Meet Mikey Dubz, Brainsport’s Hoka ambassador

Mikey Dubz has only been running for a couple years, but that’s all it took for him to fall in love with the sport.

He thrives off of the discipline the sport requires and the nerdy side of him loves geeking out about running shoe design. Dubz, 35, lives in Lloydminster and works as an engineer, entrepreneur and DJ when he’s not pounding the roads and trails. He’s also Brainsport’s Hoka ambassador and today he speaks with the Brainsport Times about running, racing and shoes.

BT: Tell me about yourself as a runner.

MD: I started running just over two years ago. Growing up, I was an extremely active teenager involved in competitive wakeboarding, motocross and snowboarding. I was introduced to soccer about seven years ago and joined a men’s competitive league a few years later. Then I was illegally slide tackled, resulting in needing a massive knee surgery.

After nine months (including three months of zero weight bearing and six months of extremely light rehab) I was starting to get mentally down on myself. For my entire life, I had always been chasing some high intensity passion. I had seen and heard of people taking up running as a full-time hobby and I got deep into Google searching to determine what the hype was all about. After hours of reading up on the sport and all the discipline it required, I told myself I was going to give this a try for multiple reasons, but mainly because of a whisper in my head “Mike will hurt Mike from now on!”

It started like everyone would imagine running would start. I didn’t have a good run group or physically knowledgeable friends. I did two-to-eight kilometres a week for the first few months, then got excited, pushed and got hurt. I eventually healed and got up to eight to 20 km a week and as time progressed. My strength, form, endurance and will also progressed. Today I am lucky and, when healthy and not injured due to non-run related activities, I get in between 95 and 160 km/week.

Mikey Dubz

BT: Can you tell me about your experience as a Brainsport brand ambassador?

MD: Brian Michasiw and the team at Brainsport have become family to me.

What I love the most is being able to sit down with either Brian or other staff members to discuss product knowledge (and by sit down, I mean go for three-hour walks). We discuss what we love about specific aspects and get deep into the nerdy weeds of design and characteristics. Being an engineer I LOVE knowing the design and exact specifics of how a shoe performs or how a piece of clothing keeps you dry and warm during all temperatures.

BT: What is your favourite race distance and why?

MD: I am a huge fan of all race distances. Due to my short time as a runner, I have only been able to race in five-, 10, 21.1 and 100-plus km races.

Each race requires a different criterion of physical condition and, most of all, mental condition. I love the 100-plus km runs and races because they test the heck of my OCD mind. When I get the chance to dig that deep into the darkest places of my mind, it helps me grow into a person that I don’t fully know I would be able to reach without pushing my limits.

BT: How has your running changed through the pandemic?

MD: Given that I ran alone for 90% of my training and races, the pandemic felt normal for me and I was just thankful that the sport I loved so much was still accessible to participate in. I fully understand how virtual races are not the same as the real dealio, but I always tell myself that it could be much worse and I am just happy that I am outside enjoying the wonders of the world.

BT: What is one of your favourite workouts?

MD: I love segment intervals. When I say segment, I am referring to the once-a-month Strava segment interval training program I have. Select as many segments in a row that encompass the total kilometres you are looking to run and get out there and get after them. If you happen to snag some “crowns” you better believe someone is going to get out there and try to get that crown off your head. Its just a real motivator for some friendly competition!

Mikey Dubz

BT: What are you proudest of as a runner?

MD: Last year I was lucky enough to step on a treadmill for the first time in my running career. I stepped onto it to help raise money for my local health region in conjunction with a community radio-thon.

The goal was to raise money on a per-kilometre basis and I had a 12-hour window to run. I was live streamed all day so people could see me struggle or slack off. I managed to run for the full 12 hours to complete 124.6 kilometres and raise just shy of $400,000!!! The community is RAD!

BT: What helps you when you’re dealing with injuries?

MD: In addition to my knee surgery, I tend to push myself and over-ask of my Achilles! I tend to suffer once a year from overuse and it results in me quickly changing my focus to swimming or mountain biking for a month!

One thing about injuries is that I try to find the silver lining. First, I focus all that time I was running into a small change of endurance and get a mini fix of something else. I know my injuries display the love and self-discipline I have for running. I don’t take injuries as the perfect excuse to lay around and watch Netflix until my eyes fall out. I challenge my brain to find alternatives to keep pushing with the end goal of finding personal achievement while fully promoting a healthy healing of my injury.

BT: What songs are on your favourite running playlist?

MD: Being a longtime DJ, I listen to ABSOLUTELY everything! I do love Mumford and Sons though. It all depends on what I am doing that day and if I am even listening to music. I create my own playlists that suit my training so they are strategic and once again, being a nerd, I align the BPM (beats per minute) to what I should be running for a cadence….. nerd alert, I know!

Mikey Dubz

BT: What is your favourite post-race meal?

MD: I live a primarily vegetarian lifestyle and enjoy some vegan meal choices so a post-race meal would be a greasy Impossible burger with cheese and all the goods on it. I also am a huge fan of a super-loaded smoothie that my wife has dialed in for me that is packed with an algae I can’t even pronounce and antioxidants. It just bounces me right back!

BT: What running plans or goals do you have for 2021?

MD: I was accepted into the CDR (Canadian Death Race) last year and it was deferred to this year as a SOLO-IST. I really wanted to go and enjoy this wonderful 126 km race that crests three mountain tops and crosses a river with a solid group of my local running community friends!

BT: What’s your go-to shoe these days?

MD: This is a no brainer. I fully believe you need to be in shoes that fit you and your running form and HOKA ONE ONE is the absolute go-to shoe for me. Whether its hiking, trail running, easy runs or out to blast intervals, HOKAs are always sitting by my door ready to perform.

Getting to know the HOKA family moreover the year, they have been nothing but amazing to me and my community, so they are 100% my first recommendation for fittings.