitely come out to watch! It'd be fun to be a spectator for once...

ForwardBound1 karma

RTR is my favorite half. It will be sad not to see you speeding down Memorial Drive back to Boston as I'm still going up, but the race could definitely use more spectators!

I'm planning to be there on Saturday to see you put on an amazing performance.

STRIVE-trips2 karma

Great! See you there! I'll probably be at Marathon Sports (Boston store at Copley) from about 9am-noon.

sexyllama1011 karma

la verdadera pregunta: ¿prefieres coger un pingüino-llama grande o follar cien llamas-penguin tamaño?

STRIVE-trips2 karma

hay que practicar tu castellano pana... pero, en realidad, las 100 llamitas. tengo buena resistencia ;)

pero no digas nada a mi novia...