Krissy Moehl, champion trail ultrarunner, is a woman whose passion for trail running has taken her to some of the most beautiful parts of the earth.
Her long career as a trail and ultrarunner is made possible in part by her training style, making her one of the most durable and consistent long-distance runners in the world. Very few people have achieved Krissy’s longevity in a sport that by nature, is hard on the body and mind.
Though her fitness level and training program is only part of the equation. She has a deep relationship with running that became intertwined into her day-to-day life. We connected with Krissy to learn more about her book, Running Your First Ultra, what was most memorable about her run in the Swiss Alps and what exactly it takes to be a life-long, healthy runner.
How have you been able to run 100-mile races so consistently for 16 years?
[Krissy]: Running is a lifestyle for me, but I’ve had to work at it. Choices I have made that impact my life as a whole have often been influenced by the consistency I maintain with running.
I believe there are many factors that account for my longevity, including good biomechanics, a strong work ethic, learning patience, paying attention to my body’s needs in nutrition, recovery and injury. But in particular, prioritizing enjoyment.
In the few instances when it wasn’t “fun” I backed off. Whenever running stops being fun–which it does from time to time–I focus less on training and spend more time running for fun in the mountains with my friends. This helps me re-frame things and regain the simple joy of running. I also dive into other activities including cooking, strength training and home improvement projects to give my brain and body a break.
Because running is my constant, I know I will come back to it when I feel ready and that patience is key. I have learned that it’s best to not push it.
What does being a healthy runner mean to you?
[Krissy]: Being a healthy runner is listening to my body.
The more miles I run and the better I pay attention, the healthier I feel. What I hear teaches me about my own unique needs when it comes to recovery, nutrition, cravings, rest, strength and the emotional influences.
Like when I feel injury or illness setting in or am getting run down from traveling and racing a lot, I pay attention to my thoughts. If I think, “I should go run” as opposed to “I want to go run,” then I take a day off. When I do that, the payoff is a more rapid return to feeling motivated, overcoming illness and potential injury.
Health is mind and body, and I am so thankful to have the physical experiences to understand myself better, and help others cultivate that kind of insight into themselves through running.
What is one of your best memories of running in the Swiss Alps?
[Krissy]: Summer of 2015, after competing in a race called the Ultra Tour Mont Rosa, after which I went to Interlaken to visit with world-renowned photographers and all-around super-nice people whom I consider dear friends, Dan and Janine Patitucci.
Dan and I woke at 3 a.m. to run along a ridge called Hardergrat, where we were rewarded greatly with morning light that made for fantastic photos (including one that made the cover of the 2015 Trail Runner DIRT magazine).
What do readers learn from your book, “Running Your First Ultra?”
[Krissy]: I am very passionate about helping runners explore their potential. An amazing, bubbly emotion stirs in me whenever I see a first-time ultrarunner accomplish something they didn’t think possible.
Prior to the book, I satisfied that passion through my work as the race director of the Chuckanut 50k because it allows me to create a safe, encouraging event for newbies to complete their first trail ultramarathon. I’ve also been coaching for the past six years.
So when Page Street Publishing approached me about writing a running training manual, I wanted the book to serve people totally new to running distances beyond the marathon. As I’ve experienced, regardless of how long you’ve been running roads or trails, taking the step into ultrarunning makes you a beginner again.
Just when I think I have it all figured out, I’ll have another race experience that teaches me something totally new. Readers can expect to learn some of the insights I’ve gained from my long career about the awesome things the human body and mind can achieve when given the right mix of support, care, fuel and attention.