Champion runner Tyler Christopher talks about training, diet and setting personal goals

Champion runner Tyler Christopher talks about training, diet and setting personal goals
Tyler Christopher

Tyler Christopher

Photo by Curtis Comeau

There’s no better time to start up running than the fall. Now that the season is almost upon us, we sat down with Olympic athlete Tyler Christopher to chat about running, diet and setting goals.

Tyler started running when he was just nine after his mother coaxed him into track to burn off his excess energy. Now, at 24, Tyler’s energy continues to be boundless as he holds the national record in the 400-metre race and plans to continue on his record-breaking path at the 2008 Olympics.

How often do you run?
6 days a week.

Is it okay to run every day?
You need at least 1 (preferably 2) days a week off to recover your muscles.

What’s better for staying in shape—fast sprints or long-distance runs?
Long distance running is great cardio and will burn a lot of fat, but it won’t tone your body much. Sprinting will tighten your body a lot more because you’re using more muscle. It’s good to do a bit of both.

What’s the difference between running on a treadmill and outdoor running?
Running on a treadmill is a lot easier because the machine is doing a lot of the work for you—but it allows you to go for longer, faster runs. If your legs are strong and can handle the impact, outdoor running is a better workout.

Is there such thing as a runner’s high? How can one achieve this?
I think that’s the adrenalin rush you get after a hard, long run. Once running becomes a habit, you become addicted to that feeling.

What do you focus on when you run?
I picture myself visually at the finish line. I find that when I can visualize positive thoughts in my head, it helps me run better.

Do you ever get leg cramps? What’s a good remedy for this?
Yes. It’s mainly caused by dehydration, so it’s important to drink a lot of water before and after running. If my cramps are bad—I make sure to load up on electrolytes by mixing Pedialyte with water. It’s meant for babies but it works!

What’s the best thing to eat before a run for high energy and stamina?
If you plan on sprinting, a good lean protein-based meal is good. If you’re going for a long-distance run, wholegrain carbohydrates are your best bet.

What sorts of foods should be avoided before a run?
Sugar, especially white sugar, will give you a jolt of energy, but it will make you crash halfway through your run.

What’s your ultimate dream?
To be #1 in the world and inspire people to achieve their goals.

Why is it important to set personal goals when working out?
If you don’t have a goal, you have nothing to strive for. Personal goals push you to do better.

For more fitness advice, turn to the HEALTH section of FLARE Magazine.