“Once an athlete, always an athlete.” This might be a fitting title for Richard Prego’s story. Blessed with a backyard pool at his childhood home that he spent all summer splashing around in as a kid, Richard joined the local YMCA swim team at age 10 and continued to swim competitively until he graduated from college. But then, he recalls, “I didn’t exercise much in college and didn’t have a particularly healthy lifestyle, and by my senior year I had put on enough weight to be considered obese.”
Like most swimmers, Richard had always hated running, but he took it up as a way to lose weight after college and, to his happy surprise, acquired a taste for it as the pounds came off. By now you probably know where this story is heading. Richard’s first 5K led to his first 10K, first half-marathon, and first marathon. Then, in 2019, he bought a bike for cross-training, acquired a taste for that, and completed his first Olympic-distance triathlon in July of this year.
As many athletes seem to have done, Richard took advantage of the pandemic-enforced pause on racing to search for a better way to train. “In training for everything from 5K’s to full marathons,” he explains, “I tried other training methods, books, and plans. They all felt like they were more intense than they needed to be, and at some point I always wound up burned out or injured (or both).”
Discovering 80/20 changed all that for Richard, 31, who works as an engineering manager in Middlesex, NJ, and is expecting his first child with his wife in December. Perhaps his most satisfying 80/20 experience so far occurred not in a real race, however, but in a solo marathon he completed in his neighborhood. “In the three times I ran the New York City marathon,” he says, “my race always fell apart between 20 and 22 miles. That didn’t happen this time, and I believe it had a lot to do with having a better understanding of pacing, and being more prepared for the race through the hard workouts that I was able to do because I was taking it easier on the easy days.”
We look forward to seeing what comes next in Act II of Richard’s life as an endurance athlete!