Nick Thompson: WIRED Editor in Chief - 05/13/2020

Nicholas Thompson: Faster in Your Forties


Nick is the editor-in-chief of WIRED magazine and former editor of He’s a contributor to CBS News, CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, and he’s interviewed just about every major tech company CEO out there. Nick is also a fast marathon runner who in 2019, was ranked as one of the top 30 Masters marathoners in the world after clocking a 2:29 in the Chicago Marathon, a personal best he achieved in his 40s. 


In this episode, Coach Claire talks to Nick about how he broke through his marathon pace plateau and psychological barriers by changing his technology, his workouts, as well as getting some surprise coaching assistance from Nike. But more than just going deep into the tools, techniques, and training tweaks he made, Nick talks about how his journey with the marathon started and how it’s inextricably entwined with his childhood, his relationship with his complicated father, and how he now sees himself. 


It’s not easy to run faster later in life, but Nick’s story shows that it is absolutely possible. It takes a combination of many things including better training, better technology, as well as “belief and want”, to dramatically change your results, even if you're in your 40s or beyond. 


Questions Nick is asked:


2:22 You’re in New York City. Are you still run-commuting to work or are you mostly at home these days?


2:56 Can you explain how your father both inspired you and how you also didn’t want to follow in his footsteps?


5:27 In your 40s, the experts at Nike came up to you and asked if they could help you get better. Can you talk a little bit about that experience?


9:12 With all the changes, there’s so many variables, you can’t really attribute any one thing to your success, but do you think it’s just a combination of all the things you mentioned or is there something that stands out as, “Yes, this helped me get faster?”


14:19 Maybe in your 30s, you just didn’t believe it or you didn’t want it as much as you want it now. Could it be something like that?


16:25 What changed between not knowing your pace / effort when you were younger and now monitoring your heart-rate?

18:30 I wrote down a quote from one of your articles that you wrote. “The quantified self is often a neurotic soul.” And that could pretty much describe most runners. So how do you balance that? All the tech is awesome, but doesn’t it make you a little crazy?


20:28 How do you deal with the what ifs? 


25:20 What is your feeling on this? What is the allure of the marathon distance?


26:43 You’re not in New York right now but you used to commute, and I would love to talk about run-commuting. Can you give me some tips about run commuting and how to do it for someone who’s thinking about it?


30:44 Assuming races are going on, are you planning on doing Chicago, or something else?


32:11 What advice would you give yourself back when you started running?

34:25 What is the best gift running has given you?

35:24 How can people connect with you?

Quotes by Nick:


“I think that running very fast both improves musculature and helps me psychologically.”


“Having a consistent heart rate monitor, and I used one on my arm, giving me constant feedback of not just feel but how fast I was going, was incredibly helpful, both in helping me sort of adjudicate workouts, and two, pacing in the marathons.”


“There had to be kind of a psychological intervention, which I think happened with the new training, the new coaching, the new workouts, that got me subconsciously to accept that my ambition wasn’t just to run as fast as I’d run before I got sick, but that I could go faster.”


“I feel like the heart rate monitor gives you assurance; the watch gives you fear.”


“One of the issues I have as a runner, and I’m sure you have and others have, is that it’s a hobby. I don’t make any money off this.”


“The perfect Nicholas Thompson, perfectly trained, what is his actual top marathon performance? Could I have made the Olympic trials? Probably.”


“I think what has made success late in life possible is failure early in life.”


“One of the things I think I’ve done a good job at is making my training efficient. And the way I’ve made my training efficient is I run to work; I run home from work.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run


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Mentioned in this podcast: 


Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

WIRED magazine article: Aging Marathoner Tries to Run Fast After 40

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