Tahir Bradley Consistency and Success.
Consistency, it’s a term that you will hear almost every runner mention. Consistency usually yields the highest results for us as runners, it’s how we obtain our goals, our personal records and most of all our successes as runners. I’ve been running consistently now for close to 5 years and as much as we don’t mention it there are runners we all look to for inspiration daily, runners that we see where we say to ourselves if he/she can do then I can work towards that as well. It is possible and it is obtainable. One of those runners I’ve always followed is Tahir Bradley. Tahir is a prime example of what running and consistency are and what can come with it if you stick to the plan and the mileage. This month we have the pleasure of chatting it up with Tahir Bradley as he gives us a peek into his running, his journey, and most of all his success and consistency.
MSM: Correct me if I’m wrong but you’re not new to the run game, you actually have a bit of experience in your past as a runner. Where did Tahir’s run journey begin?
Tahir: Technically my running started my freshman year in high school. But since middle school, I would always try out for the junior Olympics in the sprints. I failed every time. When I look back it was because I was running the wrong race. I should have been running 800 meters and up. I started running cross country and then 800 meters and 1600 meters in the indoor and outdoor seasons.
MSM: As we get older we tend to slow down physically which essentially leads us to 2 very important crossroads which are to;
- Continue to be physically active in order to prevent issues with our health and remain “healthy”.
- To simply be satisfied with the results we will yield by simply sitting on the couch and being lazy which essentially leads to all the physical and mental ailments that will come with it.
For you, what was it that helped and made you be the consistent runner that you are today?
Tahir: I always believe in just getting up and following the plan and trusting the process. Also, strength training is a game-changer. It has helped slow the aging process and injuries.
MSM: One of the hardest things we can do as runners is to run a marathon but you’ve been pretty consistent when it comes to marathon running. Give our readers some insight into your running when it comes to marathons. What have been some of your favorites and most memorable ones?
Tahir: NYC was my first so that will always have a special place in my heart. Chicago is one of my favorites as well. The crowd support and their expo is awesome. However, the turning point in my marathon racing was a smaller race the New Jersey marathon. I went into this marathon in hopes of breaking 4 hours in the marathon. I followed the plan. Enjoy the first 15 miles then go to work. That’s what I did. It was the first marathon that I have ever run the second half of the marathon faster than the first half for a 26-minute pr. I went from 4:02 marathon to 3:36 at this marathon. I couldn’t believe it.
MSM: Your run journey has progressively led you to become a faster runner over the years leading you to becoming one of the BMR Venoms. For those that don’t know venom are fast runners in Black Men run over the age of 40. This actually leads to my next two questions. How did you find and join Black Men Run and give us a peek into what it takes to become a BMR Venom?
Tahir: Honestly they kind of found me. It started with my worst marathon in the Marine Corp marathon. I was struggling and a random brother came and pushed me the last 6 miles to the finish. After that ran into more brothers who were part of the Black marathoners. This really piqued my interest. So I joined the Black Men run Philly group in a race and then became a member after that. In order to become a Venom, you need to be a master runner of the age and 40 and older while also running specific run times in a bevy of races such as 10ks and half marathons. For myself, I ran a 40-minute sub 10k and a 1:30 half marathon time which qualified me to become a venom.
MSM: As a Venom, there’s always a friendly competition amongst each other as runners. How do you all push each other through competition to become better, and faster?
Tahir: We communicate with each other from to time. But mostly we just keep ourselves accountable by posting our workouts and runs. Sometimes a certain group called the Mongoose pop up trying to challenge us. This is the extra motivation to stay trained up.
MSM: You’ve run a few big marathons with a few majors on that list between Chicago and New York. I love to ask this next question as it seems we as runners are all striving to the same goal, the 6 stars. Is this one of your targets as a runner?
Tahir: Yes the 6 star is indeed a target of mine. This year I have New York and Chicago. Tokyo was supposed to be 2019 but will be 2023 for me. I’m currently working on qualifying for Boston next and my goal is to run all 6 under 4 hours. So I will do Chicago again to fix that time from 4:02.
MSM: Speaking of the 6 star, over the past few years you’ve been on a mission as you’ve been going for the unicorn, the hardest marathon to get into for 90% of us. Take us through some of this process and the things you’ve done to help you prepare for the race and the attempt to BQ?
Tahir: For one I joined a training group with coaches who not only train people to BQ by lead by example. My training group Coach Medina helped me break 4 hours in a marathon and also pr in the half. I went from 1:52 down to 1:30 so far. Training with my peers who are running Boston has kept me motivated. Not only that but I want to add more representation of black people in this prestigious race. I get so much support from the running community and I don’t want to let them down.
MSM: Boston is such a hard race to get into as it takes a whole lot of preparation mentally and physically and a target time that essentially means that you have to run at least 8-10 mins faster JUST to have an absolute chance of getting into the marathon. It’s even more difficult when those attempts tend to yield not so positive results as on race day anything can happen. This instance happened to you at the NJ marathon. How did you readjust after that race?
Tahir: In the Atlantic City marathon it just wasn’t my day and that happens as it’s part of the process. What I will say is that after that race 2 weeks later I ran the NYC marathon and ran my fastest NYC marathon to date. Went from 4:47 to 3:42. After that my next cycle was the best training cycle I had. I was on pace to sub 3 my next marathon but the pandemic shut that down. But my blueprint to BQ was laid down that cycle. I now know what I need to do to qualify and I have to simply execute that plan.
MSM: Our accomplishments and successes usually don’t come alone, our run community is a village of people that tend to help us and each other along the way. Who has been some of the people that have helped you along the way?
Tahir: Wow that’s a loaded question. I have too many to pick from. I feel I might miss a few people. The people I say helped me are more than just running friends they are family. Michael Stinson, Ed Walton, William Martin, Tony Sample, Anthony Smith, and Alan Noel are my BMR brothers who are always a phone call away. Coach Mai started me off on my strength training. Monique Thomas connected me with the running community in NY. Tracye Shoozy Gilliam started my marathon progress journey. My moral support Alnisa (run Mom) and my rock and the one who keeps me moving forward Cemohn Sevier.
MSM: For me when I see you one of the first words that come to mind is consistency. You’re always consistent with the mileage especially when it comes to marathon training. What does your mileage look like? I feel like every time I look at you, you’re pulling 10 milers with ease during the week.
Tahir: My mileage during marathon season is roughly around 50 to 60 miles a week at some point I would like to pull a few 100 milers in a week. My long runs are usually on the weekends and I have upped my easy runs from 6 up to 10 miles. This helps me bank the mileage during the week.
MSM: As runners, we all find inspiration in each other. Honestly, our run community feels as if it is a family, especially in our area. Who are some of the folks that inspire Tahir and/or where do you find your inspiration?
Tahir: In our community, everyone inspires me. Seeing everyone’s progress is a motivator. But there are a few that stands out. Luther or Uncle Luther as I call him. McKenley Mason and tri journey has given me the itch to try one soon. Philip King part of the venom squad is awesome. So is Orinthal Striggles or Coach Striggles. But when I wake up in the morning and see my run tribe out there grinding it makes me want to run even when it’s my off day and yes I do have those.
MSM: For most, once we reach our targets we tend to slow down and lose focus, do you see yourself slowing up the pace (pun intended) when it comes to your running or will it be full steam ahead for the foreseeable future?
Tahir: I’m actually learning to slow my pace down on my easy runs. So instead of running at 8 to 8:30 pace you will see more 8:45 to 9:15 pace. I need to in order to not over perform and get injured.
MSM: What’s on the horizon for Tahir and most of all how can we continue to follow your journey?
Tahir: As we navigate the new norm after I finish all six stars I will start to focus on fewer marathons and more half marathons. I will also begin to transition to cycling and triathlon a bit more. Most people follow me on Facebook. But I know people check my strava and Garmin stats.
MSM: Any last words that you’d like to share with our readers?
Tahir: Running is not that complicated but it is easy to make it complicated by trying too many plans and gadgets all at once. When you find yourself overwhelmed or not having fun running, unplug yourself from it all. Go back to basics, no music, just one foot in front of the other. Enjoy listening to nature or yourself breathing. Remember what you enjoy running in the first place.
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