Catching Up With XTERRA Trail Runner Emma Kraft
Unlike many world-class runners, who got their start in high school or college, Emma Kraft didn't begin running seriously until after university, when she moved back to the small town of Alice Springs in Australia.
In 2011, Kraft obtained an official Australian ranking in the 5K and 10K , won two gold medals at the Arafura Games, and won the NT News City2Surf road race.
Kraft was a member of the Australian Mountain Running Team in 2013, 2014, and 2017 and placed 6th in the 2017 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. We recently caught up with her after XTERRA New Caledonia to hear about her latest adventures on the trail and off.
Q. What is your training like now in Australia? Is the weather a bit cooler for you now?
A. Where I live in Alice Springs, the weather is perfect this time of year as it’s finally starting to get cooler, which makes training a lot more enjoyable and I can start increasing the mileage. The mornings are cold, but I love this. It makes me wake up and feel alive and quick! It also means I don’t have to look for a drink of water every 5 kilometers. And I can sleep in a bit on the weekends as it stays coolers for longer in the mornings even though the sun is always shining.
Q. How many miles do you put in a week and what kind of workouts do you do?
A. I am running around 100-110Km/week under Team Tempo’s Adam Didyk. Adam is based in Adelaide, so it’s all done via technology these days. The program includes a long run, 2-3 x sessions/week of either a threshold run, a tempo run, or repeats. I also do a hill session, especially in the lead up to XTERRA New Caledonia. There are also a couple of recovery runs in there. I go to Lasseters Health Club two to three times a week with my strength and conditioning coach, Nick Moody. We do a lot of different stuff, including functional fitness, core, strength and plyometric. It has to be a real balance so I don’t get too sore the next day and can still carry out my (running) training!
Q. What is your favorite workout? Why?
I really enjoy my Sunday morning long runs, especially now in the autumn as the weather is perfect. I’m also starting to get a slightly quicker and stronger on these, so it’s always exciting to look at my stats after these runs. I also really enjoy threshold or lactate clearance sessions.
Q. Have you set a date for your wedding yet? (Emma’s fiance is Australian runner Brad White.)
A. Yes, Brad and I do have a date for the wedding, it’s May 2019! We had a lot of factors to work this date into, such as weather and also running commitments and major race events. It was a very tough date to set and probably why we put it off for so long. The wedding will be in Alice Springs.
Q. Do you and Brad train together? If so what do you love (or not love) about it? What is your best advice to couples who want to train together?
A. Brad and I have difference coaches, however everything is on the same day. For example we both have long runs on Sunday and workout sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. However, most of our sessions are different, so we generally warm up together and that is it. Sometimes when our sessions are similar we will modify these to try and benefit from each other. On the recovery days we will just cruise together, which is kind of like a ‘running date’. I love that we are both out there together. Neither one of us is at ‘home’ waiting for the other one to come back. I also love that we both understand the amount of commitment and hard work it takes. I think the advice I could give other couples is; not to bring any ‘baggage’ to training. We both believe that training needs to be positive and you don’t need anyone (even your partner) bringing you down. We also don’t bring up issues that aren’t relevant to training. Training is for training and if we are having any ‘issues’ (which we rarely do) we don’t bring it up at training. We are fortunately on the same page and it’s our own place to run and to get away from everyday life. We also have an understanding if Brad or I want to run by himself or with another mate, or cut it short or go longer, for whatever reason, then it’s all good. We still encourage each other, just like we would anyone else in the training squad. I always make sure I ask him how his session was. I also think its important to understand other people’s strengths and weaknesses. Brad is faster than me so I try and use this to my advantage. We live together, we train together, we laugh together and we travel together. This is something for which I am so grateful.
Q. Do you work or just run?
A. I wish I was a full-time runner! However, I work full time to pay for my running trips. In November 2017 I started a new job for local council in a sport specific role. I was very unhappy in my previous job and I had no idea how much it was actually affecting my everyday life until I was no longer in that environment. I am a lot happier in my everyday life, which is reflected in my running. I train before and after work, which I now enjoy going to, and that’s a great feeling.
Q.What’s next for you this year on your race calendar?
A. There are still a few things up in the air at the moment, so nothing is confirmed, but I’ll probably do the Gold Coast Half marathon in July, the Alice Springs Running Festival in August, the marathon at the Sydney Running Festival, the Melbourne Marathon Festival 10K, and the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Hawaii in December.
Learn more about the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at https://www.xterraplanet.com.