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The Trail Runner Magazine Lightning Round 50k

To be great is to live great. We're asking thirty-one elite runners thirty-one rapid fire questions. What makes them tick? What are their habits, their routines, their preferences? This new online column takes you there. One profile per month.

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Yassine Diboun, 43

Yassine Diboun is an ultrarunner who routinely places near the top in some of the most difficult American and international ultras, including a 3rd-place finish in the 2016 HURT 100 mile race and top ten finish at the 2013 Western States 100. In 2015, Yassine was one of five American runners who represented the USA at the IAU World Trail Championships in France.

Diboun is a Columbia Sportswear sponsored athlete living and training in Portland, Oregon, where he co-founded a local training business called Wy’east Wolfpack. He lives close to the trails with his wife Erica Wagner Diboun and daughter Farah Diboun.


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

I usually wake up very early and have a short margin of time to get ready and go based on me loving sleep so much. Then I immediately turn my thoughts to coffee so I can think better!

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

In general, I would say “YES,” but some days I am on the cusp of “NO.” I go to soak/sauna/steam 2-3 times per week and those days I am very hydrated, probably drinking close to a gallon of water per day. On the other day, probably half that.

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?

Honestly, I am ashamed to say that I have not finished a book in the past three months!

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

Life in general. My family, my job and business, upcoming goals, gratitude.

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


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

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what make you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

Coffee or tea?


RELATED: Does Coffee Hurt or Help When Running?

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

Ted Lasso.

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

Montrail Rogue Racer.

Your all-time favorite race course.


Least favorite sports nutrition flavor?

Passion Fruit.

Morning runner, midday runner, or evening runner? 


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

65 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? 

Coros watch, Naked running belt.

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

“Feed The Good Wolf.”

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

Find what works for you by doing, not listening, to others. What works for them might not work for you and vice versa.

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


Meat or no meat?

No meat. 

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

Courtney Dauwalter.

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

Running around Mt. Hood on the Timberline Trail for the first time with many friends! This 42-mile trail that encircles Mt. Hood has become a ritual for me every year, but it was that first time that we all did it together that sparked the fire. Many of those folks that did the first lap are still close friends of mine, bonded by the movement and the mountain. 

Skateboard or rollerblades?


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

Let’s Get It.

Favorite race distance?


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


Tacos or burritos? 


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


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

Probably something active, also, like a basketball league or softball. 

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?

Planning recovery weeks, off-season, and self-care techniques have really allowed me to be consistent year after year.