This series talks to inspiring All-Season Runners from around the world.
What's an All-Season Runner? That's what we call runners who don't let the wet, cold, wind or heat stop them from hitting their strides.
Here, we catch up with Bo Dudek, a runner who lives, travels and runs all across Europe.
How long have you been a runner?
I've always been running, from early childhood, but I'd probably use the label 'runner' from when I started being more serious back in 2016. The first three years I was running 50% of my active time while doing mountain biking the other 50% of my active time. The past two years I've been running only.
What motivates you? And what pushes you to get outdoors in all types of weather?
I'm very competition minded. However, competition doesn't need to be an actual event with official results... It can simply be a weekly run with friends, with whom I like to compare. Being able to fight for who's best on the day is the drive, that pushes me some extra - both when sun is shining and when rain is falling. That said, in the past years I've been rather active on social media, and more and more people following me have told me directly that they started running because of me. Getting this feedback is...fuel. Many times stronger than just beating a friend every Tuesday!
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as a runner?
I'm intrigued to point at some race result, but actually the day some months back a guy told me: "I run because of you. You inspire me!". This is my greatest achievement. And you know - I wanna do that again and again.
Has COVID-19 changed your outdoor lifestyle?
No, not really. Together with my wife I live full-time in a small camper while travelling Europe. We go from beaches in Greece to mountains in Turkey. From hills in Norway to muddy paths in Denmark. As it's a quite small camper, we spend 6-8 hours outside every day - this on top of the time spent running. We rarely get together with loads of people, and most of the time I run alone. But when thinking of it COVID-19 might have made it even more clear to me, that staying healthy by exercising is not just good and nice to the human body.. it's actually needed.
If you had to name a few great places to run based on your travels, what would they be?
That's a tough one. Well, for sure Norway as there are so many places to run. So many paths and very well marked as well. The southern coastline of Portugal is also insanely beautiful. And the high mountains in Greece are spectacular. There are so many places that make the endorphins tap dance on my brain!
You recently posted on Instagram about the significant gains you've made around vital lung capacity. When did you decide to start focusing on that? And how did you go about improving your capacity?
I've always been a bit into biohacking. My wife has a solid education [in] functional medicine, so when I started doing 20-25 competitions a few years back, I was a guinea pig quite a lot of the time. This opened up my eyes to alternatives from just training. Tracking heart rate variability is one I've stuck to for years now, together with breath training for the past 6-8 months. Breath training can be rather simple, but the impact is massive. Keep in mind, when you train for running, you'll see the results only when you actually run. When you train for better breathing, you'll feel the results 24/7, 365. This means better training. Better everyday. Better sleep. It's really insane that it's not more widely used.
It's not only about capacity though it's a simple parameter to use for comparing, but also about strength when breathing.
Fun fact: Did you know that when you're holding your breath, then eventually give up - it's not because the lungs need oxygen. It is the Co2 which triggers the urge to breathe, and we refer this 'urge to breathe' as contractions.
What tips would you give to someone looking to do the same?
There are many ways, and I'm using a great - but a bit expensive - device called AiroFit. It's worth every single penny for sure, but curious people not willing to put money in anything before knowing where it goes, I'd for sure recommend some of the free breathing apps out there. I don't have any specific names for the apps, but there are several that can help you focus on breathing. Searching for 'square breathing' will get you an idea.
Are you training for any big races?
Not really. As mentioned we live full time in our camper and travel. Our plans are non-existing. This means that I can't and won't make plans for a race further than 10-14 days in the future. The bad part is that I never go to big races, the good part is that I'm very open to small local races that I discover on my way. With this I get to connect to so many local runners. Sometimes a few days after a race I get to run with the runners from a race again, if we chose to stay a few days after a race. A great example is some weeks back in Norway, where we were out buying groceries, and there on the door there was a race poster. I registered, and less than 12 hours later I was in the middle of a 8k / + 1.000m uphill competition against hundreds of local runners. Amazing experience!