A Balanced Approach: 5 Questions With Megan Kimmel

Megan Kimmel is slated to compete in The North Face Endurance Challenge Gore-Tex 50 Mile on Dec. 7. Photo: ASICS America Corporation

The American ultrarunner talks about juggling racing with owning a small business and more.

After a fifth year of winning top points at the La Sportiva Mountain Cup and making the USATF Mountain Running Team for the third time, Megan Kimmel is getting ready to run The North Face Endurance Challenge Gore-Tex 50 Mile in San Francisco on Dec. 7.

Kimmel dropped out of the race in 2012 because of calf issues, but looked at it as a good scouting opportunity. It was Kimmel’s first attempt at a 50-mile race, and she feels more pressure going into this year’s event. At the same time, she looks forward to running a beautiful course between the mountains and the ocean. We caught up with the Asics athlete to learn more about her winning strategies for training, racing and work.

You run a mix of distances, everything from 10Ks to ultras. What’s your philosophy with choosing events?

I really like variety and switching up distances. My favorite distance is the half marathon, but I try to get in at least one ultra a year, they are such a different experience. The La Sportiva Mountain Cup (a 10-race series that Kimmel has won every year since 2009) is definitely a concentration for me. They are good for training and the races are fun.

Over the next few years, I would like to add more international races, supplement with a few more classic ultras, and try to improve my time at the Pikes Peak Ascent (Kimmel finished first in 2009 with a time of 2:40:16). Making the USATF Mountain Running Team is also a focus and super big honor (Kimmel made the team in 2008, 2009 and 2013) for me.

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How do you train for different distances?

I focus on the next race to come, while keeping my whole schedule in mind. I mix in different speed and endurance workouts. Some days I may get in a short run, possibly just 45 minutes, and other days I’ll have long runs that may stretch out to between three and five hours depending what’s next. I try to get on my bike at least once a week too, but that doesn’t always happen.

For your day job, you own Mobius Café in Silverton, Colo. How do you run a small business and train?

I do the best I can. I’m pretty easy going, but have realized I need to avoid stress. Mobius is my No. 1 priority and I keep up with running the best I can. We have six weeks of summer in Silverton, so that is my busy season for work. Then, I basically get two racing seasons a year, spring/early summer and hop back on the ball for the fall.

What’s your favorite run?

I really like to go someplace I’ve never been before and do long adventure runs. I usually run alone, it’s kind of a meditation for me, but adventure runs are always more fun to do with someone else. You get to share the experience of being somewhere cool.

For a favorite race, it’s the Golden Leaf Half Marathon in Aspen. It’s what got me into trail racing and the course is beautiful.

RELATED: Photos: 2013 Golden Leaf Half Marathon

You grew up in Denver, vacationed in the mountains and now live in Silverton — mountains have always been a constant in your life. What do you get from them?

Ultimately it’s a wilderness experience and everyone can find nature’s nooks and crannies right out their back door.

But for me in the mountains, there’s an amazing amount of energy in natural surroundings and it feeds my soul without a doubt. Every time I’m on a trail, I feel thankful. The fresh air is huge, and so is the feeling of being alive amongst nature.

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