Meet David Duggan, latest victim of the AAFI (Ask A Fastie Interview)


There are no photos of us running together because he's too fast.

I had seen Duggan around at races before, but I never really met him until the Fire on the Track 5k. So basically his first impression of me was the barefoot guy who ran a mile on the track in cargo shorts after consuming a Polish sausage, greasy fries, and a beer for lunch.

Anyway, he’s a fast guy. Duggan finished 3rd in the recent Free To Breathe 5k with a time of 17:25 (I dilly-dallied across the finish line over a minute later). He’s got a 2:32 marathon PR. He’s also a running coach to a diverse group of runners from beginners to, well, other runners who I hope to sucker will partake in an AAFI.

I don’t know anything about his coaching methods other than this: If I’m running a race with one of his clients, there’s a good chance he’ll be pacing them. Doesn’t matter if it’s a runner hoping to get a 4.5-hour marathon or a 3-hour marathon (weeks apart!).  If he’s not pacing them, he’s cheering them on from the sidelines. He’s always there for his runners. That gets my stomp of approval.

On with the interrogation!

What factors do you consider to be the key components to your speed? Or to put it another way, how the hell did you get so fast?

Speed, Josh, what speed are you talking about? I don’t have speed, and I’m not that fast either. I consider myself average. I know if I worked harder I could be running better and faster. To answer your question, it’s been through a lot of hard work and a lot of miles.

It never stops being relative, does it? No matter how fast you get, you never feel fast. And yet we train on and on… Speaking of training, are there any differences in the way you train yourself and the way you coach others? I’ve always wondered how running coaches who run managed that balancing act.

Josh, when I coach others, everything I do with them is individualized. My belief is there is not a magic plan that works for everyone. What works for one may not work for ten others. I also coach people on different levels, and to ask them to do what I do would be crazy. As a coach, you listen to your athletes and work with them, not the other way around as it is with most college coaches.

How do you train? Do you have specific goals in mind, or do you take it day by day, race by race?

My training has changed over the years. As I get older it takes longer to recover, so I’m no longer able to do three hard workouts in a week and a long run on the weekend. As an athlete you should always have specific goals in mind, both short and long term.

For me, when I am training for a marathon, the plan starts about 6 months out. You build a base, then when you get to the mileage you want to do, you stay at it for 6 weeks, then you start to add workouts. Training is not about just logging miles. There needs to be a reason for what you are doing on a given day.

So how do I train “hard and smart”? In my base period I will put in up to 100 miles a week with no junk miles. My week is set up easy, short and fast, easy, tempo/progression, easy, easy, and long. The most important runs in the week are the easy runs. Anyone can run fast, but you’ve got to be smart to run slow on your recovery days. My recovery days, the pace can be anywhere between 7:30 and 10 minutes per mile.

Well that sounds entirely reasonabuhundred miles a week? Nice. The first thing that came to my mind when I read that was wow, that’s a lot of food. What do you eat? Any food you consider vital for a runner?

I like a liquid diet…

When it comes to food, again, it’s just like training – you’ve got to be smart about what you eat. I like to look at it this way: “Your body is just like a car, and if you don’t put the right fuel in, you are not going to go too far.” Just because you run 100 miles in a week, it’s not a green light to eat anything you want. I eat healthy for the most part and allow myself some junk food now and then. As to what I eat (when I can get in the kitchen, as my wife loves to cook), I like to grill steak, chicken, and of course being from Ireland, potatoes are always on the menu if I can help it, or rice. So breakfast is a bowl of cereal (frosted flakes or shredded wheat), three scrambled eggs on toast (wheat bread), a glass of orange juice, and a mug of hot tea. Lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before or just a sandwich, either ham, chicken, or turkey or a trip to McDonald’s for a Big Mac.

There is nothing more satisfying than a Big Mac when one is needed. Next question: What are you training for, a specific race or a target pace?

My next pacing job is Kiawah Marathon, which I will be running with Molly. The goal is sub-2:46.

Not fast, you say? Sheesh. In the first half mile of the Free to Breathe 5k, I managed to stay on your heels for a few foolish moments. Was it strange to hear my pathetic, desperate gasping for air but no footsteps?

Well, to be honest, I had no idea who was behind me.

That would be just about everybody.

One of my tens of readers would like to know what’s your opinion on the Galloway method?

When you say Galloway method, I take it you are talking about the run-walk method. For anyone starting out, it’s great, but as you get into your training, the walking should be reduced until you don’t need to walk. Now, if you are just out there to lose weight, then do what works best for you.

Last question: What do you make of all this barefoot running nonsense?

To be honest, I have run a few cross country races barefoot and loved it, but you will not get me running on the road barefoot. I don’t see anything wrong with it, but remember you can’t go from wearing cushion shoes to running barefoot overnight.

I certainly agree. Alright, pitch your coaching services.

Whether you want to run a 5km or marathon or anything in between, I will have you ready to run a PR.
$150 for a 16-week training plan for the marathon
$120 for a 12-week training plan for a ½ marathon
$100 for a 10-week training plan for a 5 or 10 km
$100 a month for personal coaching

Contact David Duggan through 4Runners Only in Winston-Salem to sign up. Keep track of his racing and coaching accomplishments on his blog, dugganelites.

Thanks again, Duggan. You owe me a Big Mac.

That’s all for this edition of AAFI! Tune in next time, when my guest will be… uh, don’t know yet. Whoever isn’t too weirded out by the prospect of me asking them a bunch of questions, I guess.

Greensboro Gobbler 5k Results: Socktastic!

Time: 18:26 (tie for PR)
Overall: 23/1772
AG: 3/83
Sockiplast wearers: 1/1

That wraps up the Greensboro Race Series. I finished 6th overall, 1st in my age group. Bring on the Banquet!

The race itself went well. Temps were in the upper 30s, and I didn’t feel like my feet would be as warm as I’d like. So I wore Sockiplasts:

I finally own something Swedish besides fish!

I could have taken them off after the first mile or so, but such thoughts just don’t occur to me in a race. They worked well! I even had to do a little off-roading on rocks to salmon my way through the back of the pack on the second lap. No problemo with a 1/8mm film of rubber on some cotton. Not even any wear after approx ten miles.

So how do they compare to Holy Socks?

– Holy socks last about 30 miles. That means at 120 miles in Sockiplasts it’s a wash. We’ll see how long they last.

– Nothing seems able to get in the Sockiplasts, while in Holy Socks little pebbles can be a nuisance.

– Sockiplasts have less “ground feel,” of course, but the colder it gets the more of a perk that will be. And rough terrain needs to be rougher before it gets annoying.

– Sockiplasts are way goofier, while the Holy Socks look, oh, I dunno, homeless. Take your pick.

There you have it, another winter running footwear option.

Oh, right! The race. Here are my splits:
mile 1. 5:44
mile 2. 5:47
mile 3. 6:05
.1. all sprinty and stuff.

Just got to hang on to the pace a little longer, and I’ll be close to a sub 18. Next year.

Look at my flexing toes!

Up next is the Mistletoe Half Marathon. Last race of the year.

Pre-Gobbler, and Traction revisited

Tomorrow is the Greensboro Gobbler and my last 5k of the year. This race draws a huge crowd of fasties, so I’m not really thinking about place as much as time. It’s a tough course, but I’d like to get another 18:30ish to close out the year because… oh, I don’t know; why do we want any of the weird random stuff we want?

Anyway, that goal might be tough. My legs are still stiff from a thirteen mile trail run on Saturday. I didn’t mean to go so far, but I was really doing well on the leafy rooty rocky nastiness and feeling good and added an additional four miles of outnback. Then I twisted my right ankle, which prompted a kick-a-root-really-hard landing on my left. The ankle is fine, although it made for a rough return on the trail. What still hurts a bit is the outside part of the ball of my left foot, which is slightly bruised. What I’m trying to say is, I’m not in tip-top condition. Which could be a good thing.

The plan is to start easier this time.

That’s it. That’s my plan, and my post. Iris wants to watch a Dr. Who. Gotta go.

Oh – wait. Did I mention I was testing (I love saying “testing.” Makes me sound so who’s-who) a pair of top secret trail running shoes? Because I’m testing a pair of top secret trail running shoes. I can say this much: I may have to revisit my long-held controversial position re traction.