Interview with coach Peter Arbogast

This week I am privileged to feature coach and ultra-marathoner Peter Arbogast.

Pete brings his passion for coaching and running development to his website, wingandaprayerunning.

If you would like to know more about Peter he also writes extensively on his blog

1. How did you begin running? Tell your story.

My comeback to running is more than my beginning I grew up a farm kid always running rather chasing animals or my Dad on the tractor. Junior high I ran track, High School found the love for distance in cross country, college I was competitive at the division III level. After college my career was agriculture so with all the physical activity at work and busy getting married and raising a family my running shoes retired. I still stayed active with competitive recreational sports volleyball, softball and soccer. My son got to high school and found some of my school records and challenged that I wasn’t that fast so at forty three years old I bought running shoes and competed against my fourteen year old son. A year of training and running I finally beat him in every 5k and 10k we competed and I had discovered all the joys of running. The first year I conquered the half marathon next year the marathon and a Boston qualifier. A couple years at Boston I went after the 100 mile USATF championship I completed the race which is an accomplishment missing my goal of being top ten. I gained a lot of respect for running in that event mental toughness is as important as physical stamina.

2. Who has been your biggest inspiration in the sport of distance running and why?

My first training partner Melodie Pullen taught me that running is as much a social activity as a sport. There is no better time to develop a friendship and solve the worlds problems as a long run. Twenty miles or three to four hours of running can fix a lot of things.

3. What are biggest strengths and biggest limiting thoughts that may have caused you issues in the past? What are you doing this year differently?

My strength has always been my determination to finish what I started and this plays very well as you challenge marathon and ultra marathon distances. Knowing limitations is my challenge and having to drop out of my first race from dehydration made the point. I think this year preparedness for myself and athletes I coach right up to the starting line is number one.

4. What has been your biggest achievement in the sport?

The biggest achievement is Burning River 100 just because of the scope of the event. My favorite and most memorable was to run the Dresden, Germany marathon as an ambassador for the Columbus Marathon and city of Columbus, Ohio.

5. What has been your biggest failure in your event? How have you overcome that?

My failure was my DNF in my spring marathon but the growth as a runner and coach from that was a great lesson. Respect the distance whether it is your first or one hundred and first twenty six point two miles is a challenge.

6. If you could talk with a beginner or someone else you may know nothing about who wants to get involved in the sport, what advice would you share?

Start out easy and never quit I have as much respect for the person that brings up the back of a 5k as I do the elite that wins the marathon.

7. What are your personal bests? Where did you achieve these times?

100 mile- 25:58:59; Burning River 100 2012, Marathon- 3:02:07; Air Force Marathon 2011, Half marathon- 1:23:53 Columbus Half Marathon 2011, 10k- 38:27; Columbus 10k 2011, 5k-17:44; Dublin Irish Festival 2011, Mile- 5:20; Columbus Running Co.Mile Dash 2011

8. What is your short-term goal as a runner?

Boston and New York qualifying times in marathon and a PR at Burning River 100 2014.

9. What is your long-term goal and what are you doing to achieve it?

Complete the World Majors marathons, I became a full time coach and personal trainer so my focus is running.

10. What is your most embarrassing moment since participating in this sport?

I don’t know that the sport has ever embarrassed me long term, I think the DNF or those rookie mistakes that an experienced runner makes are momentary embarrassment but long term great lessons and examples to other runners.

11. What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome and why?

My biggest hurdle has been the transitioning to coach and keeping the priority of my own training.

12. Have you ever been injured and if so, what injuries have you had to overcome?

I am very fortunate to not face injuries even with high mileage training.

13. What is your favorite workout?

I love the long run it can be challenging but rejuvenating also.

14. What is your least favorite workout?

Mile repeats and time trials if you miss your goal there is no redeeming yourself until you have recovered and run them again.

15. What are you most proud of thus far in your athletic and professional career?

Coaching others to achieve their PR and being recognized for that and attaining an elite athlete to coach.

16. Who is your favorite runner and why?

Kara Goucher is so inspiring to me she overcomes challenges and has so many life events that people identify with.

17. If you could sit down with anyone, living or who has passed, who would it be and why?

Alberto Salazar to pick his brain on coaching so many elite athletes from his own experiences and his athletes.

18. What have you learned the most since being a reader of rundreamachieve? What can be done better on the site? What would you like to see more of and why?

I love to read the experiences and adventures of other runners. The experiences of other runners what products have given the best results whether shoes and apparel or nutrition.

19. Who has been your biggest role model growing up and how has that affected you as a runner?

I grew up in the 1980’s so Steve Prefontaine was an idol as a youth runner. Life events I look back at him and I am reminded life is terminal and it is the legacy that you leave and lives you have affected that are important.

20. What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome since starting in the sport?

Hydration is always a challenge for me especially race day learning the science of it.

21. If you go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently or would you? How, in your own words, do you think you can use what you have done wrong in the past do maximize your future performances?

I don’t think I would change anything because I have always gone to the school of hard knocks and learning from your mistakes is priceless. I definitely coach that athletes don’t make the same mistakes I do or other athletes have for that matter. 

22. What are your thoughts on high mileage? low mileage?

High mileage for myself, run like an elite athlete you have to train like one. I encourage my athletes to maximize miles to their time, physical and injury limitations. High mileage is not as important as a good training plan that incorporates speed, hills and endurance. 

23. What is one area that has really worked to your benefit in your training and/or racing?

Cross training and a strong core really came to light in trail running and ultra marathon training and racing.

24. What do you think causes most runners the biggest problems in hitting their fitness goals and why?

Frustration with injury or missing goals there are as many right ways to train as there are runners. You have to individualize your training whether it is a plan from a book, website or a coach or other athlete.

25. What do you plan to do differently this year that you have never attempted since you have been involved in the sport?

This year is really my coming together as being a coach, I went full time last March, those ten months were just the platform to launch this year.

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