Hybrid Athlete Highlight Volume 003: Frankie Dades

We’re back for Hybrid Athlete Highlight Volume 003! This time we’re shining the spotlight on none other than the dynamic, inspiring, and versatile athlete Frankie Dades.

Through strength and endurance training, Frankie’s unique mindset and approach to fitness embodies the spirit of a true hybrid athlete. His journey is a testament to the transformative power of dedication, discipline, and a love for one’s craft.

From the boxing ring to marathons, from the gym to pavement, Frankie’s journey is both inspiring and motivating. We sat down with Frankie, who shared some amazing insights any athlete can use to succeed.

Let’s dive in and see what advice he has for those looking to create their own unique training journey.

Can you briefly share who you are and your athletic background?

My name is Frankie Dades, and I’m from Staten Island, New York. I was in the boxing ring since I was in 4th grade but played other sports like football and basketball. I got into weightlifting when I was 13 and never stopped.

I was talented in all these sports but never pursued them as I should’ve due to having a lack of self-confidence. That is why, in the present day, I go all in with whatever I am doing because I saw what quitting or not being all in got me, and I refuse to allow that to happen anymore.

How and why did you get into hybrid athlete training?

I’ve lifted my entire life and built a pretty strong foundation. During Covid, when gyms closed down, I began running. I had NO idea what I was doing, but it challenged me. I made it my mission to learn about the sport and do it the right way, no matter how long it took to see progress.

What is your best and/or favorite accomplishment as a hybrid athlete, and what made it particularly special to you?

I had a 42-minute PR in the marathon within four months (from 4:19 to 3:37). It was special because, in that first race, I was not “all in” like I should’ve been. I had a short training period and did not train like I should’ve and paid the price for it.

I made a promise to myself that I would leave no stone unturned for the next prep, and I did just that. It truthfully proved to me that hard work will pay off.

What does your current routine look like as you train for the Houston Marathon?

One of the biggest mistakes I used to make was trying to do too much in marathon training.

It’s important to understand that running puts a lot of stress on the body and to recover properly and perform at your best, you have to prioritize running and pull back on lifting.

My routine is a 5-day running schedule and a 3-day lifting schedule. I do not lift on my speed days or long run days because those require the most recovery.

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a hybrid athlete, physically and mentally? How did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from that experience?

I actually was sidelined with a stress fracture and had to pull out of the NYC Marathon with just three weeks to go until race day.

It was hard to do both physically and mentally because I love running. We tend to take things for granted until it’s taken away from us and not being able to run at all for a few months was very hard.

The biggest lesson I took from that was, as I mentioned above, you can’t do everything. If you do not give your body a break, it will break.

It also taught me how to properly lift and focus on running mechanics and imbalances. That way, it will reduce my risk of the same injury in the future. Because of that injury, I am a better runner and athlete than before.

How has the combination of strength and endurance training impacted your physical health, performance, and overall athleticism?

Adding strength training helps you when running, contrary to popular belief. Not saying something like a bicep workout, but if you’re focusing on running specific lifts and compound lifts, you’re going to feel it when run.

It helps when you hit hills or run on tired legs because you have that strength to fall back on.

I also feel that it helps reduce the risk of injury because your tendons and ligaments are stronger from lifting, and the muscles are able to absorb impact better when they are properly trained.

What has hybrid athlete training done for your mental health? Are there any other benefits besides overall health that you’ve noticed?

It allows me to have an outlet that I never had before. Lifting is a great place to release stress or just zone out and focus on a nice pump, but running is a place where I am alone and at peace. I do not listen to music with runs which allows me to be with my thoughts and sort out anything I may be thinking about.

Strength training and endurance training simultaneously can be strenuous. How do you recover, and how do you avoid burnout so that you can stay energized and motivated?

First and foremost, I structure my lifts on days where it’s specifically just an easy run.

Second, I focus on SLEEP. I aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night (not always feasible with life getting in the way). If I don’t sleep well or have to choose between sleep or less sleep but lift, I will sacrifice the lift to make sure I sleep enough.

Third, I stay off my feet as much as possible after speed workouts and long runs.

Lastly, I focus on quality whole foods and electrolytes every single day so my body can recover and be fueled for the next day.

What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned as a hybrid athlete that apply to everyday life?

Focus on the mile you’re in. If you look too far ahead, you may be overwhelmed and quit because you realize how long you have. If you focus on just the mile ahead, you can break it up to be a lot more bearable.

Slow down. Most of your runs need to be at a slow aerobic pace. If you go too fast all the time, you’ll burn out and be forced to slow down. Enjoy the process and understand speed comes over time. The same goes for life. Slow down, stop trying to rush your life, and enjoy the process. The right things will come when they are supposed to.

For those considering hybrid training, what potential challenges should they be aware of, and how can they navigate those successfully?

Injury. Jumping into both of these with no experience can be tough. I would set realistic goals and take my time.

Also, HIRE A COACH if you don’t have experience. The worst thing you can do is try and guess. My motto is “Learn from someone who’s been there and done that.” Don’t be scared to ask questions.

Any other advice considering combining different sports or activities in their training journey?

Have fun and don’t compare. Everyone is on a different chapter of their journey and everyone started at different times. Where you are is different than someone else. Use it as motivation to get there. Don’t let it discourage you or you never will get there.

Any last words of wisdom or motivation?

Do what makes you happy. Live the life you want. Never let anyone or anything else prevent you from doing what it is you love. Everyone in the world can doubt you, but if you believe in yourself, then the doubt is irrelevant.

For those who would like to follow your training, learn from you, or get in touch, where can they find you?

They can follow me on Instagram at @DrankieFades.

Fun facts about Frankie Dades:

Hometown: Staten Island NY
Age: 28
Favorite Sport: Boxing
Favorite Workout: Chest day
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Movie: Lone Survivor
Favorite Holiday: Christmas
Favorite Song: Something In the Orange by Zach Bryan
Favorite Quote: “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.”

Connect with Frankie on Instagram to follow his journey and learn more about how he trains, eats, recovers, and more.

Thank you to Frankie for the incredible insights and motivation. We wish you all the best in your Houston Marathon and whatever challenges you take on in the future. Keep pushing yourself and inspiring others to do the same.

Thank you for reading Volume 003 of our Hybrid Athlete Highlight series with Frankie Dades.

For previous issues, head to Volume 002 with the hybrid athlete and full-time pilot Joey Miuccio or Volume 001 with college football player turned Ironman and sub-3 marathoner Matt Zelaya.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and tips from hybrid athletes worldwide, and for now – stay up, stay active, and stay hybrid!

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