There are a few key things that set an elite runner apart from an average runner:

  1. Their born abilities
  2. How they train and recover
  3. A dialed in race day strategy

Let’s face it. As much as I wish it weren’t true, there’s nothing that can be done about #1.

We can improve and become our best selves, but sometimes our best isn’t ever going to be as good as the runner next to us.

Alright. Before you give up and call it quits, there is some good news: We do have control over #2 and #3.

We can train efficiently, recover smarter, and perfect our race day nutrition and strategy. All of which will help us run smarter and stronger.

As a runner, I’m constantly in search of ways to do just that. I experiment with new strategies, and share them here on this blog. But sometimes the best way to learn is by simply listening.

And that’s just what we’re doing today.

Interview with Darcy Piceu

Elite ultra runner and HOKA ONE ONE athlete Darcy Piceu is best known for her recent dominance of the Hardrock 100 mile ultramarathon. She went into this year’s race with 3 consecutive wins, and placed a strong second behind Anna Frost. Her achievements at other tough mountain races are equally as impressive.

Here’s just a few of her recent achievements:

  • Hardrock 100 winner in 2012, 2013, 2014
  • 2nd place at the Hardrock 100 in 2015
  • 1st at Bighorn 50 in 2015
  • 1st at Moab’s Red Hot 50+ in 2015
  • 1st at Scout Mountain Ultra 100k in 2014
  • 2nd at Quad Rock 50 in 2014

And so many more…

Darcy drops world class performances in some of the toughest mountain races in the world, and does so in a smart, efficient manner.

I was thrilled for the chance to speak with her, and take advantage of this opportunity to ask how she handles some of the most common frustrations for trail and ultra runners — Recovery, pacing, nutrition, and shoes.

So let’s get to it!

Note: We had some technical difficulties throughout the interview. Sorry for the scratchy voices and mis-matched video!

Here’s what we talk about in the interview:

  • How to recover quickly and bounce back between races
  • Training for technical mountain terrain
  • Smooth transitions between running and hiking on steep inclines
  • Late race ultramarathon nutrition — whole foods vs. energy gels
  • Darcy’s favorite HOKA ONE ONE shoes, and why they work so well for her
  • Should you always stick to your training plan?

Click here to listen to the audio version.

Links from the interview:

Want more?

The rest of this interview, plus over 4.5 hours of additional interviews from elite and experienced runners like Stephanie Marie Howe, Mike Wardian, Chris Vargo, and more are all available in the Trail Runner’s System. Click here to jump-start your training today.


Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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