Ultra endurance runner Courtney Dauwalter is pretty chill for a person who can run more than 200 miles without stopping. She’s run plenty of 100 mile + races, often breaking and setting records, often beating the rest of the pack (men and women) by significant margins. Take the Moab 240 race in Utah last year, where she 238 miles in under 58 hours, crushing the male second-place finisher by more than ten hours. In addition to her seemingly superhuman feats of endurance and resilience, Courtney is equally well known for her relaxed, positive, and uncomplicated attitude towards competition, pain, and training. Whether you’re an endurance racer or not, we can all learn something about approaching our own struggles, challenges, and goals with a resilient, focused, and positive mindset like Courtney. Listen as we chat about her background in sports, some of her hardest races and craziest challenges, how she trains, how she eats, and how she deals with failure, and why the path to greatness means approaching challenge and pain as “fun problem solving.”
Courtney Dauwalter is an American ultramarathon runner, who gained mainstream attention in 2016 when she won the Run Rabbit Run 100-miler in Colorado less than one minute off the course record and set the record on the Javelina Jundred 100K. In 2017, she set the record for the longest run in 24 hours, at 155.391 miles during the Riverbank One Day Classic. She also won the 2017 Run Rabbit Run during which she battled temporary blindness for the final 12 miles. In 2018, she ran 279.2 miles in what’s known as Big’s Backyard Ultra, a grueling race during which runners have to complete a 4.16667-mile loop each hour: the last person standing wins. By the third night of that race, only Dauwalter and Johan Steene remained. After going mile for mile with Steene for 67 hours, Dauwalter conceded. At that point, she and Steene had run 33 miles farther in the race than anyone had before. Also in 2018, she finished the Moab 240 race in Utah in 2 days, 9 hours, and 59 minutes, faster than any of the men or women in the pack and beating the second-place finisher by more than 10 hours. Courtney is equally as well known for her baggy running shorts, penchant for beer and candy, and positive, easygoing outlook in the face of near insurmountable challenges. Here’s a short YouTube documentary about Courtney and article about her in the New York Times.
4 – 13 Introduction to Courtney and her most recent race, what her training and racing season looks like
13 – 16 Her background in high school cross country and other sports, and what fuels her competitive streak and drive to push and compete, even when it’s only against herself. What kind of strategy does she employ to keep pushing boundaries, even when she’s winning by hours?
16 –24 What does her pre-race week look like? What does her sleep look like? What time does she train, how does she train? Find out why she doesn’t listen to music on her crazy long training runs
24 – 42 A deep dive into her mindset around training and her notably relaxed attitude towards the details: why she isn’t putting a lot of thought into recovery, diet, or new technology
42 – 52 How do ultra runners eat and fuel themselves during training and during actual races?
52 – 59 How she thinks about mental resilience: how she talks about herself, how she deals with failures
59 – 1:04 We talk about some of her scarier injuries and experiences during races, including falls and suffering corneal edema (temporary blindness) during a race – which she still finished
1: 04 – What upcoming races and goals is Courtney working on?
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