Brett Eldredge Talks Running a Half-Marathon During Quarantine and Why a 'Good Day' Is Any Day Spent Outdoors

The country star talks to Rolling Stone about his latest single, the hobbies he picked up during quarantine and how his newfound love for running inspired a new partnership with CamelBak

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Country star Brett Eldredge is getting ready for summer with a new partnership with CamelBak, the popular water bottle, backpack and hydration company. A noted outdoorsman and newly-converted fitness fan (Eldredge says he got into distance running during Covid), the singer is teaming up with CamelBak to send curated gift packages to his friends, colleagues and industry connections as a way to promote his new single, “Good Day” (off his 2020 album, Sunday Drive).

The gift packages include products that Eldredge sees as elements of a “good day” – think water bottles, hydration packs and waist bags for running. While Eldredge personally customized his CamelBak products for his friends, the non-customized versions of both the bottle and pack are available on CamelBak.com.

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We caught up with Eldredge to chat about the skills he picked up during quarantine (spoiler alert: it involves quinoa), the surprising artists on his running playlist and why it’s okay to feel cooped up and uninspired – as long as you have a new beginning in sight.

What made you want to partner with CamelBak?

I love CamelBak, I have used their products for a long time, since I became obsessed with getting outside and into nature as much as possible. It feeds my soul and really helps me get a better understanding of my life in this world and myself. I love getting outside and just being myself when I’m out in nature. And so Camelbak has always been there. I’ve always used their products when I’m running, when I’m hiking and it just is a natural fit.

Have you always been an outdoorsy guy?

I have always been an outdoorsy guy. I started out as a kid from a little town of Paris, Illinois, where really the one way to have fun was to get outside. We didn’t have hills or mountains or anything—it was pretty flat—but I would find ways to be always active and always outside. It was the place where I found peace the most and, as I’ve grown up, I’ve found my connection to that younger version of myself even more so when I get outside. I’ve got several new TVs at my house now, and I haven’t used hardly any of them at all since I got them because I just find the best entertainment is to get outside. And that’s kind of always how I’ve been since I was a kid.

What’s your earliest childhood memory of being in the outdoors?

My earliest childhood memories of being in the outdoors are usually of fishing and going out on the water. I grew up on a lake, a little tiny lake called Twin Lakes in Paris, Illinois. I got a Jon Boat for Christmas one year—a really old, used Jon boat— and it had a couple of holes in it. So we fixed it up, and it was the coolest thing in the world to me that I got to be the captain of my own ship of this tiny little boat. I just love memories like that. Just getting out there and being on the water, water skiing and swimming and just being a kid.

I heard you really got into long distance running during the quarantine. How did that happen?

The thing I love the most about running is the resilience you learn about yourself. That’s the reason I got into it. I always ran a little bit, but it’d be like two or three miles max. And then I said, you know what, this pandemic is going to be a test on myself, my mental strength and my resilience. I want to learn the next level of resilience in myself and how much more I have in the tank when I feel like I give up on myself. I think running really taught me that you always have a little bit more, if you just focus on the moment that you’re in. If I can get this mile, I’ll just worry about this mile.

The next thing I knew, I went from normally running two or three miles, to five miles. And then, then two days later, I was on six, and then the next week I was running eight. And then the next week, I was almost to a half marathon. Over a few months, I was there and I ran the half marathon by myself. What I learned from that was so powerful and I got to raise money for Mental Health America. It was a really powerful moment for me, for my mind and for trying to help and inspire others to get into it, too.

What artists or songs are on your running playlist?

I listen to a lot of random stuff when I’m running. Sometimes it’ll be podcasts. I listen to a guy by the name of Ed Mylett — he’s just really inspiring with a lot of incredible guests, so I’ll do that when I’m in a long distance and I want to get lost in a conversation. I listen to John Mayer sometimes if I’m doing the chiller stuff, and if I want to get moving, it’ll be more of a hip-hop playlist or something with a groove and a beat, like Nineties rap with Notorious B.I.G. or Tupac, or the more early 2000s, Nelly-era and old Snoop stuff.

What other hobbies or new skills did you pick up over the last year?

I started learning piano, which I hadn’t picked up since I was a kid, when church organists were teaching me. I never really connected with that. The teachers were probably very frustrated with me, and I’m sure they were amazing teachers, but I just wasn’t into it. Now, I’ve taken the opportunity to try to start learning piano.

I have started to get into cooking a little bit. Last night I cooked with my family, and I was making a goal to start making something different every week, even if it’s a little dish, when we have dinner every Sunday as a family. Last night, it was a quinoa salad. Really, really wild… but to me, it was a success, because I’ve never made a quinoa salad before. So, it’s just these little steps of learning a new hobby to occupy my mind and try to get better at something. I think we’re all trying to better ourselves. And I could certainly use being able to make something more than a breakfast food, even though that’s amazing.

Brett Eldredge camelbak

Courtesy Brett Eldredge

Your new single is called “Good Day” – aside from spending time outside, what are elements of a good day for you?

Elements of a good day for me: structure for me has been huge. It’s key for me to get up, to have that morning routine, to get the day started and kind of put on your armor to be able to handle whatever’s thrown at you that day. So for me, putting my armor on is waking up and meditating for 10 minutes. Then I started doing some stretching. Then I journal, write down the things I’m grateful for, write down how I’m feeling, what my intentions are for the day. Then I head out to the trail and go for a hike pretty much every single morning. If I do all that, I can usually handle about every single day. Even on the tough days, it definitely prepares myself and makes me realize the great things that I have in my life.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2021? 

To be able to have the opportunity this year to play some live music is going to be such a triumphant return in a way, because it’s been so long. I don’t even know what I’m going to do when I hit that stage, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic that we’re going to get back on that stage. I think we all need music. We need live music. That’s how we connect, is through music. And it’s amazing when we can hear it in our headphones and in our speakers, and it’s also amazing when we can get there and feel each other’s energy and connection. That’s something I’m really excited about and passionate about getting back to it.

But also, for anybody that’s going through it and feeling cooped up, we’ve all felt that tenfold through all of this, and the key is to take some time for yourself and allow yourself to feel however you’re feeling. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff and the stuff that’s making you feel that way and the bad stuff that’s going on in the world. There’s just plenty of negative things, but I highly recommend starting your day without just rushing in and going and grabbing your phone and seeing how many things you can worry about right away. Start your day, and instead just take a moment for yourself. Create a little ritual. Whether it’s meditation, prayer, just sitting in silence for five minutes and not rushing into the day. Whether it’s drinking your coffee while you’re having some quiet time. And then, get outside. Get outside, get outside, get outside. That’s the thing I recommend.

Also, don’t be hard on yourself if you like, binge watch a whole show and didn’t do anything that day, but realize that it’s always your choice of how you spend your time. You’re going to be glad if you get outside and not sit with the things that trouble you the most. Go move with them, move with those troubles. I think that that’s been the super power for me throughout all of this.

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