It's no secret, we love our Ambassadors, and Zach Bush is no exception, because... well... he's exceptional! A Zensah Ambassador for years and an inspiring, high-performing, elite Athlete, Zach is passionate and hardworking on the trails and during races and off the competitive circuit. Zach is constantly showing us the nuanced, varied, and interesting ways he stays moving, positive, growing, and RUNNING! From swimming to yoga, to ultra running on trails AND roads, Zach is the definition of a driven and multi-faceted athlete. He is flexible and patient but he isn't afraid to take risks in running and in life! Read on to see our newest edition of Limitless Looks Like below because Limitless CERTAINLY Looks Like Zach Bush!
ZS: What is one thing you want people to know about you?
ZB: I rediscovered running in my mid-30s after a 15-year hiatus following a successful Jr. - high school career.
ZS: How did you get into running? Why do you run?
ZB:I have always been an athlete. Basketball and soccer were my favorite sports until Jr. High. A combination of winning the 6th race P.E. 1-mile race (*that the school's cross country coach was watching) and said XC coach telling my parents that cross country would help me stay in shape for soccer (*he was crafty), got me out there. I hated it at first, but not being good at it made me want to be the best. I went from back-of-pack in 7th grade, to one of (if not the) fastest 8th grader in our division and at my school (Varisty included).
ZS: What’s one running hack/trick/tip/advice you can share?
ZB: Try to negative split all of your races, unless you're running the 800 meters. That goes for 1 mile - 100 miles. Sometimes you can get away with it, but it will usually bite you more times than not!
Oh, and your easy & recovery runs are too fast. Slow down. Go easy on easy days, and fast on fast days. Run slower to run faster. It isn't Strava Sexy (*at best, I am indifferent about Strava because I have seen people get really irrational over it and also injured, a lot), and it takes time to see benefits, but you'll run faster races and you'll be injured way less.
ZS: You have a ton of races on your list for this year (Chicago Marathon, Lake Pleasant Triathlon, Ironman 70.3- Indian Wells) Can you talk about these races, why you’re participating (or participated), and why you’re excited for them!
ZB:My background is track/XC, but from age 35-37, it was roads. When the Pandemic hit, in March 2020, I was set to run my 4th marathon (my first was Jan. 2019). I was in 2:40-2:45 shape, but injury a few days before the world shut down, halted those goals. Instead of letting myself get down, I started running further. I had a really successful 15 months of ultra-marathon running in Florida, Arizona (where I now live), and Utah. I even ran a 16:35:30 for my one and only 100-mile trail race (er, 101 miles to be exact.... not like anyone's counting) in Jan 2021!
I want a break from the ultras for a bit, I am excited to return to the road, and re-qualify for Boston Marathon when I run in Chicago (my "A" goal race). I have also been doing a ton of cross-training for Chicago because I want to start to explore Tris, as well. So I am going to do those with the fitness I built from 6 months of cross-training marathon training.
ZS: What’s your most important training technique?
ZB: 80/20 training. For running, I run 80% of my runs at easy effort (usually zone 2, for me sub 130 HR). My recovery runs are usual 110 HR and under. I don't get too caught up in HR, but by feel. And, unless I am tired or coming off a race, that is usually my BPM. This helps build a huge aerobic capacity, which has always benefited me greatly. It takes time and patience, and it's not "Strava sexy. 20% of the weekly runs are "hard," anaerobic. This is the "engine" work. You will be fresher for these faster, more intense workouts and will recover quicker (and be injured less) if you balance with the 80% easier running. Remember, easy running is actually hard!
ZS: What are your Zensah must-have products? Why?
ZB: CALF COMPRESSIONS, BABY! Give me ALL the calf compressions. I wear them a few times a week for runs, nearly every run when I am in peak weeks of training. I also wear them for recovery! For cold races, I have worn arm compressions. I wore them at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, and I hope it's cool enough to wear them again in 2022. Oh, and Grit2 knee highs!
ZS: What is one quote you live by? Or a personal mantra? (can apply to running or life!)
ZB: "To give anything less than your best, is the sacrifice the gift."
ZS: What is your favorite place/race you’ve ever ran?
ZB: Even though I had to pull out of the race after 46 miles, due to food poisoning, my favorite place to race was Bryce Canyon and the surroundings (up to 10,000 ft in UT). My second was a 15-mile training run last fall up Humphrey's Peak (12,600 ft) with a buddy and fellow ultra runner, Peter Mortimer - AZ's highest peak & surrounding trails above SnowBowl, like Locketmeadow /Weatherford trails in a lot of fresh snow! (Flagstaff, AZ). Running with spikes and poles were fun (my first and only time using them) because on some of the downhills (basically snow ski trails), it was like skiing. It was magical.
ZS: What other hobbies do you love (in addition to the running of course):
ZB: Besides swim/bike/run, I love sports (being a GA/FL Southern boy, college football and basketball), Tampa Bay Bolts, weight lifting, healthy eating & living, reading biographies and memoirs, and making people laugh!
ZS: Where can people find you? (on social media, on favorite trails, and at upcoming races!)
ZB: In my second year out west, I take the summers off from trails (*Western Diamondbacks out in AZ), but I love to run the Superstition Mountains/Tonto Forest (Mesa), Flagstaff/Sedona, and Tucson (*trail running paradise). You can also find me running or biking the roads of all three cities. This summer I plan to do some all-comer track meets (*if I can find them) and a couple of local 5-10Ks before the Fall.
You'll see me at Chicago Marathon and if you're at Ironman 70.3- Indian Wells, CA
ZS: Zensah’s motto is #withoutlimitz meaning we want you to feel limitless in everything you do. What does limitless look like for you? Tell us why:
My limitless looks like following my heart and not compromising for myself or others.
Running is an extension of my life and where I am at. Either my running will reveal something in me that I am doing well, poorly, or am just learning about being revealed to me. Likewise, life can positively or negatively impact my running in terms of my level of "buy in" in a race. Mindset is everything. I cannot run (race) for anyone other than yourself. The same goes for whatever else is an extension of your purpose. I create and define my purpose. If I follow my heart and don't get caught up in doing what others expect (or are comfortable seeing me do), then I will suceed. And success needs to be defined by me, not anyone else. So, in a way, I can't fail. I have been on both sides of this coin. Today I choose to be limitless vs. defined (running and otherwise).