“I certainly wouldn’t have hated losing as much, if not for him,” Levins said.
On Sunday, Levins will tackle his first New York City Marathon as one of the favorites.
Last year, after coping with injuries, self-doubt and a poor performance at the 2020 Summer Olympics, he rebounded in a big way, placing fourth in the men’s marathon at the world championships in Eugene, Ore. And in March, he broke the North American record for the 26.2-mile distance when I have finished fifth at the Tokyo Marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes 36 seconds.
“Running is something where you’re really rewarded based on the effort you put in,” he said.
Marathoners are known to be a masochistic breed. Even among them, Levins is an outlier. He often runs 170 to 180 miles a week, which, at the top end of that range, averages out to nearly 26 miles a day.
How does he do it? Three to four times a week, he runs three times a day — once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night, almost always on his own. He typically does his evening run at home in Portland, Ore., on a treadmill in an oxygen-deprivation tent. The idea is to simulate the aerobic effects of running at high altitude.
Jim Finlayson, his coach, said it took a “unique mind-set” to train that way.
“The fact that Cam can not only handle the mileage physically but handle it psychologically,” Finlayson said. “I mean, most people would never run the volume that he runs because of the boredom of it or the lack of desire to keep doing something that’s so monotonous. But for him, it’s probably on a meditative level.”