Sarah Lavender Smith April 11, 2012 TWEET COMMENTS 1

Rickey Gates on Trail Running, Traveling and Living the Dream - Page 3

You wrote in
your blog that you thought you could win the NFEC50, but then your legs told you otherwise and you faded in the second half. Later, you blamed the performance on "wanting it too much." What did you learn from the experience?
My mistake with the NFEC50 was ignoring all the training that I had already done earlier in the year. … Other racers might disagree with me, but by the time December rolls around, you've either put in the work or you haven't. I erred on the side of too much training, and, by the time the race rolled around, I was completely spent.


How do you know when and how much to rest, and what about the training benefits of running on tired legs?
Tired legs are good at the beginning of the season. Tired legs at the end of the season mean something different. ... I am not a coach. I'd be an awful coach. My one-and-only suggestion is that people listen to their bodies. I obviously don't have it figured out completely. That's part of the fun: experimenting, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding.

Last year, you paced two phenomenal 100-mile champions, Kilian Jornet at Western States and Julien Chorier at Hardrock. What did you learn from being on the course with them, and did it make you want to be in their shoes—that is, did it make you want to run and win those marquee 100s?
I didn't learn all that much from Kilian or Julien, other than that they are incredibly strong human beings. Running an ultra is such an experiential thing, not something that translates all that well over to somebody that hasn't run one before. I wouldn't say that I wanted to be in their shoes at any one point, but would love to have had the experience. I don't know quite what the difference is there.

Last summer, after winning the Mount Washington a second time, you were battling a calf injury. Has it flared up, and are you presently managing any other injuries?
The calf injury hasn't been back. I've been dealing with a hamstring issue for quite some time. It's very frustrating but is teaching me some new things: relax, be patient, etc. Because of my hamstring, my training has been minimal: light miles, some bike.

Do you do any PT or cross training to help your hamstrings specifically or to help prevent injury generally?
When people are getting into running, it is essential to include the entire package: stretching, massage and strengthening. This video by Boulder coach Jay Johnson is a great five-minute daily strengthening routine. Perform these three things and you're guaranteed to enjoy running more and keep at it longer.

What has been your favorite international destination for running and why?
I can't say that I have a favorite running destination. Every place has its own charm. The South Pole on the Antarctic Plateau is one of the most incredible places in the world, though it is entirely flat, tree-less, cold, windy. It puts you in a different place mentally. There's a wonderful community at the South Pole—lots of books to read, lots of activities going on, bands to play in, art to make, games to play. It's easier living than most would think.


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