Name: Dani Moreno
Based out of: Santa Barbara, CA
Favorite Distance: Super hard but I would say 20-25k!
Favorite place to run: I love Switzerland, but like most runners, your home always has a special place in your heart :)
Currently training for: GoPro Mountain Games
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? If someone is thinking about “Dani” what should immediately come to mind?
A: Someone who can’t sit still and tries to do everything. Lol! I often jam pack my days with activities aside from running. It is pretty common I will run, climb, and be in the ocean in the same day. I love constantly learning new sports and challenging myself!
Q: Where did your love of running come from? How did you get started running?
A: I began to have a real appreciation for running at the end of middle school. We would do these half mile test every week and I loved trying to beat everyone in my class. I got addicted to the feeling that if I wanted to get better it was in my control not only physically but mentally. Before I knew it I was beating everyone in the school, including the boys. Once I started running in high school I knew it was something I could never leave behind, running was challenging and fun at the same time, and for me there was nothing quite like it!
Q: What keeps you running?
A: I took a break after college, mostly because I was burnt out on running. However, it wasn’t too long before I started going on short runs again. It’s tough to say but I really am a better person when I am running. It allows me to think and helps me get my energy out. But, above everything, I love the feeling of your body taking you places and seeing the world and people around you from a different perspective.
Q: Do you have a weekly mileage that your body is happiest at?
A: It honestly depends where I am in my training but I love 70s. When I get into the 80s it requires more focus and recovery, which for me is hard because I like to do so many other things. Anything less, and it’s difficult for me to feel as consistent. I think mileage is different for everyone, and whatever makes you happy is what you should do :)
Q: You are an elite runner for HokaOneOne and Run Rabbit! That’s such a unique opportunity. I feel people are always curious to know how did those relationship begin. Was it always your goal to become a sponsored athlete?
A: I can honestly say I never thought I would ever be good enough to get any sort of sponsorship. I feel beyond grateful that I have the opportunity to represent two brands I love day in and day out, it truly is something I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams.
Q: You’ve had the amazing opportunity to represent the USA in races abroad! What was that like? The race y’all ran looked SO challenging!
A: Racing for the USA is something that words will never be able to justify. It was a true honor and I don’t plan on it being the last team I make. Standing on the start line is something I will never forget, I honestly had to stop myself from almost full out balling. The music, the chanting, the jerseys of other countries standing next to you..it was truly the best moment in my running career thus far.
Q: What does a typical day of training look like for you? Is there anything you definitely need to have or do to feel like you had a successful day of miles?
A: For me the work week can be very tough at times when it comes to training because its a constant balancing act. It does wear on me sometimes, but it’s not hard to convince myself that it is always worth it because in the end a truly successful day is a day where I get to run.
Q: Do you follow a training plan? Or do you run more on feel?
A: I have a coach (Coach Terry Howell) who trains me in Santa Barbara. He is the absolute best coach I could have ever asked for and I follow his plan that he gives me.
Q: Is there any part of your training that you feel makes the biggest impact on your fitness level?
A: Being happy and not using a scale. I used to be obsessed with wight myself in college but now I just go off of how strong I feel. That and my bosu ball, bosu ball is life! haha.
Q: You recently posted about the frustrating norms the women’s running community is still facing in terms of what a “real runner” should look like. I feel so many of us struggle with this idea, even if we really don’t want to. What empowered you to speak up and out about this?
A: You know this was a conversation I had thought about for a while, because while I knew it was impactful I didn’t really know exactly how or why- it just was. It felt powerful because it stirred something in me I hadn’t really felt before but i hesitated to share it because I really didn’t know how to put the experience into my own words.
It wasn’t until a beach run that it came to full fruition that while the content of the conversation is what made it special, it was the occurrence of the conversation that made a difference. That being said, when everything started to make sense I finally felt that I I could share my experience in a way that others would understand and be able to create their own relation to it .
Q: Getting more women into trail and mountain running has been a major conversation recently. Do you have any tips for a gal who is maybe thinking about trying it out but feels intimidated?
A: What I love about trail racing is that it nurtures an environment for women where it doesn't matter what body type you have, how old you are, how much running experience you have, or what your college personal records are. It is about who is the strongest, most fearless, and the most willing to push past their physical and mental limitations on that day. This is not to say you won’t find this in road races, because you definitely will. However, I do believe that trail races, especially those of ultra distances, carry with them a certain sort of awe that everyone can relate to, not just the professional and elite runners.
I wrote about this in a previous article you can find here..
Q: Do you have a best run ever?
A: Oh man, that’s hard to say. I would say any run I feel like I am flying is a best run ever.
Q: Dream races or places to run?
A: I would love to run in New Zealand, Scotland, and Ireland so badly! Races I would like to pursue in the next few years are CCC in Europe and the Otter Run in Australia, however I need to start jumping into ultras to do those which I plan to do in the next few years.
Q: Do you have any favorite runner(s) you follow?
A: Honestly, I really admire all of rabbit and HokaOneOne teammates.
Q: Favorite post-run food:
A: Oh man so many good choices! I love rice bowls with avocado and tons of veggies, but I can definitely get down on a bunch of sushi after longer runs and races.
Q: Favorite coffee:
A: Dirty chai with a single shot of espresso! This is my pre race go-to each time :)
Q: Something that is rewarding you right now?
A: Life, always. I feel so gracious for my life and the people in it. I honestly would be nowhere without my friends and family.
Q; What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
A: I set a few goals in 2017 that I wasn’t able to obtain, mostly because I got a really bad injury in the Spring that messed up my summer training so I am looking to achieve those. A main goal is to make the USA Short Distance Mountain Team, so that is my biggest focus right now in my training.