Q&A with Runner & Coach Art Ives

Courtesy of Art Ives
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New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run and what are some of their running goals.

Art Ives is one of the most respected coaches and athletes in the running world. RootsRated was able to ask him a few questions about his personal journey. You can read more about Art in his RootsRated.com profile.


Years Running

Your favorite trail?
Switzerland Trail, Gold Hill, Colorado

Your favorite event?
 Western States 100, Mt. Taylor 50K, Elkhorn 100K

What keeps you running?
 In the late 90’s I met several 70 something runners who were joining me at the starting line of the Leadville Trail 100. I was so moved, I knew from that day forward I was a “lifer.” Hence my coaching slogan, “Run Forever.”

Toughest aspect of running for you?
Even though I love the peaking process, I sometimes find myself resistant to the time it takes. Waiting for recovery or healing can make me restless & impatient. It’s the downside of what, for me, has been a predominantly positive addiction to running.

Road or trail or both?
I love “grand traverse” long runs that connect from trailhead to trailhead via whatever roads are necessary to get to there and back. If you run them right you can activate new and deeper muscle tissues with each surface change – leg speed & smoothness on the road – strength, power & agility on the trails.

Favorite conditions to run in (time of year, temp, etc)?
 My favorite workout is a 20 – 30 miler in cool weather. I like the freedom of it. Cruising overland through the fall colors of the mountain parks and farmland here in Colorado lend themselves to this experience.

Your inspirations?
I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from the culture here in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado where both the local and international running community is rich with tradition and talent pool in every age group is understated. I attended The University of Colorado in the 70’s where I was close to the track and cross-country program before taking up running myself after college. Frank Shorter has lived here longer than I have and, historically, his contribution has been immense.

I have always cherished Olympic moments like Billy Mill’s 10K victory in Tokyo 1964 (50 year anniversary just occurred), Frank’s marathon gold in Munich, 1972 and Seb Coe’s 2nd consecutive 1500 meters in Los Angeles, 1984. My blog roll reflects how Ethiopian, Scandinavian and Native American running have always fascinated me. Over the years, I have become friends with remarkable men like Binesh Prasad, who had an illustrious career competing all the major world championships running 800 meters for the Republic of Fiji. Both he and his wife Nadia, who ran for France, own Olympic Healing Hands Massage where they care for many of the great international runners who either visit or make there home here.

However it was my involvement in trail ultra running that changed everything for me by expanding my sense of the human body’s limits and potentials. The fields of runners competing in some of the ultras where I raced or paced were so steeped with talent that I had a first hand window into the sport like no other. I think Ann Trason as the greatest athlete I have ever been around for example. The lifelong friends I made with people like Steve Peterson, Randy and Kris Whorton and Kirk Apt have all been a huge part of this growth and expansion for me.

Advice for other runners?
Keep it simple. Find a coach who knows how to protect their runners getting injured. Run in beautiful places, follow a balanced training schedule, be consistent with your long runs and always practice good form and pace judgment. Always keep it at a pleasant effort and always have some semblance of foot-speed in your weekly program.

Your next running running goals?
A sub-3:00 marathon and/or completing the 50M or 100K distance on trails competitively once again.

Your favorite music to work out to (or perhaps no music?)
I enjoy both music and silence. I grew up in coastal Los Angeles around great FM radio. So music became one of my outlets to the big world. To this day I’ve been known to resort to binge listening of American Grunge Bands like Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters etc. as well as Post-Punk British groups, Kasabian, The Cure, Oasis & Blur to name a few. I’m wearing out on “Classic Rock” to some extent but I’m not done with it by any means. When I get on a good roll with training. I’ll sometimes stay with a specific artist every week for my most challenging workouts. It’s fascinating what the rhythms and vibrations of tunes will do in terms of both altered states and performance enhancement when combined with prolonged physical exertion. This is especially true running in nature. Having said that I think it’s good to do silent weeks with little or no noise or technology. This helps me tune into the being (or I could say meditative) aspect of my mind and body. I never race with music, that’s for sure.

Do you prefer group running or running alone?
I’m at my best when running with my clients in my training group. Having said that I will always appreciate the self-contained joy of running alone. The sensations of running always make me feel good whether alone or with others. Fortunately I get to do both.

Running pet peeve (other runners, trail regulations, etc?)
Any form of immodesty by pundits, athletes or authors gets me riled. As does some of the fragmented, baseless theories on running form and training techniques that are circulating right now because they can mislead and confuse people. Some of the forums I’ve read where the merits of various FKT’s are discussed can get pretty ostentatious. This is like comparing eras of mainstream sports on talk radio. I’m an amateur anthropologist who thinks it’s quite credible that a sub-4:00 mile may have been run long before Bannister’s historic run but nobody cared. I realize I risk being immodest myself by expressing these views but you asked.

Place in the world you’d like to run?
I just returned from Yellowstone National Park where I got oriented to the magic and power that can be witnessed on the run there as long as someone brings the bear spray! The Canadian Rockies, Ireland and Australia are other places that come up for me.

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