Trevor Hofbauer ran away with our hearts when he crossed the finish line as first Canadian man at the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Back then, life was simpler. Hofbauer didn’t wear a watch and was between sponsors and COVID-19, masks and virtual races weren’t something that would become part of every runner’s vernacular. Now, with the Olympic Games just two months away, iRun editor Ben Kaplan caught up with Hofbauer from his home in Calgary where the Saucony athlete says he’s ready to roll.
BK: Feels like a lifetime ago when you punched your ticket to the Olympic Games. How do you keep your head for that much time?
TH: The community that’s behind me has been instrumental to my insight and day to day training and moving forward.
BK: Usually about five weeks out from my big race I’m impossible to be around and you’ve almost been two years out from one of the biggest races in anyone’s life. How do you maintain equilibrium?
TH: Just trying not to get too far ahead of myself.
BK: Were you bummed when the Olympics first got postponed?
TH: I thought it was the right call. We just didn’t have enough data globally. I used that as an opportunity to get stronger and work on the things I wasn’t good at. I took a deep breath and appreciated what 2019 was to me. Really, I used the postponement as an opportunity to get better.
BK: That’s good, but I know there were challenging moments.
TH: All you can control is being prepared for the moment when it comes.
BK: Alright, so break it down. Can you tell us about your training?
TH: I’ve been tracking my data for the last six years of training and have every workout, every training block, all of the numbers, behind all of my running. I know when my body peaks. I know when I go too far. And the way we trained for STWM in 2019 was flawless. So my approach to Tokyo was simple: do the exact same thing.
BK: Except now it’s a little different. You’re faster.
TH: I’m a little faster. I can do the exact same things I did then, only faster. I think I’ll be faster on race day.
BK: That’s so exciting. And all you have to do now is prove your fitness and you’re good to go?
TH: I’ll do my proof of fitness in June and Athletics Canada knows how I train. We know what those numbers will like.
BK: Tell me.
TH: Probably a half marathon at the end of June and by my standards, 1:05 marathon pace would be acceptable for proof of fitness. I’ll use that as a workout.
TH: I’m not going to waste myself on proof of fitness and compromise Tokyo.
BK: And Athletics Canada has been good to work with?
TH: Seamless. Some of the employees are previously athletes, they just get it.
BK: So you’re not going to wear a watch at the Olympics?
TH: Hell yeah!
TH: I don’t know. I might bring my watch because it’s the Olympics and people would want to see that on Strava.
BK: Michael Doyle would call you a hippie.
TH: I wear my watch on workouts and tempos. I don’t look at it, but I like keeping track of the data. In Toronto, I didn’t use a watch because it was solely based on placement within a group at a certain pace. I didn’t have to wear a watch because I just had to be the first Canadian person to finish. The Olympics are a little more traditional with no pacers. I might just wear my watch for the fun of it.
BK: So what you’re saying is. . .
TH: Hell yeah! (But also maybe I might wear a watch).
BK: And you’re going to race in Saucony?
TH: Yeah, I signed with Saucony in January and our relationship has been going really well. I’m currently raising money for their Million Reasons run, a virtual fundraiser, and I’m doing it out of my heart’s desire. It’s a good cause giving back to the community and the Canadian Children’s Hospital Foundation. Saucony presented it to me and it was a no-brainer to say yes.
BK: That’s good to hear.
TH: They make me feel valued as an athlete and that’s all you can ask for.
BK: Well, that and fast shoes.
TH: Of course, and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2.0 is what I’ll be wearing in the Olympics. I think it’s out here in June or maybe July. It’s similar to the current Endorphin, which I like. Why change something well done?
BK: You wore the VaporFly Next% by Nike when you qualified for the Olympics. Are you OK with the change?
BK: I think you just increased Endorphin Pro 2.0 shoe sales.
TH: It’s interesting, the shoe wars with the carbon plate and all that. The VaporFly is a very good shoe and Adidas has a new shoe and New Balance has one, they all have comparable shoes, but Saucony fits a bit wider in the midfoot so I can put in my over-the-counter orthotics. With the VaporFly, I couldn’t and I lost support.
BK: You qualified for the Olympics.
TH: It worked OK in a race setting, thankfully, but outside of that . . . it didn’t work for me. The Endorphin Pro is more accommodating—for everybody.
BK: And I understand there’s a new Trevor Hofbauer beer?
TH: The brewery is based out of Calgary called the Village Brewery and it’s a Golden Ale called the Runner. It was a project that Kirsten Fleming [race director, Calgary Marathon] and I were working on pre-pandemic to help support me a little bit, as a runner you don’t make that much.
BK: I wish that wasn’t the case.
TH: It’s publicly known carding from Sport Canada is $21,000, below the poverty line. Anything helps, but Kirsten thought a little bit of anything more also could help and I’m grateful for everything. Plus, the beer is representative of the community and the others that make it. It’s a beer for the whole running community in Alberta.
BK: Do you drink beer?
TH: Oh, yeah. I’ll have my beer every once in a while. Usually Sunday night. I’ll go out for some burritos and have a beer with that burrito.
BK: What else do you eat?
TH: Basic stuff. I keep my diet pretty clean except for high-mileage weeks when I consume more treats. I need the sugars and fats to maintain my body weight, but in general I don’t eat anything too spectacular, basically the perimeter of the grocery store.
BK: I love that.
TH: Produce, fruits, veggies, chicken, steak, eggs, almond milk, grains, breads, stuff like that. I don’t walk down the aisle too frequently.
BK: So what’s the plan for the big race?
TH: I won’t tell you, but I have an A goal, B goal, and C goal.
BK: Dream time?
TH: I don’t tell anyone my goals until after the events. That’s how I roll.
BK: Well, congratulations, man. And good luck. It’s definitely an exciting time for marathon racing.
TH: The men’s team is definitely strong and the women in Canada are just rocking the marathon. We went from Dylan, Reid, Eric, Rob, Kip and Lanni, Krista and that whole crew that launched Canadian marathoning and now there’s like seven women and on the men’s side, Ben [Priesner] is in his mid-20s, Tristan [Woodfine] is younger than me, Cam [Levins] is in his early 30s and Rory [Linkletter] is young and talented. It’s crazy how marathoning has exploded in Canada.
BK: What do you think road races in Canada will be like after the lockdown gets lifted?
TH: Gangbusters. Just look at the running boom that’s going on right now. Racing in Canada is going to be bat shit crazy.