Global Running Project: Jamaal Jones, Brooklyn, NY
What's a running goal you are working on right now?
The running goal I'm currently working on is to run under 1:30 this October in the Rock & Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon.
What keeps you motivated?
I find motivation in the entire running community, from stories of weight loss to the runner trying to tap into unfulfilled athletic potential. Lately I have been inspired by the achievements of runners that have more muscle mass than the ideal endurance athlete. The achievements of "The Iron Cowboy" James Lawrence is an example. There are also a couple of people on Instagram that I follow because they run incredible times while their body would be classified "Mesomorph." I have seen so many examples of people choosing not to be concerned with being completely fit. The weightlifter that can not run 1 mile on the treadmill and a runner that can not execute proper push-up form. Now of course if the goal of the athlete is to be in the "Elite" ranks of their endeavor I can understand specialization, but for those of us seeking true fitness, I do not think it makes sense to be one dimensional with our fitness pursuits. I want to be so much faster while being able to perform calisthenics or execute a bench press without struggle.
How long have you been running?
I have been running for about 3 years....the previous years do not count because I would only run maybe once every two weeks...lol.
What got you into running?
I always enjoyed running and always enjoyed watching the NYC and Olympic Marathons from when I was a child, but I think it was the film "Marathon Man" that really gave me the bug. The opening shot is of Abebe Bikila's win in the Tokyo 64 Olympics. It grabbed my attention and I had to know who this man breaking the tape is. Dustin Hoffman plays the lead in the film and I love his character. At one point it is his marathon training that saves his life!
What's one of your proudest running accomplishments?
My proudest moment is my P.R. In the half marathon. I thought to myself, " If you can run like this with a mileage total of 15 miles a week with no coaching, speed work or hill repeats, I should get my act together and train properly; I can only improve."
Preferred running shoes?
My favorite running shoe is the New Balance Zante. The upper almost feels custom made for my foot and the cushioning is soft while also giving me a sensation of connectivity to the ground.
Favorite song to run with right now?
My favorite song to run to right now is Public Enemy's "Rebel Without a Pause."
Favorite running song of all time?
My favorite running song of all time is a tie between James Brown's "Give It Up or Turn It Loose (In the Jungle Remix) and Led Zeppelin's "Achilles Last Stand." Those two tracks are "Propulsive!"
What snack do you reach for before a run?
A snack that I will eat before a run will usually be an apple with a handful of almonds or steel cut oatmeal with peanut butter. The latter being for longer runs.
After a long run, what do you like to eat?
After a long run I often consume a protein shake (Coconut milk, protein powder, banana, peanut butter and sometimes Maca or Cacao powder). Or if i'm running in the morning, I will eat my usual breakfast of eggs or egg whites and black beans.
How do you balance running and the rest of your life?
I balance life and running by being flexible. Life is full of the unexpected and it owes you nothing. So to complete everything that I need to get done, I run early in the morning or late at night if I have to.
How has running made an impact on your life?
Running has impacted my life by giving me an almost limitless source of energy. What I did not foresee is some of my friends showing interest in the sport and wanting to talk to me about their shoe choices and training.
My favorite quote: "I've learned that people will forget what you have said, people will forget what you have done but people will never forget how you made them feel."
If you were an animated character, who/what would you be?
If I were animated I would hope to be "Afro Samurai."
What advice would you give new runners?
My advice to new runners is take your time in terms of increasing your mileage and seek new information from your fellow runners and the Internet. There is so much wonderful information available from runners of every sort, coaches and those doing scientific research in the sport. This running community is a global and vibrant community and you can easily find a run group and meet new friends if you like. Enjoy the process because it is uniquely yours.