Name: Keely Henninger
Based out of: Portland, OR
Favorite Distance: oh man...50 mile?
Favorite place to run: Near Mt. St Helens Wilderness in WA or in the Columbia River Gorge near Portland!
Currently training for: Lake Sonoma, Lavaredo Ultra trail and TDS (part of UTMB)
[Photo c/o: Chris Neilson]
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? If someone is thinking about "Keely Henninger" what should immediately come to mind?
A: I try to be extremely positive out on the trail, smiling, and showing my appreciation and support of everyone out there, so I hope people remember that, and spread it throughout their own races and experiences.. I just adopted a 8 month old aussie mix who I will have with me everywhere, so if anything, people will remember me because of her and her slightly crossed eye :)
Q: Where did your love of running come from? How did you get started trail running?
A: I didn't run in high school or college, I was big into sports, but after some injuries and realizing I wasn't going to play in college, I started to run a bit. My first trail race I got suckered into by a friend and showed up to a trail “marathon” that had no aid stations. I ended up using my Dunkin Donuts coffee mug as a thermos. I think after that, I was intrigued.
Q: What keeps you running long distance?
A: I love the challenge,the community, and exploring new places. I think testing what the human body is capable of is amazing. Pair that with beautiful trails, new cultures and the amazing community and I will be in this sport until I cannot run any longer.
Q: Do you have a weekly mileage that your body is happiest at?
A: I would say around 90 miles a week (running 6/7 days) is what I like most.
[Photo c/o: Chris Neilson]
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: Typically in high training weeks I will have double runs 3x a week and then 2 longer runs on the weekends with 1 day off. That typically looks like: I will chug some coffee, run in the AM (trails ideally), head to work, sneak in yoga, a strength workout, or my hip mobility/core circuit into my day, and then have a second run in the PM followed by some rolling/stretching or a massage (1x a week). If I finish what I set out to do that day- it is a success. If I don’t finish what I had planned for the day for no real reason, then I feel like it is not successful. But I won’t jeopardize sleep or possibly injury to get in a run or workout.
Q: Do you follow a training plan? Or do you run more on feel?
A: I am coached by David Roche, but sometimes I modify the plan based on feel :) It is good to know when to slow down, bag a workout, or add on a bit. Don’t ignore your body, you know yourself best, and sometimes it is okay to take an unplanned off day if that is what you need.
Q: I saw on Instagram that you’re currently a biomechanics researcher! So cool I imagine that’s a rigorous field. How do you balance your research workload with the training of a competitive athlete?
A: That is a great question. I recently got in the Research lab as a biomechanist, and it is my dream job. But, I have had to adjust my training schedule quite a bit since I don’t have as much flexibility.. I love to sleep, so I think getting up before 5am is for psychopaths (sorry to all of you awesome people who do it, I just can’t). I have started using a drip coffee pot so I can have coffee before my runs, and I have just gotten better with my time. I don’t typically have “free time,” that time is my sleep or eat time. :)
Q: You’ve raced in some of the most iconic races around the world! Through this, what has stood out the most to you? Is there one particular race or place or experience that has really shaped you as an athlete?
A: Oh man. CCC (part of UTMB) definitely tops the charts. It runs through 3 countries in 1 day and is supported by the most dedicated and passionate trail running community in the world! It was an incredible experience. The trails in the Alps are treacherous but beautiful and it is an all-around humbling experience. If you want to test your limits in all aspects of trail-running, I highly recommend one of the UTMB Races.
[Photo c/o: Chris Neilson]
THE FUN STUFF
Q: Do you have a best run ever?
A: Hmm. I’d say my most recent run at Chuckanut was one of my best. It was the first time in my entire running career where I felt that I could push myself how I have always wanted to throughout an entire race and still feel okay. I think I have finally been running long enough to make up for some lost ground other women have who ran longer or ran competitively in high school or college before turning to trails.
Q: Dream races or places to run?
A: UTMB, Patagonia, and perhaps John Muir Trail :)
Q: Do you have any favorite runner(s) you follow?
A: Oh man, all of my favorite runners are also some of my favorite people. So I follow all of them. I think everyone has an incredible story and I really enjoy the trail running community and how it unites us all, even if we have never met!
Q: Favorite coffee:
A: Oh man.. I love any coffee.. Mostly dark or medium roasts, and I especially love Equator & Kicking Horse
Q: Something that is challenging you right now?
A: Trying to fit in my running with my new job has been an adjustment. I have less freedom with this job throughout the day, so I have to plan my long runs to be done early in the morning sometimes and I am not a huge morning person. It is easy to make excuses in the AM, so I am trying to be better about getting up and out. Having a new doggie is helping me be better with my time.
Q: Something that is rewarding you right now?
A: Running really easy on my easy days. It may seem silly, but making a solid effort to not get carried away on my easy days is keeping my legs fresh for hard days, and I am running my workouts and races much faster as a result.
Q; What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
A: Testing my limits and exploring new grueling trails while competing against some of the best around the world!