Roads to Trails - Page 3
Do you use trail running as a strength-building tool? And why else do you trail run?
Yes, trail running definitely works and strengthens muscles that road running does not. For example, in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, I trained on a simulation course on some trails in Mammoth to prepare my mind and body for the hills I would encounter. When I got to Athens, though, and took a course tour, I realized that the race-course hills would be no match for the mountains we trained in Mammoth!
Compared to the road, trail’s soft, dirt surfaces are better for a runner’s longevity. But I must incorporate road runs into my training so that my legs are prepared for the pounding that comes with running 26.2 miles along city streets.
Would you have any interest in trail racing—if your ability to make a living off of running was the same?
That is a tough question. With my profession as a road racer, I have grown accustomed to racing on the roads and training on the trails. I love how close the spectators are to the competitors when racing on the road. So while I love the idea of trail running, because I do it often, my trail runs are really a chance for me to be alone and with nature. Plus, I am a specialized road runner now. At a younger age, though, I might have considered trail running more if the money was the same.
After your career is over, do you think you’d try some trail races?
No trail races for me. I have met hard-core trail runners and they have told me about their experiences. I can tell that trail runners are passionate and dedicated … I can appreciate those experiences without wanting to do it myself.
What is your favorite kind of trail?
I’m not very picky. The only thing I don’t like is a narrow trail.
Is there a particular trail you’re interested in running?
I have read or heard about some interesting trails around the world. I’m not the adventurous type, so most of my running is geared toward training for a specific race. When I retire, I see myself enjoying more of the spectacular trails that I have heard about. But for now, I will settle for the trails in Mammoth and San Diego.
Do you have any interest in exploring what’s beyond the marathon someday?
In high school, I was a one- or two-mile runner. I hesitantly moved up to the 5K and 10K while at UCLA. In 2002, I ran my first marathon (in New York) and told my coach that it was my first and last marathon. Since then, I have come to love the marathon but, at this time, I can’t see myself racing anything longer.
What would it take to get you to run the Ultra Trail-du-Mont Blanc, a 166-kilometer alpine race with over 34,000 feet of elevation gain that circumnavigates Mont Blanc in Europe?
It would take an NBA salary for me to try a 166-kilometer trail run. I am very happy for those that can do it.