Running Free: 5 Questions With Emelie Forsberg

Emelie Forsberg runs for a living, but she doesn't have a coach and never follows a training plan. Photo: ©zooom.at/Markus Berger

The Swedish runner finished third in the 23.5-kilometer Limone Extreme on Oct. 13

Spending time moving in nature is what inspires 26-year old Emelie Forsberg, and that inspiration has carried her to podium finishes since she began racing in 2010.

With many wins and podium finishes, including firsts at the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, Dolomites Sky Race in Italy and The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile race in California, 2012 was Forsberg’s breakout season in the world of ultrarunning. She’s continued her winning streak in 2013 with first place finishes at the Transvulcania Ultramarathon and Zegma-Aizkorri Marathon, both in Spain, and the Ultra Race of Champions in Colorado.

Just two weeks after her UROC win, the Swedish-born Forsberg ran to third place at the Limone Extreme in Italy on a technical 23.5K course, earning her second place overall for the International Skyrunning Federation 2013 Sky Series.

How did it feel to win the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC)?

It was great, but I wanted to take the day as it came. It was my first 100K, and I really felt the altitude (the course began at 9,600 feet in Breckenridge and had 26,000 combined feet of gain and descent before ending in Vail at 8,150 feet). When I got up in the morning to walk from my room to the kitchen to make coffee, I was exhausted! It was really scary because I couldn’t breathe at first.

I’m happy with how the day went and to have won UROC and the Skyrunner Ultra title. But I’m not sure I’ll do that distance again.

How do you rest and recover?

After a race, I try to eat healthy food. I always try to eat organic, but really focus on it after a race. But I also listen to what my body needs. If you need a lot of ice cream, that’s OK. I also sleep and focus on relaxed movement. I’ll do yoga and go scrambling or climbing because it uses different muscles and I still get to move in the mountains. Sometimes I like to swim in a lake, but it has to be warm!

In the winter, I focus on skiing. It feels good to my body and gives me a mental break. It’s a little hard when I start running in the spring, and my first race or big effort will hurt. But I build up and get back into it.

RELATED: Photos: Ultra Race Of Champions in Colorado

What was it like becoming a sponsored runner?

Being a member of the Salomon International team means I can actually label what I am doing and can live from running and skiing. I still work part time (as a baker), but no longer have to a full-time job in addition to my sports. I also take classes at the University (Forsberg lives in Tromsø, Norway) because I love to learn new things and am finishing my master’s thesis in biology.

Do you work out with a coach or follow a training program?

I don’t work with a trainer and don’t think I ever will. I also don’t use training programs. I listen to my body and let it determine what I can do on a certain day. It’s so simple. I always try to enjoy my running and competing. If you enjoy what you do, you’ll do it more often and if you do it more often you’ll get better. I like moving myself in the mountains and nature.

What are your goals for 2014?

I want to work on speed and improve my capacity for shorter races. I’m excited to see if it works or not! I haven’t decided on my favorite race distance, but I do want to see what I can do in shorter events. Longer races require refueling and endurance, you have to go fast and hard in a 20K and something like a Vertical K is a huge push. And for a favorite race, it would have to be Transvulcania. It is just a wonderful race with people cheering, a great ambiance and a beautiful course.

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