Noah Droddy Q&A Ahead of the 2024 Men's U.S. Olympics Team Trials Marathon
Photo credit: www.kevinlaraphoto.com
The Men’s Olympic Team Trials Marathon will be held Saturday in Orlando, and for the first time since 2016, Noah Droddy will be in the field.
Droddy’s story is one of perseverance. Growing up in Indianapolis, the 33-year-old Droddy never ran in a state cross country or track meet in high school and competed collegiately at Division III DePauw University.
Seven years later, in 2020, Droddy ran his personal-best marathon time of 2:09:09, which was then the ninth-fastest time run by an American in history.
Unfortunately, injuries kept him out of the 2020 Trials and have plagued him off and on ever since, including earlier this year when he had surgery on his left heel at the end of January and didn’t start running again until mid-April.
Needing to run 2:18 to qualify for the 2024 Trials, Droddy was able to put everything together at the California International Marathon on December 3, when he ran 2:16:56 to punch his ticket to Orlando.
Droddy was kind enough to take a break in his Trials prep for a quick Q&A, and if you want to hear more from Noah, you can check him out on the DIII Glory Days podcast.
We’re just about three weeks away from the Olympic Marathon Trials. How are you feeling, and how is training going?
Things are going well! It's been a bit of a delicate balance to both recover from a marathon and prepare for another marathon. Overall, the recovery was smooth, and I've been able to get back into some normal-looking training weeks. I always feel like I need more time, but I think I've got a shot at showing up in Orlando in decent racing shape.
You qualified for the Trials right at the deadline. What was your mindset going into the race, and how did other runners looking to get the qualifying time help you?
Going into CIM, I wanted to run within myself and give myself a shot at that sub-2:18 clocking. We got out a little ahead of schedule, but the pace felt natural, so I decided to roll with it. We had a large, supportive group most of the distance. I knew a lot of runners within the group, and I'd say there was definitely a sense of camaraderie for the first 20 miles or so. At that point, it's every runner for themselves...
You missed the 2020 Trials due to injury and have struggled off and on with injuries since then. How frustrating have the last couple of years been, and did you ever think you wouldn’t make it back?
The last few years have been trying. Even when I was training normally, I was in significant pain. That grind of being constantly in pain really wore me down and tested my love for the sport. With that said, I was still running fast in training, I just wasn't healthy enough to translate it to a race. So I was still optimistic in my ability, but I knew I had to fight for my health and take a step I'd been avoiding for awhile. I had surgery to fix a Haglund's deformity in my left heel in January of 2023. The surgery was difficult to recover from, but I'm more optimistic about my future than I have been in several years.
What are your expectations for the race?
Realistically, I don't have much of a chance to finish in the top three this year. Since the surgery, I just haven't had enough time to do all the work required to be competitive in a really deep American field. Instead, the day for me will be about celebrating having made it there and trying to get the most out of myself in the race. Hopefully, that translates to a high finish.
What does a typical week of training look like for you, and what are some of your go-to workouts?
It can vary depending on the time of year. But most weeks average out to around 100 miles, so 15 or so miles a day. Much of that is easy or recovery running, which I run by feel, not targeting any specific pace. The quality running days usually include an interval session (mile repeats, etc), and a fast long run.
Training-wise, what will these last couple of weeks look like for you?
Things look pretty normal three weeks out, but at two weeks out, I'll start backing off the mileage. The week before the race is about caring for my body and feeling good. It's too late in the game to improve my fitness, so I focus on my mindset and staying in the routine.
Your PR of 2:09:09 is one of the best all-time among American men. You went to a Division III school and took kind of a long, winding road to get here. How proud of yourself are you for the career you’ve had and the things you have accomplished?
I definitely look back at my career with a sense of disbelief. The times I've run and the experiences I've had have far exceeded any expectations I had when I decided to wholeheartedly pursue competitive distance running. That initial decision radically changed my life for the better, and I'm really grateful for (almost) everything that's happened and the great people running has brought into my life.
Thanks for taking the time, Noah, and best of luck at the Trials!