Did you know trail-running was a thing? We didn’t, until we met Keira Henninger, a devoted ultrarunner who crushes 100-mile weeks as a celebrated distance runner.
Running on a track has its appeal, but running on trails through the kind of stunning terrain that Keira shows us on Instagram? We love the idea — and understand why Henninger is absolutely obsessed.
Keira blazes trails as Race Director for Keira Henninger Trail Races and, as the head coach of Dirt Divas and Dudes Trail Team, she trains runners of all levels beginner to expert. We talked to this enthusiastic athlete and coach about the wellness routines that keep her in peak condition…
While many of my races are on hold, I train all year long to ensure maximum success come race day. Being an accomplished runner isn’t just about running. Nutrition, cross training exercises, and the right kind of recovery are just three pieces of a much larger lifestyle puzzle. These pillars of health are essential to my daily routine, and I’ve passed this knowledge onto my trail team.
On Cross Training: A Strong Core is Key Doing the same exercise routine every day bores your body and limits progress. The solution: shock your body with cross training.
Swimming, cycling, and yoga are great examples of exercises that fire up muscles, and puts less strain on runners’ joints. My current go-to is an at-home weightlifting routine 2-3 times a week to condition different muscle groups and engage my cardiovascular system.
I don’t do this for vanity. Core exercises harmonize the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen. This connectivity can make anyone a better athlete.
On Nutrition: Go Natural I can’t run my best without proper nutrition. Running long distance burns a lot of calories, so I fuel my body with what I call a ‘rainbow plate’. I fill up on organic vegetables, complex carbs, and healthy fats. I include protein in every meal to maintain muscle mass. This comes from either legumes or (occasionally) grass fed meats. My favorite lunch is a giant organic salad packed with my favorite add-ins: raw veggies, avocado, quinoa, and some homemade MCT oil dressing.
Pure foods light my fire.
Lastly, I drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. When you run or exercise, you sweat. It’s natural. So it’s essential to replenish lost fluids to prevent dehydration. I recommend purchasing a large water bottle and carrying it with you everywhere. If you run long distances, invest in a hydration backpack. Your body will thank you.
On Recovery: R&R is crucial Running can take a toll on your body. It’s not uncommon to develop stress-related injuries like shin splints, knee sensitivity, and muscle strains. The key to longevity in a sport like running is maintenance. Adding a cool down routine post-run drastically reduces the risk of injury. I try to complete a 30-minute stretch and foam roll session 3-4 times a week and always take one rest day. If I’m in a hurry, I opt for a 10-minute stretch session instead.
I also stick to a recovery life-hack that feels like insider knowledge: sustained energy from Tru Niagen®.
Most people exercise. Most people stress. And, most people put stress on their bodies. To maintain energy, we all rely on a critical molecule called NAD+. Found in mitochondria, “the powerhouse of the cell”, NAD+ helps generate the energy our cells need to help us move and live. Simply put, without NAD+, cells can’t function properly, and neither can the body.
Between the ages of 40 and 60, adults experience a near 50% decline in their NAD+ levels due to age and external stressors (think alcohol, poor diet, etc). To boost NAD+ levels and increase energy, I take Tru Niagen®. A unique form of vitamin B3, this micronutrient is clinically proven to increase NAD+ levels after eight weeks. This is a great resource because it adds a vital layer of support to maintain healthy muscles and healthy aging.
“Supporting my recovery allowed me to start running 100-mile weeks again – an achievement I thought I lost permanently as I got older.”
Ultrarunning is intense, but it’s my passion. In order to continue, I have to ensure that I am in the best shape possible. Solid nutrition, strength training exercises, and stretching are essential to my weekly routine. Taking care of myself off the path allows me to be my best on the path.
Valid in the U.S. only. Not valid on wholesale orders. Not valid for current subscribers. Discount expires 6/15/2021 at 11:59pm PST. All rights reserved. This story is brought to you in partnership with Tru Niagen . From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.