Last year’s surprise 2018 Leadville 100 winner, Katie Arnold, has an unconventional approach to training.
A mid-40s mother of two girls, a book deadline, and dealing with the recovery of a broken leg, Arnold’s full plate made training for a 100-mile race difficult. Especially considering that her longest distance she’d ever run had been 62 miles.
So how did she train in spite of life’s obligations and distractions?
She parented her butt off. After all, one of the keys to endurance running is time on your feet. And there isn’t a better training regimen for time on feet and dealing with the mental rigors of ultra running than parenting.
An Object in Motion Stays in Motion
Arnold divulges the secret to her success in an article written for The New York Times: staying in motion.
My strategy for Leadville was simple, if unconventional: Everything counted. Walking with my daughters, Pippa and Maisy, to school, riding my bike to the grocery store, taking the dog out after dinner. Afternoons spent on the lacrosse field, coaching the girls’ team in our Santa Fe community league? Yup, training.
She squeezed in any moment to get a run in. Early. Late. Middle of the day. It didn’t matter. If there was time available, she put it toward running with the perspective that “a tough day of running is a great day of mental training.”
Family Life as Training Schedule
She let her family life dictate her training schedule, not the other way around. She didn’t rely on counting miles, a customized training schedule or coaching. Instead, she relied on her kids and everything that comes with them: “Motherhood was my superpower,” she writes.
Sonja Stilp M.D. is a mother, doctor and founder of RISE. She is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with fellowship training in interventional spine and sports medicine. When not at RISE, Dr. Stilp can be found staying in motion with her twin sons. They enjoy activities together such as biking, running, rock climbing, skiing and surfing. Schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Stilp at RISE in Boulder, Colorado.