Ohno to run NYC Marathon
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) Apolo Anton Ohno is still in good shape a year after his last Olympics, recently racing up the steps of the Empire State Building for a TV show.
He also knows how to train for elite-level events, the proof is in all those medals that have been hung around his neck.
But when he thinks about his latest challenge, Ohno simply shakes his head, wondering what he got himself into.
Running 26 miles in the New York City Marathon is a daunting task, even for the most decorated Winter Olympian of all-time.
"People always say to me, you're an Olympic athlete, you're fit already," the speedskating star said from Phoenix International Raceway, where he was grand marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race over the weekend.
"In some ways, yes, but it's different. My longest race is 2 1/2 minutes and my shortest race is 40 seconds, so training for those is a little bit different."
Ohno decided to run the marathon at the urging of Subway guy Jared Fogle.
Fogle ran his first marathon last year and urged the company's other famous fans to run it this year.
All but one said no.
"Everybody turned him down," Ohno said. "Obviously, me, I'm like, 'OK, I'll do it. I'll try it out.' So I decided to do it."
Finishing will require Ohno to completely alter his training and mindset.
For speedskating, his training includes lots of intervals, short, aggressive - in Ohno's words, "ballistic" - movements to prepare for the bursts of power needed on the ice. Ohno mastered that type of training, winning eight Olympic medals.
Getting ready for a marathon will be more about building endurance, stretching out rather that building up muscles, getting the body ready for a long haul instead of short bursts.
It'll also require a change in mentality, switching from the hard-as-you-can-all-the-time mindset of speedskating to the on and on and on slog of distance running.
"I'm not going to jump out of the starting gates like I'm doing the 500 (meters)," he said. "People will say, 'Apolo's looking amazing ... now he's going to the port-a-potty. What's going on?' So I do have to change my mentality. I'm going to have to break it up in segments."
Ohno has been busy since winning three more medals at the Vancouver Olympics last winter, traveling the country for numerous speaking engagements, hitting 55 cities in 17 days to promote his book, "Zero Regrets," and running his own nutritional supplements company.
The former "Dancing with the Stars" winner said he hasn't slept in the same place three days straight since last February and figures to busy again this year, on top of his marathon training for the Nov. 6 race.
After it's all over, he'll sit down and figure out if he wants to train for the 2014 Sochi Games.
Ohno will be 31 then, but figures he's still physically able to compete on the elite level. He'll need a solid two years of training to have a shot, so Ohno plans to make a decision one way or the other by the end of the year.
"I'm just focusing on things I've always wanted to focus on outside the sport right now," he said. "After the marathon, come December this year, that's when I'll really make the decision whether I want to pursue another Games or not. Either way, I'm going to be involved."
Until then, he's got some training to do.