Last weekend, professional runner Johnny Gregorek became the second American ever to run an indoor mile in less than three minutes and fifty seconds. His final time of 3:49:90, completed at the pro portion of a collegiate conference at Boston University, clocks out to about 15.65 mph — insanely speedy — bringing him just .09 seconds behind the fastest indoor mile by an American man and 6th in line for fastest indoor mile in the world. The World Record was earned by Ethiopian Yamif Kejelcha the same race last week in Boston when he ran a 3:47:01. For reference, the fastest mile ever run was a 3:43:13, completed outdoors.
Gregorek, an Asics runner, ran for the Columbia University and the University of Oregon (home of the famous Hayward Field, where the 2020 Olympic Trials for Track and Field will be) until 2015, when he graduated. His dad, John Gregorek Sr., was a two-time Olympian in the 5000-meters and his mom, Christine Gregorek, is a two-time NCAA champion.
“After a race, if it went well, I will treat myself to something [like] burgers, fries, a beer,” Gregorek says. “Recovery for me usually involves getting a good meal in me, sleeping well and running very easy for a day or two after. After that mile, I immediately had dinner with friends and then tried to get a good night sleep. It can be a challenge after getting so much adrenaline going. Now I’m still just jogging around easy because it’s my downtime for a week or two.”
Since it was Gregorek’s final indoor run for the season, we chatted with him to find out what gear he finds most pivotal in his post-race recovery.
Monitoring your heart rate after a race is a great way to keep track of your fitness level — the faster your number returns to normal, the better. Gregorek uses his Polar M430 all the time. “It tracks my heart rate, and I’ll check in on that on easy days to make sure I’m keeping it low and recovering,” he says. Everyone’s resting heart rate is different, but ideally, you’re seeing lower numbers on your days off than when you’re in the middle of a HIIT workout.
Asics GT 2000
As an Asics athlete, Gregorek warms up and cools down in his Asics GT 2000 training shoes or DS trainers. The GT 2000 are best for over pronators (people who land on the outside edges of their shoes instead of closer to the middle) because they have Asics’s Trusstic System Technology with Guidance Line technology to help make your runs more efficient and propel you off the ground faster. The DuoMax midsole is supportive yet soft, and the gel cushioning under the toe and heel provide added support to help with recovery after a race. That added cushion can help keep your energy levels high.
In addition to getting a weekly sports massage for an hour, Gregorek does some self-myofascial release as well uses a foam roller. “It’s an awesome vibrating foam roller. Nice and soft and it has multiple vibration settings. Awesome for hitting those tight spots and trigger points before or after a run,” he says. The foam roller has three speeds to help reach the deep tissues in your legs and glutes, plus at only 13-inches, you can throw this in your carry-on for after every race.
Garden of Life Recovery and Protein Bars
“I use Garden of Life products for energy bars, recovery bars and protein powder,” Gregorek says. “All of its products are plant-based and taste great. I don’t use any gels or anything like that.” Garden of Life products are clean, organic and non-GMO as well as NSF for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport certified, meaning it’s free of banned substances, which is sometimes an issue with protein powders.
Athletes: they’re just like us. “Before a race, I like to eat something easily digestible that will still energize me,” he says, “I do lots of healthy grain and rice bowls. I’ll have a Clif Bar and a banana a couple of hours out, and that’s pretty much it.”
Gatorade Electrolyte Powder
“I have used 5-hour energy a few hours before a race here and there, but I also just drink coffee,” says Gregorek, “After a race, I’ll try to rehydrate well. I like to use the Gatorade electrolyte powder to replace everything I lost during a hard effort.” Gregorek’s place to order coffee is in his hometown of Providence, RI, at either Dave’s Coffee or Bolt Coffee.
Gregorek meditates regularly. To do so, he uses the Headspace app. “The guy on there has a soothing voice,” he says, “I find it helpful for just calming the mind and letting background noise settle before a big performance.”