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3:53 Miler Craig Engels on Training for Speed and his ’80s-era Mustache

Craig Engels is one of the biggest personalities in track and field. He’s also a 3:53 miler who loves to crush opponents on the track.


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Craig is a man who gives tours of his 1983 Toyota New Horizons RV while wearing a leopard print coat and sporting a mullet.

Yes, there’s video:

You might know Craig as the 2013 Pan-American Jr. Games 1500m champion or the 4th place finisher at the 2016 US Olympic Trials in the 1500m. More recently, Craig won the USATF indoor mile and set a blazing 3:53 mile PR.

His list of personal bests is eye-popping:

  • 800m: 1:46:03
  • Mile: 3:53.93
  • 5k: 14:20.27

Craig is a fun guy to talk with because he doesn’t take running too seriously. He’s a fierce competitor but you’ll also see how his running really took off in college when he was able to have fun with his team.

(it’s funny how you perform better when you’re having more fun outside of training…)

He also doesn’t take himself too seriously, which I find incredibly refreshing. He rocks a mullet and an absolutely perfect 1980’s style Burt Reynolds mustache. The RV only came after the mustache because he wanted to keep the 80’s theme going.

Today, Craig is gearing up for a productive outdoor track season with his first race in May.

Craig Engels on Speed (and getting kicked off his XC team)

Craig Engels

In this conversation, Craig and I discuss a whole host of issues:

  • How he got hooked on running as a high schooler
  • Why his transfer to Ole Miss in college catapulted his career
  • Training specifics: mileage, workouts, long runs, and more!

But we’re not just talking about his running. Craig is hilarious and we also talk about how he got kicked off his high school cross country team, the shenanigans that almost cost me my captainship of the cross country team, and why having fun is key to success.

Resources & Links from the show:

This was a fun, different, and informal conversation that I really enjoyed. I hope you do, too!

This episode was also made possible by Inside Tracker, who is offering a 10% discount on any of their tests with code strengthrunning.

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