By Emelie Forsberg, Swedish trail runner and skier and Kungsleden Trail FKT record holder. (Picture by Philipp Reiter)
Emelie Forsberg is a professional Swedish ultra runner and ski mountaineer. Two years after winning her first mountain marathon, Emelie joined the renowned Salomon International team in 2012. Some of her biggest trail running achievements include winning the Skyrunning Ultra World Championship in 2014 and breaking the Kungsleden Trail FKT (Fastest Known Time) record in July 2018.
On top of being a world-class mountain athlete, Emelie also runs a small self-sustainable farm in Norway and she co-directs the Tromsø SkyRace, which she founded with Kilian Jornet in 2014.
In this interview, we got to ask Emelie Forsberg about her performance and recovery strategies. She also shares some insightful tips on how to recover from injury and how to take your trail running performance to the next level.
You compete in an impressive number of races each year. What is your approach to training to prepare for these intense competition periods?
My year is split between the ski racing season in the winter and the trail running season in the summer. I usually spend two months in the autumn preparing specifically for the ski season. During that time I focus a lot on strength. In the spring, after the ski season, I have a one to two-months transition period from skis to running. During that time I build up my running mileage progressively and I do more strength training than during race periods.
Last July you ran the 450km long Kungsleden Trail in a record time of under 5 days. What nutrition strategy did you use for this multi-day endurance challenge?
Since this was a multi-day challenge I fuelled mainly with “real food” rather than with gels. I had porridge and bread for breakfast. Throughout the day I ate sandwiches with a lot of nut butter and bananas. I made sure I had a big dinner each night to replenish my energy stores.
What are your favourite strategies to help you recover from races and hard workout?
I find that sports massages and regular stretching help a lot. I also make sure I drink plenty of water during and after workouts. In terms of nutrition, I find that eating fresh, nutritional, plantbased food helps my body recover quicker.
“We were all built to run,
all you have to do is put
one foot in front of the other.”
In 2016 you won the KIMA Skyrace less than 6 months after your knee surgery. What did you learn from this experience?
I learned that the most important in terms of post-injury recovery is not to stress about the time it takes to return to racing. Take it step by step and focus on recovering first.
On top of being a professional athlete, you are also a qualified yoga instructor. How has yoga helped you improve your running performance?
I don´t necessarily think that the yoga practice has directly improved my running but for sure it has improved my body knowledge and it helps me to better listen to small issues, tiredness etc. The main reason I practice yoga is because it just feels good, especially when I work on my stiff back!
What are the top 3 tips you would give to amateur trail runners looking to improve their race performance?
1: Challenge yourself whatever level you are at in your training.
2: Step up your training (if you have the opportunity to recover).
3: Race small races for the experience and good training!
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