Beer runner profile: Caleb Masland

Caleb Masland denies it, but he may be superhuman. I think it’s because of beer.

I’ve followed his feats of running and home brewing on Dailymile and Twitter over the years, and am constantly in awe of his accomplishments.

So how does he keep setting PR’s like a 5K in 15:45 or a marathon in 2:35?

“I use special beers as a motivator,” he says.

To do this, he buys tallboys of Allagash Black or Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout during marathon training cycles, and he’s only allowed to open and drink the beer after a marathon win or PR. No exceptions.

“So every time I open the fridge during that cycle,” he says, “there it is staring at me.”

In this Q+A, Coach Caleb talks about  the beer mile, post-race beer and phantom beer smells while running.

What are your beer runner credentials?

I’m a bit of a creator in both regards.  I make my own beer, and I make faster runners.  I’ve been brewing for several years, now to the point where I have a (glorious!) keg in the beer fridge in the basement.  I’ve been a “for reals” running coach for a few years, and I now have a great team of runners (Team Wicked Bonkproof) spread all over the world.  Both brewing and coaching are somewhat similar: You have an idea about what you need to put in for a good result, it takes a lot of care and attention to be successful, and you’re generally surprised beyond expectation at what the process produces. Training for NYC Marathon right now, and planning to have a big day.

Do you think beer helps your running? Related: Are you superhuman?

Beer helps everything, and running is no exception.  I completely buy into all of the evidence supporting moderate beer consumption as a general anti-inflammatory. Let’s face it, having a beer at the end of a day that included an epic run is just the correct thing to do.  Oh, and I’m normal human…

Have you ever been inspired to brew a new type of beer while running? Or have any other running-induced beer fantasies?

I have very strong “phantom smells” late in long runs.  And I’ve yet to experience the phantom malty-hoppyness of a great beer, but I frequently “smell” a burger.  Maybe it’s my brain telling me I need protein and iron.  And of course, if I’m going to have a burger after a long run, you can almost guarantee that there will be beer with it.

What is your proudest running accomplishment to date? With what beer did you celebrate?

The race I prepared the most and best for (prior to my current training cycle) was the California International Marathon in 2011.  I ran a 6-minute PR.  Immediately afterwards, I ended up at Pyramid Brewing in Sacramento, where we had lots of beers and lots of food.  The race that took the most out of me to win was the HAT Run 50k earlier this year.  A few days after the race, I celebrated with the Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout that had been sitting in my fridge for a few months.

What are your favorite places to run? Related: What are you favorite places to grab a beer when you’re done running?

I’m lucky, in terms of where I live, to have access to the Moses H Cone Memorial Park just a couple of miles from my front door. This national park has over 20 miles of gravel carriage roads.  There are flat and packed sections that are perfect for workouts, small and big climbs, and endless possible combinations of loops.  Plus, it’s an elite training facility (for the local Reebok ZAP Fitness team), so there’s sometimes a chance to run with the big boys and girls. After a good run, there are a couple local places that have good beer menus.  The Six Pence Pub in Blowing Rock has a big selection of British beers.  Or, if I’m over in Boone, Char has more local options to choose from.

What is your favorite race that features beer or has beer at the finish?

To me, there’s something great about the simplicity of a beer mile with friends.  Get some cheap beer, hit the track, drink a beer, run a lap, drink a beer, run a lap, drink a beer, run a lap, drink a beer, run a lap.  No better way to enjoy beering while running.

What advice do you have for other aspiring homebrewers and beer runners?

Just like any craft, both running and brewing can only improve through practice.  And both are better with friends. But if I were to give one piece of coaching advice that applies to both, it would be, “Relax and have fun with it…enjoy the process and you’ll be happier with the end result.” You can’t rush a quality beer just like you can’t rush a quality training cycle.

Anything else to add?

Shameless plug: I’m raising money as the team coach (and one of the runners) for the Hall Steps Foundation New York City Marathon team.  Please check out my fundraising page and consider giving a donation.  All the funds go to a great cause (improving the health and wellness of those in poverty), and I’m giving away free coaching to some of my donors.


Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
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