Last weekend, 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 clocks out to roughly 57.5 seconds per 400-meter lap on the track, about 15.65 mph — insanely speedy. For reference, the fastest time ever recorded is 3:43:13 run outdoors. Gregorek came in second place, close behind Yomif Kejelcha who ran a 3:47:01 at the Boston University Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC)/ Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) Championship. Gregorek is an Asics runner who ran for the Columbia University and then did a fifth year at University of Oregon (home of the famous Hayward Field, where the 2020 Olympic Trials for Track and Field will be). And running flows through his genes — his dad, John Gregorek Sr. was a two-time Olympian for the 5000-meters and his mom, Christine Gregorek, is a two-time NCAA champion. Since it was Gregorek’s final indoor run for the season, we chatted with him to find out how he’ll recover immediately following the race, plus in the interim between now and outdoor season.
“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.” The outdoor season brings more practices and training runs for the mile and 1500, or the metric equivalent of the mile (just 100 meters less than a complete mile on a 400-meter standard track).
Here’s all the gear Gregorek uses to cool down and recover after becoming the second American man to run a sub 3:50.
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.” Everyone’s resting heart rate is individualized, but ideally, you’re seeing lower numbers on your days off compared to 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 works to help over pronators — when you land on the outside edges of your shoes instead of closer to the middle of the ball of your foot. 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 on 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.” The foam roller has three speeds to help reach those deep tissues in your legs and glutes, plus at only 13-inches, you can throw this in your carry-on to use 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. 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. 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.” Pre-race, however, Gregorek is just like the rest of us and enjoys a good cup of coffee. He’s from a town close to Providence, RI, and will pick up a cup from either Dave’s Coffee or Bolt Coffee year-round.
“I do meditate pretty regularly. I like to use the Headspace app. The guy on there has a soothing voice. I find it helpful for just calming the mind and letting background noise settle before a big performance.”