The Trail Runner Lightning Round 50K:
David Laney

We’re asking thirty-one elite runners and visionaries thirty-one rapid fire questions. What makes them tick? What are their habits, their routines, their preferences? This new online column takes you there.

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David Laney, 33

David Laney runs for the Craft Elite Run Team. He placed third at UTMB (2015), was the 2015 Ultrarunner of the Year, is a 2:17 marathoner, 2019 Rocky Raccoon 100-Miler winner, 2021 Desert Solstice 100-Miler winner, and, most recently, the 2022 Gorge Waterfalls 100K winner.

What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up? 

Why this bird chirping outside my window has to be so freaking loud at 5:02 a.m., but also it’s nicer than an alarm clock so I’m okay with it.

Do you drink enough water? How many cups per day, would you say?

I have no idea. Probably enough on most days. I usually keep a cup out in the kitchen, and I go to the kitchen enough, so I’m usually good to go.

RELATED: How to Hydrate for Better Trail Running

Yes to meditation or no to meditation? 

Yes to meditation. 

RELATED: Trail Runner articles on mindfulness

Best book you’ve read in the past three months?

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

What is the most common thing you think about while running?


What is the one food you obsess over near the end of races?

Chocolate milk.

One quote you seem to always come back to for motivation while running . . . 

“I want you to rub butter on my foot . . . Pam, please? I have Country Crock.” – Michael Scott, The Office

Coffee or tea?


RELATED: Does Coffee Hurt or Help When Running?

Your latest (Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV, Disney+, etc.) binge show of choice.

Space Force or the BBC series Ghosts.

Favorite trail shoe of all time (Even if it’s no longer available).

Craft CTM Ultra.

Your all-time favorite race course.

Lithia Loop Marathon.

Least favorite sports nutrition flavor?

Peach Iced Tea.

Morning runner, midday runner, or evening runner? 


What’s the sweet spot in weekly mileage for you during a training block?

90-110 miles per week.

Average hours of sleep per night?


RELATED: Sleep: The Low-Hanging Fruit of Recovery

Name some all-time favorite pieces of running gear you rely on? 


When the going gets rough in a race, what do you murmur to yourself under your breath?

Hakuna Matata.

What are three words (or one sentence) you’d share with someone new to trail running who is looking to improve?

Walk the uphills.

GPS watch, regular watch, or no watch when running?


Meat or no meat?

No meat. 

RELATED: The Injuries You Can’t See: How David Laney Learned to Manage His Running Dependency

You can sit and have avocado toast with one famous mountain/trail athlete. Who’s that?


Forget Fastest Known Times. What was your Funnest Known Time?

Any day doing the Enchantments loop outside Leavenworth, Washington, is a pretty good day. It’s about 26 miles for the full loop (though you can make it a 17-mile point to point with a car shuttle). Lots of great swimming lakes and high alpine views.

Skateboard or rollerblades?


If you were a Spotify playlist, what would your title be?

The Dream of the 90s Is Alive In Portland.

Favorite race distance?

100 miles.

You’re stranded on an island with only one board game. What game?

Oh man. Probably Monopoly because I could burn the money? I honestly don’t have the attention span for board games. I start daydreaming and lose and then wonder why I lost.

Tacos or burritos? 


How do you keep track of your training? (Strava, paper log, other, neither.)

Paper training log.

RELATED: Going Deep with David Laney

If you weren’t a trail runner, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

That is the question. Maybe a full time dog walker. I think I’d like that.

LAST QUESTION: What is the single biggest adjustment you’ve made to your training regimen over the years that’s elevated you from good to great?

Still trying to figure that out.

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