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Trail Running Q&A

Good morning!

I am a tad sleepy this morning but it doesn’t even matter. Last night, I went and saw Les Miserables which is my favourite musical of ALL TIME. I am a bit of a Francophile so seeing the show live made me lose my mind a little. (And also explains why this post is up later today – sleep > editing blogs.

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I’ve been getting some more reader questions lately and I thought I would tackle some today. If you have a question for me, I can’t promise to be an expert, but I am happy to answer in any way I can. (Email lacesandlattes@gmail.com).

It seems you guys are trail minded these days, so I made this a trail running themed Q & A.

Q: What watch do you use for trail running? Is it is the same as the one you use for road running?

A: Actually – no. I love testing out gear and I have a different watch for road running than I do for trail running. For trail running and racing, as well as any triathlons, adventure races or any other activity that requires a watch that is durable and won’t get destroyed by the elements, I use my Suunto Ambit 2.

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This is the first watch I have found with a specific setting for trail running and it offers navigation, speed, heart rate, altitude, weather conditions and is water proof. (I even wore it during my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!) It uploads to Strava alongside my other watches and it is my little adventure watch. You can follow my Movescount here and my Strava here if you are interested.

 

Q: If you are training for a road marathon, why are you running trails?

A: Good question. Trails are the perfect way for me to work on strength and stability as well as getting in some hard core hill training. As I prepare for long stretches of pavement, it is important to me to have training in more difficult elements to make race day seem like a breeze. Mind you, my long runs are all done on road, but my conditioning work is done on trails. Switching up the surface helps to prevent injury and keeps my training interesting and fresh.

 

Doing some hill climbs to prep for next weekend!

Q: My shoes were destroyed by my last trail race. How do I get rid of the mud?

A: How destroyed are you talking? I was knee deep in mud after my Run for the Toad 50 KM but I threw them in the washing machine and after 2 washes, they were good as new. Just make sure you take out the inserts. I also like using an odour eliminator to spray shoes down after a trail session to keep them smelly rosy.

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Q: What trail races are you doing in the fall?

A: I list all my races on this page, BUT I am constantly adding to it. I am doing 5 Peaks Kortight Centre and Hardwood Hills (email me for an updated discount code if you want to join me), Chase the Coyote and RAID THE HAMMER, teaming up with Explore the Back country. I also am in the process of solidifying details for an exciting December trail adventure so I will keep you updated on that.

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Trail tips:

Email me for a special discount code for the last two 5 Peaks Races in Ontario. Let’s Get off the Road.

I am joining with the Orangeville Running Free this Sunday for a course tour of Chase the Coyote. Let me know if you are interested and let’s go chase some wildlife!

My questions for YOU?

What trail races are you doing this fall?

What watch do you use to train on trails?

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Albion Hills 5 Peaks Race Report/ New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Review

Happy Friday! I am in the midst of a delicious carb-load in prep for my marathon this weekend. It has been so much fun to be out at the other stages this week, cheering on my other team mates as they race their stages.

I am looking forward to leaving everything out on the course this weekend, but first, I wanted to do a race recap of the Albion Hills 5 Peaks race that I ran last weekend.

First of all, this is my new favourite course in the series. I was not familiar with the elevation profile and had no idea what to expect. I arrived in good time and went through my normal pre-race routine, including a light warm up and headed to the start line at 10 am. I was not intending to race the course hard because I had already begun a taper for the marathon this weekend, but I was looking forward to checking out the course!

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5 Peaks always has the best swag and this race was no exception. Super cool heat and cooling pad which I am sure will be put to good use after this weekend.

I ran the Enduro course so I ran two loops of 5.7 km. I began in the first wave and headed quickly to the trail head because I knew there was a lot of single track and I wanted to make sure I was able to run the pace I was hoping for. I tucked behind my running buddy, Peter Lawless because we always end up running similar paces at these races and we chatted through the rest of the race.

The course itself was described as a roller coaster and it really was. So many twists and turns which is my favourite type of course. This was flatter than some of the courses and although there were some hills, it felt like the fastest course yet.

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The last km was nice and speedy and I crossed the finish line feeling great!

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I stayed for the awards ceremony and to spend some time catching up with my fellow ambassadors and trail friends. I placed second in my age group and I now have a medal in every colour from 5 Peaks. LOVE it. :)

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Awesome race and I am looking forward to racing it again next year!

What I ate pre-race: banana, toast with nutella and coconut oil, nuun water.

What I wore: Saloman trail top, PUMA shorts, CEP compression socks, New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail

Let’s talk about that swag little pair of shoes for a second, shall we? New Balance gave me a pair to test out and ever since they have introduced their fresh foam technology, I have been increasingly excited about the shoes.

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Firstly, how fabulous are the colours? I got mine in Orange with Black and Apple Green. Here is what they look like in iPhone quality.

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This is completely a “do what I say and not what I do” thing, but I actually ripped the tissue paper out of them the morning of the race and headed out. I had ZERO issues and they were beyond comfortable with that “already worn in” feel.

One of the most helpful features of the shoe considering the steep, gravel inclines I was tackling was the bottom of the shoe which has a sweet design.

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Looks like a reptile of sorts, but what it really does is claw you up hills.

I have had some concerns from readers when they saw my instagram photo of the race and shoes that they may be bulky. I will admit, that looks like a whole lot of heel for a trail shoe, but because of the light foam technology, they felt as light as some of my minimalist shoes.

I was impressed by how stable they were, considering the amount of cushioning but there were overlays in the fabric in the forefoot, allowing for extra stability. There is closed mesh in the shoe upper so there is no way that there will be sticks, stones or mud get through the shoe.

I love ‘em! I will be wearing them to race the rest of the 5 Peaks series and they will most likely sneak into my bag for Transrockies next year. I’d be happy to run 120 miles at elevation with these guys, and that is saying something.

How about you? Have a race last weekend or one on tap for this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

What is your favourite trail shoe?

 

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How to Make a Training Plan (And Stick With It)

Welcome to Monday!
It was a weekend jam packed with running for me. I did the Creemore Vertical Challenge 25KM on Saturday morning (recap will be on the blog on Friday). It was a fantastic course and although it was a training run for me, I was excited to finish first female.

Sunday, I spent the morning checking out the 5 Peaks Rattle Snake course with the race director and ambassadors and finished off the day by hosting a trail run in Waterloo with the Toronto Run Club Night Terrors. I love meeting other runners all throughout Canada and I have some exciting runs planned for the summer.

Doing some hill climbs to prep for next weekend!

Doing some hill climbs to prep for next weekend!

Group shot with some of my favourite trail running friends.

Group shot with some of my favourite trail running friends.

 

Night Terrors at the Hydrocut. Finishing off the weekend of trail running!

Night Terrors at the Hydrocut. Finishing off the weekend of trail running!

(As an aside, if you are thinking of running Rattle Snake next weekend, send me a message at lacesandlattes@gmail.com and I will hook you up with a discount code. )

Last week, I completed the finishing touches on my seven week training plan for my upcoming Endurrun marathon which will also serve as a launching point into my Scotiabank marathon in October. I’m not going to lie, it was a blast, but a wee bit hectic.

I used my MovesCount profile to create the plan and was able to track my weekly running milage as well as all my cross training. It is helpful because it gives me my average cardio for the week and I was shooting for between 10 – 12 hours and it landed me at 11.5! I have been meaning to do a post on how I track my training and I thought that this would be the perfect time, especially as I know many of you are thinking of upcoming A races this fall.

1. Determine the weeks leading up to the race – I knew that I had seven weeks to get into marathon race shape. Considering I am building from half marathon race shape, it really isn’t a proper training cycle length to build and taper, but I worked out some creative solutions in my cardio to add fatigue without the wear and tear.

2. If you are new to creating training plans, talk to an expert – For me, that was my coach. I sat down with him and brought my past mileage and weekly workout habits and we discussed the best ways to proceed. I would have made some silly training decisions without his advice.

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3. Know it won’t be perfect – As I mentioned, I am not building in an ideal time frame, but it has allowed me to be creative. What do you do when you have a 30 KM run on tap for the same weekend you are doing an 8 hr adventure race? How do you add appropriate levels of fatigue without adding too much milage? (I am cycling an hour before my long runs).

4. Make it as easy as possible – I created the plan in Moves Count and added it to Garmin. This has uploaded my training into both my Suunto and Garmin watches so it can tell me what I am doing on any given day. It is also a great way to monitor milage.

5. Track your progress – I also hand write each workout into my beloved Moleskin planner which tracks everything for me from my appointments, workouts to my budget. If I lost it, I would be aimlessly wandering. An important thing I do with my handwritten workouts is to colour code them in the following way:

Green – I felt AMAZING
Orange – The workout was a bit underwhelming. I didn’t feel 100%
Red – It was full of pain and suck.

Zoomphoto Inc Event Photography

If I start dipping into the orange, I monitor my training and potentially adjust my milage or intensity or just take a plain old rest day to make sure I am not over training.
6. Don’t be ruled by your plan – As I mentioned, if I am feeling burnt out, tired or not into my workouts, I will take a rest day, no matter what it says on my training schedule. Also, sometimes life happens and your mother wants to take you for dinner or a long distance friend is in town. People always trump races for me so just remember that this is FUN and the track is always there tomorrow.

If you are interested in tracking my training, I am on Strava and Moves Count.
I will also be sharing pictures and updates on my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

What do you use to track your training?

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Race Report: 5 Peaks Heart Lake Trail Race

Let’s talk trail races, shall we?

Last weekend, I did two races and both of them were different enough that I have split them into two posts.

Saturday morning, I raced the 5 Peaks Heart Lake course in the Enduro distance which was 14 KM.

It was a PERFECT day for racing. The weather was gorgeous, the energy was great in the racers and the course was HARD.

I arrived nice and early to pick up my race kit and say hello to some of my friends who were racing. Also to pick up the sweet swag at this race – this time around, there were some wicked arm warmers.

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The race started at 10 am and I made a pretty grave error straight away which was starting out too quickly. I was wearing my new Suunto Ambit watch which I will be doing a review on in the future, but I am still learning how to use it, so instead of starting it, I changed my screen.

As Erin, the race director, later announced – This watch is smarter than you – and she was correct. It worked fine once I got the hang of it, but I wasn’t able to track my speed in the first couple kilometers and I was flying.

Eventually I settled into my regular pace and tackled the course which was much more difficult than I expected. Coupled with the first race of the summer run in the heat and the fact that I ate deep dish pizza for breakfast, it was a difficult race for me. (Re: the pizza, I am not saying I have it all sorted out nutrition-wise. It was early enough when I got up that it seemed like a good idea at the time. My gut thought differently around 10 KM.)

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The race course itself had a nice variety of technical single track and rolling double track allowing me to be speedy in some portions and making me work hard in others. There is a MOTHER of an incline at around 6.5 KM and 13.5 KM that literally had me clawing in the dirt to get to the top. It is moments of a race like that which put the biggest smile on my face, even if I am hurting. This race also had a fantastic amount of fallen trees to leap over.

I crossed the finish line for a time of 1:12:42 which earned me fourth female OA and first in my age group. Yes, I am a fourteen year old in the results – I don’t want to talk about it..

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My finish was even caught on film! (Don’t judge – I was HURTING)

I didn’t feel that great due to digestive issues, but that was rectified with some of the amazing food waiting for racers at the finish line.

I was able to stay for prizes this race and I was excited to hang out with my team (who won the team category!) and some of the ambassadors and friends.

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What I ate: Dinner – Chicken breast, spinach, sweet potato
Breakfast – coffee, two pieces of deep dish pizza. (Just…no)

What I wore: Skechers GOUltra Trail Shoes (I review them here)
PUMA shorts
Health + Performance jersey (New Balance)

Check out other reviews by:

Health and Performance

Kent – A fellow ambassador

Michelle – A fellow ambassador

Another fantastic race by 5 Peaks! I will be at the next one at Rattle Snake Point on July 12 which promises to be just as technical and just as fun. Message me for a discount code and come join.

Did you race last weekend? How did it go?

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Trail Running Etiquette

Happy Monday morning to you all. To my American readers – I hope you slept in this morning and are spending the day relaxing and enjoying a well-deserved holiday!

For the rest of us, it’s back to the grind! I had a fantastic, sun-soaked weekend full of long bike rides, weight training and camp fires. It is finally starting to feel as if summer is rolling around here in South Western Ontario.

Today I wanted to chat a little bit about trail running. It feels like it has exploded this year more than any other year prior and I am EXCITED about that! I fell in love with the sport in 2010 and I cannot imagine a week without spending some time in the local trails.

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However, I have been getting some emails and comments lately with some trail running questions and I thought I would take some time and tackle basic trail running etiquette before the season is too long underway.

Stay On The Trail

In order to preserve the integrity of the trail system you need to stay on the trail. When you go off trail, you tend to destroy habitat and eventually if enough people stray from the path, the foot traffic can create a trail where one was not intended.

Leave Nothing But Footprints

Don’t litter. It’s so easy to leave gel packets and energy bar wrappers, but there will not be someone coming behind you to clean up like a road race. Litter damages the environment and ruins the experience for other people. Trash can also be  ingested by animals and you can harm your local wild life.

Stay To The Right And Pass On The Left

Ideally you should stay to the right, and announce your presence by saying, ‘on your left’ as you pass.


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Share the Trails

If you are training on a system that is both mountain bikers, runners and hikers, be aware. Announce your presence clearly to hikers who are moving slower than you and hop off the trail to the right when you hear a mountain biker approaching.

Run Over Obstacles

Run single file in the middle of a trail, even when the trail is obstructed with a fresh blanket of snow or is muddy. Go through puddles and not around them. Running around mud, rocks, or downed tree limbs widens trails, impacts vegetation, and causes further and unnecessary erosion. Use caution when going over obstacles, but challenge yourself by staying in the middle of the trail.

Be Aware of Trail Conditions

If the trails are exceedingly muddy, refrain from running  so that you don’t create damaging potholes in the surface. The wetter a trail is, the more damage you can do. Trails that have been constructed with rock work, or those with soils that drain quickly, may hold up to wet conditions – even a downpour. But, in general, if the trail is wet enough to become muddy and hold puddles, all hikers, runners and mountain bikers should avoid it until the moisture has drained. Tearing up the trail ruins it for everyone.

Happy trail running!

What is the most important piece of trail etiquette for you? 

Goals for May

Goals for May 2014

What a weekend! It was one of those weekends full of amazing people, great memories and not enough sleep. The kind of weekend that leaves you exhausted come Monday morning, but with a huge smile on your face. I am so blessed to have a strong community of friends and runners who consistently make my day and that is something to be grateful for.

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If you follow me on Strava or Instagram, you saw there were lots of hills that were ran this weekend. I have a big hill race coming up next weekend and I want to be ready!

It is hard to believe that we are already in May. I have been ramping up my milage for my big summer races and so far I have been fortunate to remain injury free. It’s time to take a look at what I want to accomplish this May but first, let’s check out how I did in April. 

1. Foam roll and stretch every night before bed. C

Yeah…this was not a thing that happened. I had the best intentions, but I wasn’t able to execute it regularly because I found myself choosing between foam rolling and sleep, and sleep always wins. I did add a baseball and lacrosse ball to the therapy family arsenal so I feel as if I am more preventative than ever. I have made a huge effort to stretch and roll after ever hard run. Plus, our hot tub is open now, so there have been some long therapeutic soaks.

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Living dangerously

2. PR my next race. A+

 

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Check and check. Two races down in the books and both with a PR that shaved minutes off my old time. The interval training I have folded into my plan has been paying off!

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3. Stream line my schedule and instigate a bit more organization and time management. B

I have gotten better at my schedule and adding a few life hacks in to my days to help things flow more smoothly but I have realized that I thrive on being busy…almost too busy and until I can shake the habit, no amount of streamlining will add extra time to my day.

4. Organize my laptop. A++

I spent an evening at Starbucks with a latte and cleaned up my computer. It was fun to go back and find things I had written in undergrad and I even found a piece that I will be sharing in the upcoming months. SO nice to have a cleaned up computer.

5. Make big progress on my blog project. B

Blog projects always take longer than anticipated in my experience. I have had a number of meetings and developed the template, but there is still a bit to go…

Onto May! This month, I want to…

1. Increase trail running for Sulpher Springs and 5 Peaks Series. 

Lots of trail running friends have been shaken out of the wood work and I have been setting up more regular runs to go take in the local trail systems. I need to increase my hill training and technical skills so I am looking forward to adding more trails in May as the systems dry up and hope to add a brunch or two at the end!

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Past Sunday morning = Perfection. Long trail run and brunch

2. Increase community involvement. 

I have been given a really exciting opportunity to lead a running clinic with a local organization. I LOVE the community that I live in and I am excited to become involved in a new and exciting way.

3. Have a rocking race weekend on my birthday.

May 31 was the day that I first made a run into the world and I am celebrating with a weekend of racing. It kicks off with the Terra Cotta 5 Peaks run and ends with the Women’s Half Marathon in Niagara. I would love to see you at one or both of the races. They are my birthday parties. The race organizers just don’t know it yet…

4. Take one night off a week. 

I had alluded to my bad habit of busyness above and I am finding that it is getting just a little insane. For the sake of my training and mental health, I am reserving one night a week where I am home with nothing to do but get things done like cooking, laundry and blogging. Fingers crossed I can get an A+ on this one.

5. Spring clean!

It’s the time of year where my space and my car could use a little TLC and May is the month to tackle it!

What are your goals for May?

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Earth Day and 100 Miles of Wild

Yesterday was Earth Day and April marks the one year mark since I did my first trek with Adventure Science and was introduced to the amazing group of people who I now count among my most inspiring friends.

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The environment and my sport are completely connected for me – I have spoken in depth about trail running and the environment before such as the intersection between sustainability and athletics, but for me, nothing solidified it more than my 100 Miles of Wild experience.

Yesterday, they released the official science report of the trek and it is full of our discoveries from animals, ancient skulls and oil pads. It was such an eye opening experience how something that was described as “hell with the fires gone out” could be teaming with life and discovery.

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I’ll never forget the very last morning of the trek, I was feeling tired and cold and I sat up in my little tent, opened up the flap to reveal the Badlands and a field of bison grazing right in front of me. I was sitting curled up in my sleeping bag, having spent the last 7 days running across the ever-changing landscape without a shower or even a mirror and I felt completely happy.

Photo cred: Andrew Reinhard

Photo cred: Andrew Reinhard

Not many people have the chance to just LIVE outdoors. Camping is different – I have been doing that since I was a child. Running the 270 miles across the Badlands as a team required a narrowing of focus to the point where all we were focused on from the moment we got up to when we went to sleep was covering the miles and making observations. It was therapeutic, exhausting and amazing.

Modelling some petrified wood

This is why I love this sport. There is something very primal about running long distances off the beaten track. Time becomes irrelevant because all you are focused on is moving forward. This is why it is important to me to care for that beaten track. Because I run each trail as if it is mine.

Jessica

Happy belated Earth Day.

To read the official Adventure Science report on 100 Miles of Wild, click here.

What is the connection between running and the environment for you? 

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Is Trail Running Becoming Too Commercialized?

I began trail running in 2010 which seems to be around the time that most runners discovered this unusual sport. For me, I began running trails because one of my 60 year old coworkers at the time was a trail runner and he told me I hadn’t run a race until I ran a trail race. And that you didn’t run a trail race until you ran an ultra marathon.

At 20 years old, I was inexperienced in most race distances – the longest race I had ever completed was a 7 miler, but I went out and bought a pair of trail shoes and signed up for a 50 KM, because I wanted to run a trail race and that seemed like a logical place to start for me.

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I was immediately struck with the COMMUNITY that surrounds trail running as I began training. I did some shorter trail races with the 5 Peaks Racing Series and started the races sipping bold coffee and finished in sitting on grass, watching the winners receive their prizes. I felt like I had found a home.

The actual race was a gruelling one for me, but because trail races are smaller than road races, it was an intimate and inspiring experience. I fell in love with the rustic charm of trail racing and I have carried it with me. The local trails became my regular haunts and I even am bold enough to claim they are named after me.

Jessica

As a social person, running trails is a time where I can be alone to think, to work on myself and to just play.

That being said, in my short time in the sport, I have watched it explode. The amount of trail 100 milers across the country has grown exponentially because people not only want to grind out 100 miles over wretched conditions, but are willing to pay thousands to do it.

Small races that used to attract only the craziest in the world now have to resort to lotteries and often need to wait years to be chosen. More companies are being attracted to the sport and more money is being poured into the sport.

And you know what? I am glad. For me, popularity is not going to taint this sport. At the core of trail running is a sport where a bunch of down to earth, motivated people just want to go out and race together in the woods. Despite more and more people joining us on the trails to challenges their bodies and hearts, it will still only attract driven, simple people. The rest will be weeded out over the long up and down hills of the race courses because the core of trail running is a pure love for being outdoors and of running.

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As more money and companies flock to the sport, it gives trail athletes a chance to be supported in a sport they love which is how it should be. I even have been positively affected, being able to race for 5 Peaks and represent SKECHERS trail shoe line. Goodness knows that could never have happened without the sport growing in popularity.

I want more people to know about trail running. I want people to go out and get lost in the trails for a morning, leaping over logs, exploring trails and leaving the watch behind. Sunday mornings are my long run where I leave the numbers behind and just go run trails for a couple hours. So much of my training revolves around intervals and splits. Trail running gives my mind a break and I think it is something that people desperately need.

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So if you aren’t a trail runner and it sounds like something you want to do, are you busy Sunday morning? Because you will find me on the trails training for my next trail race that is bigger than last year. And THAT is awesome.

Do you think trail running has become too commercialized? Why or why not? 

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Competition in Trail Running

Top of the morning to you!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and are ready for your last full week of work before the holidays.

This weekend, I said goodbye to the snow and headed to sunny Arizona to hike some trails, visit some friends and trek the Canyon with my dad.

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Today I wanted to talk a little bit about competition and trail running.

There have been speculations that the sport has become too competitive as sponsors have been introduced and as the sport gains traction, events are pulling out bigger names and stronger athletes than ever before.

The trail community has been notoriously friendly, humble and down to earth. It seems almost counter to the culture of the trail to be hyper competitive, as people often visualize a lean, tanned athletes eating berries along the path as they run to the top of the mountain.

The truth is though, that in trail running, like every sport, you are only going to experience from the race what you are going for. If you are just starting out and are running your first ultra, merely to cross that finish line with a smile (or at least a good photo that hides your grimace), you will have a fantastic race, despite the fact that there are elites in the pack that are finishing a good 3 hours ahead of you.

On the other hand, as a racer myself, when I go to a trail race, I want to work hard to for my place. Sure there is a more relaxed culture in trail running, because really, how angry can you be surrounded by forest? But in reality, I want to be chasing the tail of the person in front of me and sprinting to that finish line.

Competition pushes me to find my limits and make sure they are maxed out.

In my mind, if you are not able to have competition in a sport, it cannot be truly defined as a sport. Despite the happy-go-lucky persona that surrounds the trail community, the drive to win and a stiff competitor are not ruining the sport, but validating the sport itself.

          What do you think? Is competition in trail sports important to you or do you find that it is ruining the sport? 

ultras

Should Kids Be Allowed To Run Ultras?

As an early twenty something, I get a lot of advice from other people who have lived longer than me. Most of the time, it is quite welcome, as I have never done this whole thing before and having people weigh in with their own experiences is enlightening and relatively helpful. However, I find lines are crossed for me when the advice switches into the speculation side of things, rather than the fact based. Take running for example. I have been told to stop running, especially the long distances, for many reasons, but a few of my favourites are listed below:

  • You will wear yourself out. You only have so many heartbeats and if you waste them on running fast, you will never get to live long.
  • Running will make you look old long before your time.
  • You will become overweight because of an increased caloric need.

I try to be gracious, but my go-to answer on this one is that my main motivator for running is not for health. I run for the same reason that other people may play an instrument or watch tv; it is a form of relaxation and an outlet to relieve stress.

When the question cropped up on whether or not kids should be able to run ultras, I felt as if the same backlash I get for my running applies here.

Here are the facts:

Ultras are an adult sport; the average ultrarunner is 35 – 40 years old, wealthy, educated and motivated. You never see a child on the starting line because ultras beat up their little bodies.

The younger you are, the more fast-twitch muscles you have, which means you have more ability for power and speed. As you age and hit the ideal ultra running age in your 30’s and 40’s, you begin to lose some of those fast-twitch muscles and move into a larger percentage of long distance friendly slow twitch which provide increased ability for endurance.

So far, ultras sound like the last place that a child should be present at from a health point of view. It can be dangerous on the trails, there is sometimes high level navigation involved, and they could damage their bodies because as far as I know, there has never been a civilization where children participated in stretching hours on endurance events. 

But the reality is, sometimes ultras are not run for health. A prime example of this is a beautiful, young girl named Winter Vineki whose father passed away when she was young from prostate cancer.

In his honour, she has been completing her goal of running a marathon on all seven continents. Not only that, but to be the youngest person to ever achieve this. Although she is not running ultras, there have been people frown upon the marathon distance for someone so young. For me, her age is not important – it is the fact that she is doing it for a reason that is important for her.

I think ultras are not the greatest idea for kids if health is the primary focus. But when you remove that from the equation, you are offering them the option to set world records as the youngest to ever accomplish something, to get outside for hours on end, to travel and to prove to themselves that they can. In a world that is full of children who watch hours of tv, I don’t see why they would try and stop a child who would want to do hours of running. The reality is, kids love to run. And I don’t think it is in our place to stop them.