Scott Fauble worked at Portland Running Company this summer after finishing up his eligibility in track and cross-country at the University of Portland. You might remember him from, among other things, his big black boot he hobbled around in while recovering from a broken foot. Scott recently departed to pursue his dreams as a professional runner, but he will continue to appear on this website as a guest blogger, offering training tips and insights to make all of us smarter, stronger, faster runners. Here’s a little background on Scott.
What is your current occupation?
I am currently a professional runner, which, as I have come to realize more and more lately, requires a further explanation. As it stands currently, I have a contract with a professional running team, Northern Arizona Elite, and that team has contracts with other companies, mainly Hoka One One and a training log app called Training Peaks. So I get paid to represent NAZ Elite in races and on social media. I am also currently working with my agent to find other sponsors to partner with.
How did you get there?
I started running in elementary school as a way to improve as a soccer player. I quickly found out that I was pretty good at running, and that I really liked to do it. My success in running and my love of it persisted into high school, and by my senior year I was being recruited pretty heavily by a few of the best NCAA programs in the country. I ended up deciding to go the University of Portland because it was a great combination between good academics and good athletics, and because I bonded with the head coach, Rob Conner, really quickly.
When did you get the sense that you might be able to pursue running after college?
I guess I kind of always knew I wanted to be a professional athlete, when I was young it was soccer or basketball, but by the time I got to high school it was pretty obvious that running was going to be my best chance to be a professional. I remember growing up watching the Bolder Boulder on TV every year or the few track meets that made it onto ESPN and really idolizing athletes like Alan Webb, Adam Goucher, Bob Kennedy, and Alan Culpepper. I’ve had the dream to be a professional for a long time, and I think the fact that I have had a lot of support from coaches and teammates, and a lot of success, really fueled that goal and allowed me to see it as a possibility from a very young age.
What are your current goals with running? When will we see you race?
Currently, I am just restarting hard training as I am coming off an injury. So, I’ve only been doing hard workouts for about two and half weeks. I do have some races on the schedule for the late fall. I am going to run a 5k in Phoenix on November 1 as a rust-buster/ tuneup for the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon two weeks later. After that I will be running at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December in San Francisco with some of my teammates, and after that my schedule is kind of up in the air. As far as goals, my short-term goal is to adjust to my new situation and get back to the level I was before I was injured, my long term goals are to make the Olympic Trials on the track this spring and to really crush a half marathon in the next year or so.
What have been the high points of your running career so far?
I’ve been really lucky to have had a lot of highlights in my running career, but I think one of the best moments was when I qualified for nationals in the 10k on the track in my second year at UP. I wasn’t projected to qualify past the regional race in Austin, and with about 10 laps to go I was pretty far off the top group. Somehow I was able to catch the leaders and finish sixth in the race and qualify for nationals. I think that was probably the most I’ve ever been able to make myself suffer, so that’s super memorable. The other highlight was this past fall when my teammates and I finished third as a team at NCAA cross-country nationals. It was a great way to finish my college cross country career and an amazing experience to accomplish such a cool thing with some of my best friends.
Where are you from? If you weren’t a pro runner, what would you be doing?
I’m originally from Golden, Colorado, which is a small town west of Denver. I had a really adventurous childhood and grew up skiing, hiking, or camping pretty regularly, and I still love to do all of these things. In fact, if I wasn’t a pro-runner, odds are that I would be a ski-bum, park ranger, or work at REI for the employee discount. I just love the outdoors and nature.
What’s the daily schedule of a professional runner like?
I meet up with the team in the mornings and either go for an easy run or we do a hard workout. Then I go home and stretch and do some strength work and roll out. A few times a week, we have an organized afternoon practice where we work on our biomechanics or do strength training with our chiropractors/physical therapists, and sometimes my coach wants me to do a second run—it kind of depends on the training schedule for the week. During the day I am pretty free and actually looking for another job, so if anyone knows of someone looking for some help during the day a few times a week in Flagstaff, let me know!
How are you transitioning to running strictly in HOKA?
I was a little worried at first because they look so big and different, but to be honest I haven’t had any trouble with them. They are pretty much a normal running shoe, but they have a ton of cushioning, which is always nice.
Tell us a little about Flagstaff. Why is it a running mecca? Would a Portlander like it there?
Flagstaff is great, for a ton of reasons. First of all, it sits at about 7,000 feet above sea level, which is great for elite runners because altitude has been shown to be super beneficial when it comes to developing aerobic strength. Additionally, you can drive to places that are only 3,000 or 4,000 feet above sea level if you want to do really hard workouts and get your legs used to turning over at a faster pace. That combined with the seemingly endless dirt roads and well-maintained trails have made Flagstaff a popular place for elite athletes to live or visit for 6–8 weeks at a time. It’s crazy because you can show up to a community run and go for a run with one of the many Olympians from all over the world who live here.
I think that someone from Portland would really like Flagstaff as long as they were outdoorsy and adventurous. If you want to go to a fashion show and a play then Flagstaff probably isn’t for you, but if you enjoy hiking/running/being outdoors/local breweries, then I think that a Portlander would fit in just fine.
All that being said, leaving Portland was really hard. I made a lot of really good friends in my time in Portland, and my girlfriend is still back there, so it was hard to leave. I loved my time in Portland, and I love the Pacific Northwest. Portland will always feel a little like home to me.
How’s altitude treating you?
Altitude has been hard, not quite as hard as I expected it to be. I thought that I would struggle more, but I am from Colorado, so I have experience living and training at altitude, which I think helps. It’s been probably 4 years since I was back in Colorado for more than 6 weeks, however, so it’s been a while since I fully got adjusted to altitude. As it stands I have been here for two and a half weeks, so I have started to adjust. To get the full benefits and get used to altitude you probably need to be at altitude for 6 weeks or so. The hardest part has been the hills. Even the smallest hill takes your breath away and not in a figurative way, although most of the runs I’ve been on have been beautiful!
How’d you like working here at PRC this summer?
My time at PRC was great. I think I was kind of stuck in a bubble in my time at UP, and I lost sight of what 99% of runners experience. It was great to expand my knowledge base, and I learned a lot about shoes, biomechanics, and just the sport of running in general. I also really value the relationships I made at PRC. There are some really cool people who work there, and it was awesome to make so many new friends.
Tell us a little about your philosophy of training. Does it translate to the weekend warrior?
My training philosophy…. This is a hard one because the more I learn about running the more questions I have and the more I realize I have so much more to learn. I guess, when it comes to my own personal training I believe that no training system should be described as either strength-based or speed-based. Good training systems should incorporate both strength and speed; it’s only the proportions that should change. I also really believe that a training plan should be tailored fit to an athlete as opposed to an athlete trying to conform to a pre-established training plan. As far as how this applies to the average runner, well, you can tune in to my future blog posts for more in-depth analysis and hopefully you can glean some great training tips along the way.