In the dog days of summer when even the mornings are hot, we asked our EPIC running ambassadors why they love running and how to stay motived.
I love running for the fitness, the adventure, and the flow state I get into during long runs. I also love the mental and physical release. It’s like hitting the reset button. My most EPIC memory is a recently completed R2R2R of the Grand Canyon with Syd Lambert and some other goons. It was incredible!!!
My advice to any aspiring runners would be to train proper form, train the whole body (strong core/feet/back), and keep at it. With sloppy form you're doomed, but with good form, a strong body, and perseverance you can do amazing things. Oh and good nutrition! I stashed away an EPIC Wild Boar Bar on a recent Grand Canyon double crossing and there came a point where I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish, but I took a short break and enjoyed the savory EPIC goodness and before I knew it I was feeling Wild & Free once again and I went on to finish in excellent fashion!!
With five kids under 11 and a very active dog, I lead a pretty active lifestyle. My wife and I direct 28 trail running events throughout North America while also coaching, running, racing, and raising our kids. EPIC bars save my run on a daily basis because they allow me to get the natural protein that my body needs torecovery while I am on the go. Whether it is on the way home from a run or ride or as I am traveling to or from a race or kid’s activity they are an everyday game changer for an on-the-go father.
TIPS FOR STAYING ON TRACK:
- Get up before the sun to get things done.
- Drink a liter of water when you first wake up.
- Eat a big breakfast.
- Eat fresh fruits and veggies throughout the day.
- Eat salty Venison and Salmon Epic Bars to ensure you retain enough water and nutrients to fuel your activities
- Grill meat and veggies in the evenings and be sure to add plenty of salt
- Run or bike commute.
- Do a second workout inside or in water.
Go to bed early.
My most epic running memory was my first ever marathon which was in Hawaii. I haven't competed in a half or marathon ever before that day. Training paid off and I will always remember the crowds lined up through the streets cheering me all the way to the end!
One of the things that helps me is to find some people to run with. I find running with a buddy or two is very motivating. Also, I know the awesome feeling that comes from finishing a good run, so that in and of itself motivates me. Remember that rest days are training days, too.
Consistency is absolutely king; running is only enjoyable when you maintain fitness enough to enjoy it. You have to EARN good runs!
Magic trick: If you slam water right when you wake up (before moving or standing), you can easily drink a liter without any bloating or sloshing during your morning run. I typically do the first run fasted and this trick has made all the difference. Other than that, get bold with your salt, not just pink/Himalayan but grey/Celtic and even smoked salt are used weekly in my household. And always have a big jug of water handy, it's easy to ignore your own thirst otherwise.
In hot weather racing, drinking can get old, but a mild sports drink with plenty of salt (like Tailwind) and a salty snack (Chicken sesame bites every time!) will keep water apprealing and keep your drinking and absorbing fluids.
Staying motivated: Think playground rather than proving ground. Get out and put in the work because you want to not because you have to.
"It ain't livin' that you're doing if it feels like dying." - Ray Lamontagne
Summer heat: Embrace it, or avoid it. Learn to be comfortable with a hydration pack and remember to use it. Or, wake up early and put in the work before the rest of the world wakes up.
I have been fortunate to have many epic runs but few have had the emotions of my first big ultra marathon, The Canadian Death Race, 125km over three summits in the Rocky Mountains. I had only just recently gone from my longest run of 30km to 50km so you think I would struggle with 2.5 times the distance but it one of the most amazing 14 hours of my life. Coming off my third and final summit, having climbed 17,000-ft that day, I saw the kilometer marker "90" and started to cry. Not because I had a marathon to go but because I had just completed two! Everyone is a runner even if they don't know it yet. I believe that running activates a primal connection to our ancestors and if you can find a way to activate those gene memories through exploring or traveling on foot, giving purpose to your run, you will tap into motivation and energy from deep within.
EPIC is not only good for long hungry days on an unknown road through foreign countries but I've found its worth its weight in gold in receiving help, bargaining, and making friends. Everyone speaks the language of food! Last year traveling through the country of Turkey was made so much easier with a pack of EPIC. My trail run through the ancient towering rock pillars of Cappadocia at sunrise kept me and my stray dog friend fueled for hours!
To never forget to run with joy. There are so many gadgets, races, ways to compare yourself to others, and challenges that can take the joy out of running for you. At the end of the day, running is a hobby and hobbies should inherently be something that provides you with happiness. Also, to never sacrifice your body for a run or race. I live by the motto, "Run today with the intention of running tomorrow."
I always carry an EPIC bison bar in my pack. During my adventures in Colorado, I found myself out of gels and quickly feeling lightheaded from a lack of nutrition. I remembered I had my emergency EPIC bar in my pack, sat down atop a mountain, and basked in the glory of healthy, muscle-nourshing protein, fats and carbs! Saved my life that day and helped me finish my run feeling fantastic.