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Health & Fit NBC’s Willie Geist Is Ready for His First Marathon—He Hopes

16:35  04 november  2021
16:35  04 november  2021 Source:   runnersworld.com

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Finishing a two-mile run back in 2020 seemed like a job well done for the anchor of Sunday Today With Willie Geist. He shared his accomplishments—which was a lot for him at the time—with his wife. Fast forward to now, Geist will be running 26.2 miles in the TCS New York City marathon on Sunday, November 7. This will be his first marathon, with the mashup of confidence and doubt and wisdom acquired through training that comes with it.

Willie Geist trained learned about the mental side of training as he prepared for the New York City Marathon to raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. © NBC - Getty Images Willie Geist trained learned about the mental side of training as he prepared for the New York City Marathon to raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Geist has always liked being active and playing sports. But running? “It’s not false humility to say that even the one-mile Thanksgiving Turkey Trot was pushing it for me as a runner,” Geist told Men’s Health.

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Still, in April of 2020, he and his wife “were looking for a little purpose,” as he puts it. The marathon sounded like a challenge.

“We said alright, let’s give this some meaning. My dad [author and journalist Bill Geist] has had Parkinson’s for about 30 years. So we said, ‘What if we could raise a bunch of money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation?’”

That two-mile run was one of the first in the training plan from Team Fox, which has a team of athletes racing the marathon and raising funds for Parkinson’s research every year.

The 2020 marathon might have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but for Geist, running wasn’t. He was surprised to get much more than he expected from putting in the miles.

“I knew there was no marathon, but honestly, I started to ‘get’ running. All the things people say that maybe sound annoying when you’re not a runner—the peace of it, the rhythm of it, the rush you get from running—I started to get it and enjoy being out there,” he said.

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Those feelings didn’t happen during every single run, of course. But the ups and downs, the tough parts, the problem solving, the pushing through—all those things that happen in marathon training seemed to energize, surprise, and reward him.


Video: Willie Geist set to run NYC Marathon in honor of his father, Bill Geist (TODAY)

“The thing I thought was going to be the most difficult—the physical distance—I’ve been able to do that because of a good plan and good training,” he said.

But your mind runs the marathon, too, and it has to be trained, he discovered. On one trail he runs, for instance, “it’s beautiful, but it does get a little monotonous. You come around a corner to a big stretch that looks a lot like the stretch you just finished. And then you come around the next corner and there’s another stretch. It can kind of play with your mind a little bit. But that’s also part of the training, which is to get your head in the place of ‘Okay, how do I get through this mile?’’

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Every time he questions if he can run the distance, he said he pictures his dad and what he’s gone through for 30 years.

“If any one of these miles or these steps can get us a little closer to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease…that’s enough motivation to sweep me across that finish line,” he said.

Geist does three shorter runs a week and one long one, with some cross-training in between, often accompanied by his Spotify playlist.

“It’s sort of a living, breathing document where I’ll drop a couple of songs I’m sick of and put some new ones in there. My kids—I have a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old, and obviously, by definition, they’re much cooler than I am—will drop in some good music that they like,” he said.

Even if they’re not traditionally upbeat running songs, “a song that my daughter and I share, or that my son and I share … they connect me to something. That gets in your head and brings a smile to your face and gets you moving or distracts you from the road a little bit.”

Other times, actually tuning into the road itself keeps him going. His days start impossibly early, so he carves out time from the afternoon to run. It gives him both a break and an unexpected energy lift.

“I spend my day doing television and researching and calling people and working, working, working,” he said. “Training is the time I’m not thinking about work, and maybe that’s part of why I have enjoyed it so much. There’s nothing else I can be doing. I’m not making a call, I’m not reading my email, I’m not listening to a press conference. It’s just me and the road, and I can just focus on that.”

Geist has been ticking off the miles, really hitting the mark on training. He knows every good plan has you run 20 miles, not 26.2 prior to the day. But like so many marathoners, he still wonders … is that enough?

“I asked everyone why I can’t just do a 26-mile run to see if I can do it, and no one will let me do it,” he said. “People I trust say, ‘You’ll see, you’ll see.’ So I’m purely taking their word for it. I’m excited.”

Training for the New York City Marathon has helped Molly Seidel regain 'a sense of normalcy' after her breakout Olympic performance .
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This is interesting!