TNF100k Baguio Champ Iker Karrera: His Views On Running

It was a privileged to see in the flesh, world famous Spanish ultra-trail running icon, Iker Karrera visit our shores and give lectures on trail running, running gears and to run the gruelling North Face 100Km Trail Run in Baguio City which he eventually won in a little over 12 hours. He and Edu Martinell , another top Spanish Trail Runner & International Social Media Manager arrived in Manila on Monday, April 16.

Trail running great, Iker Karrera

These two trail running greats kicked off their Philippine visit with an early morning trip to Tagaytay Highlands on Tuesday, April 17. Iker and Edu ran part of the very arduous trails of Tagaytay Highlands together with a good number of friends from Salomon Philippines and some media. In the evening, the  two guests spent time with some members of Manila’s running community via a meet and greet session at the Bonifacio High Street Activity Grounds, just across the R.O.X. Store.

Iker with Salomon Philippines Brand Manager Janice Tanada. Emcee Boy Ramos (extreme left)

The following morning, Wednesday, April 18, I was able to attend an exclusive by-invitation only Salomon XR-Mission Shoe Launch and Press Conference also held at the ROX Store in Bonifacio High Street. Together with media and runner bloggers, we were privileged to see the latest road-to-trail running shoe from Salomon, the Salomon XR-Mission. In addition, it was great to listen from these two trail running superstars how Salomon has equipped them to become the top trail runners in the world.

With Edu Martinell (L) and Iker (R)

Here’s a portion of the media interview with Iker Karerra:

Dream Trail Run or Race:

There are many, more than I could ever run (within the duration) of my life. The world is full of beautiful mountains and I would like to run at all!

How can you describe your ordinary training week?

It depends on the season of the year. In Winter, I run less.

I do other activities like nordic skiing and biking. More or less I try to train 6 days a week. Sometimes, I have active rest days–not too many hours a day.During weekends, I run or ski from 8 to 10 hours.

Spring and Summer seasons have better weather. There is no snow in the Pyrenees! This marks the start of the racing season. The workouts are much longer, more intense. Active rest days are still present. On weekends, training volume increases. But this depends on my work, after i have organized my week.

What are your goals for 2012?

To run better and have less physical injuries (Not that i have many injuries but,….). Also to enjoy running more. The results come if I’m training well and if i am enjoying the mountains.

For hard mountain races like UTMB, what are your tactics?

Train very hard and prepare all the details of the race as much as posible. Anticipate the weather condition, your necessary food, clothing, etc. Try to read the race ahead. Be mentally flexible in making decisions. Have someone you can trust to follow during the race, who will give you support throughout the event.

For us living in the lowland, it is quite hard to achieve good mountain running techniques. It is possible to get strong for the uphills but  the downhill part is hard. When reading about this topic you can see that there are two different approaches; either you do some long and hard quad burning downhills now and then to let the legs get used to it or you can develop a smooth technique with a fast turn over and short strides.

What is your opinion on this?

It depends on theslope, the type of terrain– if they are grass, loose stones, rocks, tree roots, if the way is straight or curvy, wet or dry. There isn´t ONE technique- one that fits all. Also depends on your technique, your physique– if you are big or small, heavy or light…. Always looks for maximum energy efficiency with minimal physical effort.

How do you train for good uphill/downhill technique?

I have been running in the mountains, uphill and downhill, since I was a child. I haven´t worked too much on the specific technique. It comes naturally.

What can you improve?

Everything can be improved.

2011 was the year of your big breakthrough, how did this come about?

I want to think of it as the consecuence of years of hard work& training in the mountains. Also because things went well with good results during the Major Races.

During UTMB last year, Kilian Jornet increased the speed on the last section and took the first place 8 minutes ahead of you. Was it a team order to let Kilian win or was he just too strong?

Kilian won because he was the stronger athlete. He was stronger during the whole race.

Is it your turn to win UTMB this year?

At the moment, I´m not thinking about that yet. I will just train well, try to make good races before the UTMB, and to be at the begining of the UTMB in the best physical condition as possible.

They call you here a Legend. Do you consider yourself as one?

Me, una leyenda? No, no, no..! (laughs)

Salomon XR-Mission (Women's)

Salomon XR-Mission (Men's)

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