Brian Reynolds: Powerhouse on Prosthetics - 07/08/2020


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Brian Reynolds - World Record Powerhouse on Prosthetics

Brian Reynolds is a world record holder in several running distances despite not running until after college, and oh yeah, he’s a double amputee. Brian initially didn’t even walk much, never mind run, because he was convinced it just wasn’t possible for him. Instead he pursued powerlifting, accomplishing a deadlift of 485 pounds while weighing only 135 pounds himself.

How did Brian morph from powerlifter to running record holder? It all started with a fundraising hiking challenge in the Grand Canyon, an epic setting for a life-changing experience. Brian discovered a love for endurance, which eventually led him to running despite his prosthetic legs not being remotely suitable for athletic pursuits. He persevered through the pain, and incredibly, just three weeks after he ran his first mile, he ran his first marathon. Brian emphatically recommends you not follow this training plan.

Brian’s story is truly fascinating, and he also shares with Coach Claire how he’s staying inspired and finding meaning during the pandemic. He’s definitely not short on motivation! Brian also discusses his approach to alcohol and training and talks about his current work for the nonalcoholic brewing company, Athletic Brewing, who is generously offering a 15% discount for listeners of this podcast until August 10th. See the list of resources mentioned in this podcast for the discount code.

Questions Brian is asked:

2:54 You have an amazing story of starting off in weightlifting then transitioning to endurance running. Your accomplishments would be interesting in their own right, but they are even more fascinating because you are a double amputee. Can you talk about your history, beginning with how you lost your lower legs as a child?

4:29 Were you into sports and activities right away or did that happen later in life?

5:51 How much could you lift?

6:08 What did you like most about weightlifting? What did it do for you?

6:43 What were the challenges of walking during the time you were weightlifting?

7:40 How did all that change for you?

9:50 Why didn’t you quit running given the effects of running with prosthetics not designed for a lot of activity? What was inside your head that made you want to keep going through all that pain?

10:44 When did you finally get new prosthetics that didn’t cause you running-related problems?

11:39 Was running a marathon a few weeks after getting your new prosthetic legs a good idea?

11:49 Tell me what that first marathon was like.

12:53 How sore were you afterward?

13:08 You’ve made a lot of progress since that first marathon. You actually broke the world record at the time for a double amputee in the marathon with a time of 3:03 in Chicago. Can you talk about your progress and how you went from four-and-a-half hours to almost three hours?

15:51 What have you done as far as training? Have you gotten a coach, or how have you really managed to lower your time so much?

17:49 How has your training changed since the pandemic?

18:23 Do you have any tips for runners that are struggling right now with motivation with no races?

20:23 You work for Athletica Brewing, a non-alcoholic beer company that is becoming super popular lately. Can you talk a little bit about the company and what you do there?

22:38 What gave you the idea to not drink during training cycles?

23:29 Do you find it’s easier to be black and white about drinking/not drinking versus trying to moderate drinking during training?

24:24 Do you miss powerlifting at all?

24:45 What is the line between lifting too heavy and just right for an endurance athlete?

25:49 How many days a week are you lifting when you’re in running training?

26:08 Are gyms opening up yet in New Jersey?

26:24 What is on your plans next? Any running-related goals that you have in the future?

Questions I ask everyone:

27:26 If you could go back and talk to yourself when you first started running, what advice would you give yourself?

28:17 What is the greatest gift that running has given you?

28:27 Where can listeners connect with you?

Quotes by Brian:

“It was definitely for me one of the hardest things I’ve ever done going from not really walking more than a block here and there to I think it was a 16 or a 17-mile hike in the Grand Canyon.”

“The prosthetist said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘I want to be the best runner an amputee can be,’ and he said, ‘We can make that happen.’”

“The half marathon has always been my favorite distance. It’s like the blend between the speed and the endurance.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

A Step Ahead Prosthetics

Team in Training

City Coach

Use code CLAIRE for a 15% discount at Athletic Brewing until August 10th, 2020.

Runners Connect Winner's Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

Follow Brian on:


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