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Words of caution: FKT’ing or “running” the Pfiffner Traverse

By Andrew Skurka / October 12, 2018 / 1 Comment

In a recent photo essay in Trail Runner, Sunny Stroeer gave a hearty endorsement of the Pfiffner Traverse, for which she set a 55-hour fastest known time (FKT) last summer: “The Pfiffner Traverse is a mountain runner’s dream: miles of smooth, gentle singletrack that flow through high mountain meadows and across infrequently traveled passes along the…

Live tracking: Run Rabbit Run 100 || Starts Friday at noon MDT

By Andrew Skurka / September 13, 2018 / 4 Comments

Tomorrow I toe the line for my first and only ultra marathon of 2018, Run Rabbit Run 100 in Steamboat. Three years ago I ran exceptionally well here, on account of both my time and pace (20:12, 3rd overall) and the seven-year gap from my previous 100-miler, Leadville in 2008. Training data would suggest that…

Review: Hoka One One Clifton 5 || Iterative changes from 4th gen

By Andrew Skurka / August 12, 2018 / 18 Comments

The fifth-generation Hoka One One Clifton 5 arrived in retail stores a few months ago, and the fourth-generation Clifton 4 (my review) is being phased out (REI clearance here). It is available in two versions: Clifton 5 ($130, 9.4 oz) Clifton 5 Knit ($135, 9.2 oz) I was sent the standard Clifton 5 for review. Both styles…

My solution to over-training: Racing flat, fast, and short

By Andrew Skurka / July 6, 2018 / 9 Comments

For my Outside blog I recently wrote about the unexpected benefits of running flat, fast, and short this spring, a break from my more usual up/down, slow, and long. Read: How to Avoid Overtraining I was not suffering from over-training syndrome, which is a debilitating physical breakdown that seems to have no cure. But if…

Race report: BolderBoulder 10K || 33:47, 27th place

By Andrew Skurka / May 31, 2018 / 4 Comments

Quick links BolderBoulder Official results My data: official splits, Movescount, Strava Intro Being a professional runner sounds dreamy, but one advantage of being merely a recreational runner is that you can define your running, instead of running defining you. For the past four months I took full advantage of this liberty by finding a new…

Saturday night lights: First track race in 10 years

By Andrew Skurka / May 17, 2018 / 4 Comments

If there is such a thing, last year I may have run too much: 4,029 miles and 456,000 vertical feet of climbing, with two road marathons and two 100-mile trail ultras — Boston, Bighorn, UTMB, and Houston. That’s an average of 11 miles and 1,250 vertical feet of climbing per day. While I’m not as…

Running & racing in cold rain: What should I wear?

By Andrew Skurka / April 24, 2018 / 8 Comments

At my Outside Online blog I have shared clothing recommendations for racing in cold rain, inspired by the recent Boston Marathon during which runners endured 40-degree temps, a 10 to 20 mph headwind, and an inch or rain. I wasn’t at Boston this year (or, fortuitously, Barkley, which also suffered from difficult weather), but I’m…

Heart rate monitor troubleshooting: Suunto Smart Sensor & Ambit3 Peak

By Andrew Skurka / March 16, 2018 / 69 Comments

Last November my heart rate monitor was not working properly. Readings were regularly inconsistent and inaccurate during training runs. I use the Suunto Smart Sensor and Suunto Ambit3 Peak (long-term review), which I purchased together in August and used together without incident for the first 150 hours. Here is an example of its behavior: The readings are…

Review: Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 || Easy singletrack + mixed runs

By Andrew Skurka / February 28, 2018 / 10 Comments

My shoe-de-jour changes with the season and the training cycle. Last summer while training for 100-mile mountain ultras and undertaking high routes I was most excited about the Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra (my review) and La Sportiva Bushido (my review). In the lead-up to the Houston Marathon in January, I put hundreds of miles on the Hoka…

Reader Q || Poles for ultra trail running: recommendations, sizing, & carrying

By Andrew Skurka / February 26, 2018 / 20 Comments

From reader Matt. P of Knoxville: The value of poles in an ultra depends on: Individual fitness, Course length, and Amount of vertical climbing. Essentially, the more hiking you expect to do, the more valuable they will be. Participants in the middle and back of the pack will hike more than the front-runners, but some…