In her decades-long career in motorsports, Danica Patrick has earned a reputation for being a fierce competitor, notching all kinds of impressive achievements, including record-setting performances at the Indy Japan 300 and the Daytona 500. Although she’s retired from racing (and has launched other ventures like the Pretty Intense podcast and Danica Rosé wine), that desire to push herself hasn’t faded. Now she’s set her sights on another legendary race course: the Boston Marathon. On Oct. 11, Patrick will run the race in support of the Light Foundation. We recently caught up with her to learn more about how she’s preparing to take on this new challenge.
The first lesson of marathon training? It’s not easy. Focusing on running has been a departure from Patrick’s normal fitness routine, which usually revolves around CrossFit, HIIT workouts, and lifting. The environment has also presented obstacles. Patrick lives in Scottsdale, AZ, and powering through training runs in the blistering desert heat made them especially difficult. For a break from the sweltering temps, she headed to Telluride, CO, and continued her routine albeit at high altitude.
“I feel like a really punished myself in the training process,” Patrick tells Men’s Journal.
Fortunately, Patrick has plenty to keep her motivated. Along with her sister and best friends, she’s running in support of the Light Foundation (and will serve as the team captain on race day). Founded by former NFL player and three-time Super Bowl Champion Matt Light and his wife, Susie, the organization uses outdoor and hands-on learning opportunities to help young people develop essential leadership skills and self confidence.
“I love the goals the foundation has,” says Patrick. “It’s an incredible foundation to run for.”
Although supporting a great charity is strong motivation, running 26.2 miles—especially on such a legendary course as the Boston Marathon—is no easy feat. In addition to her training runs, Patrick has been focusing on stretching and yoga to help her muscles recover, and she expects her natural competitive spirit (and the energy from the crowd) will help her push through to the finish line. Of course, it’s not totally a sufferfest—she’s looking forward to running alongside her sister and friends, and sharing the experience with them.
“If this is the only marathon I run, I would like to remember it as being fun,” she says.
Check out the full interview in the video above.
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