Magda Boulet has not only been successful in the ultra marathon world, recently finishing 2nd in the brutal 2017 Western States 100 Mile, but she is a former Olympian in the marathon. Magda shares her story about her natural progression throughout the distances during her running career, and how she reached the Olympic trials in 2008 ready to have the best race of her life (which she did) to finish 2nd in the trials.

Magda is very real with us about the frustration and struggles she went through at the Olympics and why going into it injured removed a lot of the joy and appreciation for her (and what she would do differently now).

We talk about her transition to ultra races and how she became so successful from the start. She gives us some very interesting (and helpful) advice about why we should be hiking up hills in longer races, even if we feel like we can run up them, and how that helped her in Western States 100 Mile 2015 where she won the race, and 2017 where she finished 2nd.

This podcast episode is for you if you love to learn how to listen to your body, and you enjoy getting inspiration from other runners about how to be your best. Magda is so experienced, and is happy to share her advice with us.

Today’s Guest

Magda Boulet

A 2008 Olympian in the marathon, and now one of the most successful ultra marathoners, who at 43 years old is continuing to impress. Won her debut 100 mile race at Western States and finished second in the brutal 2017 Western States.

What You Will Learn About

  • How Magda first got into running and what made her fall in love with it
  • The heartbreak of finishing 4th in the Olympic Trials in 2004, followed by taking time off to have her son before she bounced back to finish 2nd in the 2008 Olympic Trials
  • The advice Jack Daniels (her coach) gave her before she raced the Olympic Trials
  • Why her Olympic experience was not as good as it should have been or she hoped it would be
  • Why she ran a 1 mile race and 50 mile race one after the other
  • How to be successful in ultramarathons

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Inspirational Quotes

I was running with brand new inspiration after my son was born, a completely different level of motivation.

It was an incredible race for me, a day we all dream about having as competitors, everything just lined up.

Go and run the race you know you are in shape for.

I feel to this day that there was so much pressure I put on myself to perform a certain way.  When you put so much time in, you want to represent your country to your best ability. Having that injury [happened a week before the race] was extremely frustrating. You feel that sense of guilt, that there are only three women representing the country, and you have a bum knee. 

I know now that there are things you can control and things you can’t control. 

It is unfortunate that we get hurt, and sometimes the worst time to get hurt is when you are trying to represent your country, or trying to run the most important race of your life.

Dropping out of a race is extremely difficult to deal with. It is never easy to repair that damage that has happened.

I was ready for a new challenge, ready for a different direction and motivation. Most athletes that competed around the same time as me, once they completed that, they leave the sport, once they know this is the last Olympic trials. I wasn’t ready to walk away from competing, I was just ready to walk away from road marathons.

One of my favorite workouts for marathons was always the long run. I knew deep inside that there was something about this long stuff I was going to enjoy.

In ultras there is so much more room for mistakes. The shorter the race, the more risks you can take. In a 100 mile race, once you burn it, it is difficult to repair it.

[On ultra races] In early miles, it is really important to listen to your body…some of the low moments you have where your body is not floating on Cloud 9, you aren’t feeling great, you have to respect the moments you don’t feel 100%. You have to listen to the signs and cues your body is giving you. It is so worth backing off when your body is telling you. If you have more in the tank, it will be there at the end. If you push through some of the signs early in the race, it is going to be very difficult to have a strong finish.

That is part of Western States, the beauty of the challenge, that it is always unpredictable and there are elements that can change…it’s not disrespecting it, but more believing that you can do it, that you can beat that. I have learned over the years to make sure that I listen to my body…I think I have an easier time listening to my body, and that comes with having the confidence to back off, having the confidence to let go of your pack, or telling your pacer to push me enough, but give me feedback.

Part of what attracts us to this sport is that it is so challenging, and that you have to fight all these different elements.

I look forward to racing, it is a celebration of weeks and months of workload and no matter what happens, I always try to have a good time.

Resources Mentioned

Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Magda. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

marathon, olympic trials, Olympics, trail running, ultra running

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