I’m a podcast junkie and I have a new favorite running podcast – Road to the Olympic Trials. It’s all about elite runners’ build-up to the marathon Olympic Trials next February. It’ll be so interesting to learn about their training and know more about them to cheer them on during the trials in Atlanta. Here’s an inside look from the podcast host all about this sure-to-be very popular running podcast!
I’m thrilled to welcome my friend, and host of the Rambling Runner podcast and now host of the new Road to the Olympic Trials podcast, Matt Chittim. I got to know Matt after he had me on his podcast a couple months ago to talk about training for Boston and navigating marathon training around some big career changes.
My new favorite running podcast
I asked Matt to answer a few questions about his new podcast since I’m super excited about it, especially after spending four days at Zap Endurance running camp. (Zap running camps are for everyday runners but hosted by an elite training group, including the coaches and pro athletes! You can see highlights from my camp experience on my Instagram account. And I’ll be updating the blog post soon with my personal experience!)
I asked Matt for a quick overview of his new podcast:
The Road to the Olympics Trials podcast features eight elite runners, four men and four women, who are excited about pulling back the curtain about the pro runner experience. They’ll be open and honest about their training, racing, and goals in their lead-up to the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta in February, 2020.
The athletes who will be sharing their journey are Jared Ward, Kellyn Taylor, Roberta Groner, Parker Stinson, Lou Serafini, Sarah Bishop, John Raneri, and Stefanie Flippin.
Here’s what Matt had to say!
Tell me how you got into the running podcast scene and now run (heh) one of the top running podcasts in the country?
It’s certainly wasn’t a planned thing, that’s for sure. Three years ago I helped start the Providence College podcast, one of the first college-based podcasts, when I was working there. Then, when Anchor.fm created the first phone-to-phone podcast recording and distribution app, I decided to start the Rambling Runner podcast. At the time there were a lot of great podcasts that focused on elites so I decided to focus on dedicated amateur runners.
Originally, I had no expectations that anyone would listen – and that is exactly what happened. There were only 8,000 total downloads in the first six months and I was totally fine with that. Then starting in January of 2018 the Rambling Runner podcast started to take off. In total, the show had 1 million downloads in 2018 and that fact still shocks me.
Why did you decide to start this new podcast?
Just like with Rambling Runner, it was me scratching my own itch. Road to the Olympic Trials will take a deep dive in to the preparation, physical and mental, of some of America’s best runners as they prepare for the Olympic Trials in the marathon scheduled for February 2020.
Like most running fans, I am awed by the performances that the elites do at race time but I’m equally, if not more, interested in how they prepare for those races.
How did you get in touch with all these rock stars?
The first thing I did after I came up with the idea was reaching out via DM, email, and third-party acquaintances to some of the best runners I could think of. In addition to trying to attract the best runners to the show, I wanted to have as many different storylines as possible.
- Jared Ward and Kellyn Taylor are both at the top of the field and have the Olympic Standard. That means that if they finish top three at the Trials, then they will go to the Olympics. [Teri interjecting here: I met Jared last month – SUCH a nice guy!]
- Roberta Groner also has the Olympic Standard while also being a masters runner (she’s 41) with three kids and a full-time job (!!!). In addition to preparing for the Trials, she is also shooting for the American masters record in the marathon currently held by Deena Kastor.
- Lou Serafini and John Raneri have both excelled at shorter distances but haven’t put it together in the marathon, yet. Lou broke 4:00 in the mile last year and had great spring performances at the Brooklyn Half and the USATF Half Marathon Championship. John ran 1:02:51 at the New York City Half beating some of the best runners in the world.
- Sarah Bishop has won multiple marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon. She is a serial racer who placed second amateur at the Chattanooga IRONMAN 70.3 this spring in her first triathlon after picking up the bike due to a running injury.
- Last, but not least, Dr. Stefanie Flippin will spend 2019 trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials. She is a foot and ankle surgeon from Colorado who has transitioned from ultramarathons to the roads and ran a 36 minute 10k this year in torrential rain storm.
What do the elites think about the concept?
They were on board immediately after I reached out. Several knew about Rambling Runner and all of them know their fans want to learn more about their training.
As the interest in social media and podcasts explodes, these runners know that by sharing their journey, they can foster a stronger connection with those fans. And that’s good for the sport as a whole.
What’s the goal with the Road to the Olympic Trials?
To provide an intimate look into what it takes to prepare for the race of a lifetime. I also want to help showcase these amazing athletes in a transparent and open way.
What can an average runner learn from the pros?
We shall see! My guess is that we will learn different things from each runner, but I’m sure there will be several characteristics that they will all share. Here’s a sneak peek!
Links to the show:
What’s your favorite running podcast? Do you follow any elites closely?
Elite runners is something I’ve become even more interested in the last few years – and honestly, I think it’s mostly because of podcasts and getting to “know” them a bit more that way!