XTERRA Ambassador Kevin Tuck will be making his 9th trip to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah this September. Last year, he won his 60-64 age group with a time of 1:37:23. This comes out to a speedy 7:26 per mile on a very challenging course at altitude! Even more impressive was that this was Tuck's eighth straight age-group title.
We recently caught up with Tuck to learn more about his training, his love of running, and what keeps him coming back to Utah year after year. His humble and sincere responses are further evidence that you will meet the most wonderful people on XTERRA trails.
Q. How has your season been?
A. It's been a great year! I am lucky and have the opportunity to run in many desert races in Arizona during the winter season. I got to jump over a rattle snake on the trail, which was a highlight!
I have done about 10 races since January in the 13-18 mile range.Because of my racing during the winter months in Arizona, the summer has turned into my off-season and it's when I hit the fun runs.
Q. Can you talk a bit about your training? What kind of mileage do you log?
A. I am a very low mileage trainer, around 30 miles per week depending upon if I have raced recently. I currently live and work in Sun Valley, Idaho during the summer, so I do what I call adventure runs - I pick a new trail each week and try to see the wild back country. By the time I do one a big run each week I'm all tapped out.
Q. What are your favorite workouts? Do you train by yourself or with a group?
A. I used to train with my best friend in Salt Lake City - Dr. Bob Evers, a six-time XTERRA National age-group champ. We were very compatible and the old push pull really helps training efforts. In addition Dr. Bob came up with creative training runs.
Currently I run independently. I think too many runners tend to run someone else's program, and I believe that running should be more individual and more fun. The most important thing is to listen to our bodies.
Q. How do you balance career and training?
A. Again, I've very lucky. I own a consulting company and my largest client offers me the flexibility to train on my schedule in spectacular locations like Sun Valley, Idaho; Flagstaff, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; and even Snowbasin!
Q. What are your goals for the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship
A. My goals are the same every year. I try to run as fast as the year before and avoid any nagging cramps. So far, I'm 0/9. My times keep getting slower and the cramps get worse!
Q. Can you share a favorite memory of XTERRA Nationals from the last decade?
A. Ha! I remember the first year I did XTERRA Nationals - it was still held in Lake Tahoe. I was so busy with work that year, I flew into Reno at around midnight. Early the next morning, I drove to Tahoe only to discover a course covered in snow. And it was raining. We ran through mud, jumped over logs, and dealt with the snow. I had a noon flight to catch out of Reno, and I swore I would never do that race again.
Here I am, over ten years later! XTERRA Trail Run Nationals has come a long way! I love the Utah course. It's very challenging but I look forward to it every year. It is wonderful how XTERRA treats runners of all ages! That's what it is all about: participating and having fun.