How Long Distance Skater Harrison Tucker Trains for 24 Hour Skateboard Races

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

My name is Harrison Tucker. As my parents would say, I am 17 going on 27. I was born and raised in the Big Apple (New York City). I also currently live in New York but that will change next fall when I hope to move to Boulder, Colorado. Besides skateboarding, I love to run, bike, do yoga, and play drums.

How and why did you get into long-distance skateboarding?

I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I loved to ride my board around the city and heard about this race called, the 24 hour Ultra Skate in Miami, Florida. I honestly didn’t really think about it. I just signed up and showed up. While I barely trained for it and didn’t really know how to train for it, I did 137 miles during the 24 hours of the race. It’s a respectable distance, especially for a novice, but I wanted more than respectable. After finishing the race and getting back to NYC, I knew that if I set my mind to it, I could be one of the best at the sport.

The people that inspire me the most are my friends. Jeff Vyain (owner of Pantheon Longboards) inspires me with his ballsy “risk it for the biscuit” style of racing. Always going 100% and having an awesome style and flow while doing it. Andrew Andras has definitely rubbed off his cool, calm, collected, and calculated approach onto me. Leaving no stone unturned for a marginal gain. And my good homies JJ Cobb, Will Frank, Max Frank, and Kyle Yan for always reminding me that friendship and fun are the real reasons we love what we do. Even though there’s a lot of suffering in the middle.

The biggest thing people (especially my father) have ever done to support me is to crew a 24-hour race. It takes a real homie to do such a task. You have to be a chef, mathematician, therapist, and cheerleader. All at the same time. Plus, you have to stay up for at least 32 hours. Not many people are down.

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

What have been the best and the most difficult parts of your sport?

Well, I’ve had some close calls in training. I tend to mostly train on quieter roads, bike paths, or in groups. But there’s always risk involved. I’ve been hit by my fair share of cars and had my fair share of crashes. But that’s all a part of the game. Obviously, it’s an ultra endurance sport, and with that comes a whole lot of suffering. You have to be comfortable with discomfort. And you have to know that sometimes, the guy who wins is the one who suffered the most. Everyone has to figure out what works for them in respect to going deep into the pain cave. Some people need to distract themselves from it; others need to embrace it. My advice would be to try the latter. It’s a lot less sexy and takes a lot more time to master but pain keeps you present in a way that nothing else can.

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

How do you eat and sleep?

I eat a plant-based diet and have been eating this way for almost four years. My basic philosophy when it comes to diet is to eat as many shapes colors and textures as possible. Mostly fruits and veggies with some whole grains and beans. I supplement with Vitamin B12 and D3. That’s all most people should need. I don’t get into all the fancy mumbo jumbo supplements.

In respect to sleep, it’s all about keeping the mind in check. Yoga and meditation are big parts of that. Learning to stay stress free, relaxed, generally chill about life’s struggles are also major keys and will improve your sleep and fitness more than anything else. Besides that, I’ve been working on going to Kirtan on a regular basis. But I won’t go too deep into that. All of those practices allow me to sleep deeply for 8-10 hours a night.

How do you handle injuries and recovery?

Injuries are a part of all sports. They suck. But they eventually happen to everyone. Diet and sleep are huge. If you take care of the body and provide it with the right fuel, injuries shouldn’t be a major issue. On the occasion that major problems do pop up, I go to see a Posturologist named Rafael Torres and if he can’t fix it, I’m not sure it can be fixed. Besides that, some light dynamic stretching can work wonders on injury prevention.

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

How do you balance normal life with training?

I do about 14+ big races a year. These races vary from 1 mile to 24 hours. A major race calls for at least a 3-month training plan. For a big race, I’ll train about 20-35 hours a week. Some easy rides during the week with a couple of speed work outs and tempo sessions thrown in. Then 1 or 2 long rides of 6+ hours on the weekends. With all the training, racing, and travel balance is hard to achieve. The biggest tip I have is to try and cultivate a community around your sport. It can be hard to spend your life training when all your friends aren’t.

Running and cycling are important for me when there’s no big races on the radar. But when it comes to crunch time, I live on the board. For the most part, if there’s a race, I’ll do it. Even if it means not showing up in great shape. If you want to learn basic training philosophy, I would recommend the Jack Daniels Distance Running Formula. For a book on diet, I’d recommend Thrive by Brendan Brazier.

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

How do you bring your gear with you and how do you organize them?

For the most part, your three back jersey pockets are your best friend. If that isn’t enough, I own a few models of vests from Ultimate Direction that will fit any occasion. Definitely look into the line of Ultimate Direction products.

I’ll usually have one gear bag full of all my race clothing, race nutrition from Tailwind, and any other bits and bobs I might need for a race. Then another bag of casual things. Always hand-carry the race bag onto planes! That’s the one you can’t live without. Everything organized. Plastic zip lock bags organizing all of the gear in your race bag is key and can be your best friend.

How do your bags and gear hold up?

My bags are quite a few years old now and still holding strong. I’d say it’s all more than good enough. Sometimes I wish race packs were designed differently but it’s hard to make a pack that works for everyone. I’d like to re-organize and switch around some of the pockets on my ultimate direction bags.

What has been your best sport purchase below $100?

High quality gear is key. New bushings cost a few bucks and are a game changer. I recommend Riptide Bushings. Besides that, aero is everything. The difference that can be made by aero clothing is huge and many people make the mistake of overlooking it. A ton of brands make high quality kit but the new Vegan Athletic Apparel is super-sleek looking.

Don’t Trip Trucks, G|Bomb Brackets, and Tailwind Nutrition are all products I’ve fallen in love with.

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

What is your best advice for new and experienced long distance skateboarders?

First, work on consistency. Get out there at least 5 or 6 days a week. Then work on volume. Building the duration of your rides. Only then can you start working on speed. Even if you are super fit and putting in a ton of miles, never overlook easy rides. I do roughly 75-80% of my weekly mileage at an easy, conversational pace.

For those experienced, if you really want to take your fitness to the next level, you have to take a good hard look at your lifestyle. High quality plant based food and lots of rest are going to allow you to recover better and faster. Then you can train harder and more often.

Skateboarder Harrison Tucker

What will the future bring?

At some point in my life I would like to have the World Record in the 24 Hour Ultra Skate. I’m not cocky enough to think it will happen in the next year or two. But it would really help justify all the years of hard work and training that I’ve put in. It’s a major goal and it has to be under the right circumstances. Good weather, and a solid pack of guys willing to work hard, share the work evenly, and suffer.

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One Comment

  1. Bobbie Reeved says:

    Harrison is my grandson and even as a young child he has always been totally focused on his sport. He is an amazing young man.

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