Jeff Fleming is joining me on the show today for a chat about all things trails.
He has run multiple ultras of various distances, he clearly isn’t afraid to challenge himself.
I am looking forward to going a few easy trail miles with Jeff.
It was only as an adult that Jeff truly began to love the sport of running.
As a teenager, he viewed running as a thing that was only done during other sports.
When Jeff was in his 20’s, he went to the gym occasionally to stay in shape but with no goal, it was hard to stay motivated.
Jeff heard about a local 5-mile race and decided to sign up as a way to give himself a goal to work towards.
The exciting race atmosphere had Jeff hooked after that first race.
From that first 5 mile race, Jeff keeps upping the distance he runs to see what he’s capable of.
Even before Jeff was a runner, he enjoyed hiking.
His love for the outdoors and avoiding traffic to stay safe is what primarily led Jeff to explore trail running.
Pushing His Limits
Jeff is no stranger to the ultra world having completed several 50k’s and 50 milers, two 100k’s, and one 100 mile race.
As he goes longer the mental challenge becomes just as much of hurdle to jump as does the physical challenge.
His most challenging race to date was his 100k race, not his 100-mile race.
The challenging races have been learning experiences for Jeff.
Jeff has learned that if he keeps his momentum during a race it’s easier to continue moving forward.
When he finds himself wanting to slow down or stop, he asks himself why.
The answer to the question is typically one that encourages him to keep moving forward.
Some of his best races have not been his fastest ones.
Trails Vs. Roads
Jeff prefers the trails over roads, but he appreciates what road races have to offer as well.
One of his favorite marathons is on the road and is a party atmosphere the entire way.
The community comes out every year, rain or shine, to cheer on the runners.
In contrast, the trails are quiet and peaceful with few to no spectators.
Jeff enjoys the trail post-race scene more because it tends to be a smaller more intimate crowd.
For Jeff, the downside to roads versus trails is recovery takes longer.
This downside doesn’t prevent Jeff from running at least one road marathon a year.
Jeff has learned a lot over the course of his multiple ultras and countless training miles.
While he may be safe from traffic on the trails there are other dangers to be aware of.
Mostly his brushes with wildlife have been minimal but he once encountered a large cat at night.
That one encounter was enough to remind him to always keep his guard up and to stay aware of his surroundings.
Knowing how to hike well is critical during trail races, especially ones that include a lot of elevation.
When Jeff finds himself struggling during a race he will allow himself a walk break but will keep the pace brisk.
He has found that if your body projects a negative posture then the mind will often follow and it’s harder to dig yourself out from.
Another tip he has learned is to minimize the time spent at aid stations which goes back to his point about keeping the momentum.
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