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CJ Albertson Is Ready To ‘Mess People Up’ At The Boston Marathon | Inside His Untraditional Training


“I want to isolate everyone because I run by myself. If everyone gets isolated and they’re running by themselves, that’s a huge advantage for me. I don’t need a pack to run with. I do 100% of my hard training alone. I want to get people alone. I want to sucker people into going harder on the downhills…You have to have that mentality that I’m coming to mess people up. That’s what I think about in a race – just having that raw competitiveness.”

Brooks pro runner CJ Albertson has been a pretty highly-requested guest on this show because people can see some of the untraditional training runs that he throws down on Strava. But if you ask him, he doesn’t think it’s wild.

In this episode, we discuss his rise on the US marathoning scene where he popped off to a lot of people when he led last year’s Boston Marathon for 21 miles and finished 10th. He just ran 2:12 at the Modesto Marathon with three weeks to go until the big race. The catch is that was led off course by the lead bike for a bit. His 26.2 watch split was 2:10. So he’s fit and ready to throw down on marathon Monday.

Catch the latest episode of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.

CJ Albertson 2022 Boston Marathon

Photo by Kevin Morris/@kevmofoto


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On what he’d consider crazy to try in practice or workouts”

“I haven’t tried to set the 50-mile record in practice during a marathon training block, which I thought about but don’t do so there’s one thing. If there was a less serious marathon and not Boston, then I might. I would probably hop in a 50-mile race – actually, I’d do it in practice first and then do a race.”

Reflecting on Boston 2021:

– “It was a good race for me and I got some good recognition from being up in the front but I still don’t think even my buildup and my training for that race was good – and the best I’ve had in a while – but it wasn’t spectacular…I was probably in better shape for the Olympic Trials than I was for Boston last year.”

On how he’s feeling about his fitness:

“Now I’m in better shape now than I was in October, which I guess you’re not supposed to say in case you have a bad race but I like to put as much pressure on myself publicly…That’s another reason why I’m fine posting stuff on Strava that I know people will maybe disagree with because now I have to run well or else I’ll look stupid if I don’t. You have to have that expectation.”

Can he win this year’s race?

“It’s a really good field. There are always scenarios in my mind where I win. When I’m doing training runs and long runs or when I’m driving, there are scenarios that I’m thinking about and I’m winning the race. Realistically, if I was betting my baby’s college fund I probably wouldn’t bet it all on myself. Lots of things have to go right for me to win. It is a little crazy. If I won it would be crazy realistically. People would be like, ‘We knew he was fit but there are 12 sub-2:06 guys and a handful of sub 2:03 guys. 2:10 is decent but it’s still miles behind.”

On what he makes of people thinking his training is unconventional or untraditional:

“It’s odd to me because I don’t think my methods are untraditional.”

“People look at the marathon as some scary number that if you run that far, you’re just going to be so tired.

“A 1500 to me is way harder than a marathon”

“People are just kind of soft when it comes to long runs. Think of literally any other person in the world, you go out and run pretty hard for 2 hours and 10 minutes, yeah that’s hard but every single person that trains for the marathon does that – the ones that aren’t sub-2:10 guys. If you’re running two hours and 45 minutes or more, well your 20 mile run is two hours or two hours and 30 minutes and you’re running the same effort I was but you’re running less miles. You probably don’t have as good of a recovery so that effort is probably harder than what I did. People are just illogical. I’m joking but ultimately I’m correct in my mind.”

On his race plan for 2022:

“I want to isolate everyone because I run by myself. If everyone gets isolated and they’re running by themselves, that’s a huge advantage for me. I don’t need a pack to run with. I do 100% of my hard training alone. I want to get people alone. I want to sucker people into going harder on the downhills. In my head, I just want to snap people’s femurs. I want them to just snap mid-race because I got them to go 4:20 at Mile 15 on that downhill section and they didn’t prepare to do that. Realistically, they’re probably pretty prepared and in better shape than me so I’ll probably just hurt myself more than them, but you have to have that mentality of like ‘I’m coming to mess people up.’ That’s what I think about in a race – just having that raw competitiveness. 

Outside and just in daily life, I want everyone to love running. I love running. I want my competitors to have that. You want everyone to enjoy the sport and do good. You want to have good races so you can compete with the best. But when you’re actually in the race, it’s a fight and it should be that sort of competitiveness. You’re not friends.”

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