Obsessive Runner Ultra Lessons in Trail Running with Krissy Moehl

Ultra Lessons in Trail Running with Krissy Moehl

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Krissy Moehl is two things I am not: she’s a trail runner and an ultra-marathoner. She regularly competes in 100 mile trail races and at 35 years old, she has completed 92 ultra-marathons. And boy, I thought running the Disney Goofy Challenge Half-Marathon and Full-Marathon on back-to-back days was hard enough. There’s a phrase in sports where guys get “chicked” when a woman outperforms a man, and I can safely say that next to Krissy, I’ve been ultra-chicked.

This evening, I had the good fortune to head on over to Patagonia Toronto where Krissy shared her adventures, learnings and insights from ultra-trail running. Below are some highlights that I took away from the evening.

On Why iRun…

I asked Krissy to describe why she runs to which she responded:

“To narrow it to one answer is near impossible! Running is so many things to me and I do it for as many different reasons. The simplest form/wording is: iRun for connection & exploration. Connection to self, community, & the environment. Exploration of self, community, & the environment.”

Transitioning to Trail Running

Trial running is different from road running in that you need to use many more different muscles to move in the uneven terrain. Krissy does a lot of body weight training to crosstrain her muscles and for her, she focuses a lot on her core (I’m still looking for mine) so that she can stay more upright through her runs.

On Tapering

Krissy shared a story about her lead up to running the San Diego 100. 2 weeks before the race she caught a “nasty cold” and primarily slept during that time. She only got in a couple of short runs a few days before the race. This unintended tapering plan helped to lead her to setting a new course record. So when it comes to tapering, she would err on the side of resting and fight the urge to keep running more.

Transitioning Marathoners to Ultras

Krissy noted that many marathon training programs focus on having one long run day per week with recovery days before and after. With ultra-marathons, however, you need to train your body to run when you’re tired. With ultras, you need to build your base like you would with a marathon but have back-to-back days with a long run day followed by a run the next day. “You have to get used to running tired, but it’s so magical when your body just works.”

Recovery Nutrition

Krissy emphasized the importance of nutrition for recovery. She highlighted a “magic window” of recovery at approximately 30 minutes and 90 minutes after a run where you need to intake recovery fuel. She emphasized that it was much more important to eat something during that magic window rather than nothing – “quantity is better than quality.”

On Adapting To Life

Trail running has taught Krissy how to adapt – terrain can be rocky, steep, smooth or slippery. An ultra-marathon race can go in any number of unexpected directions – you just don’t know exactly how your body is going to be on race day at such long distances. It’s these lessons in running which help Krissy face 3-hour flights which turn into 15, where her luggage is lost, and when she finally shows up at her hotel, her room is given away (true story about her travel to Canada). Through these bumps in the road, she is able to handle them just like she does with her races, where she chooses to put on a smile and enjoy each moment. And for me, I enjoyed every moment hearing about Krissy’s learnings.

Thank you Krissy and Patagonia Toronto for a very insightful evening – I now need to look for some trails to run so that I can be amongst good company.

See you on the trails,

Andrew

 

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