Núria Picas will start the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji as the women’s favorite. In the following interview, Núria talks about her training since her win at Transgrancanaria (post-race interview) in March, how she will tackle her second attempt at the 100-mile distance, and what she thinks about the race course.
[Editor’s Note: Find out more about the full women’s and men’s fields in our UTMF race preview.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Núria Picas Pre-2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Núria Picas before the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. How are you?
Núria Picas: Fine, thank you. And you?
iRunFar: I’m great. You arrived in Japan last week, yes? How has your time been?
Picas: Yes. It’s nice to be here because it’s my first time here in Japan. One week here is great.
iRunFar: You spent some time in Tokyo?
Picas: Yes, we stayed in Tokyo for three days visiting, some shopping, more or less. Now here in Fuji training and discovering the track.
iRunFar: So you’ve been here for a couple days already and today was the first time you saw Fuji?
Picas: Yes, but we saw Fuji only for 10 minutes. Now it’s cloudy and it’s raining. So it’s very difficult to see Fuji.
iRunFar: What did you think of what you saw?
Picas: Wow! Amazing! It’s an incredible mountain. I was really excited to meet Fuji in front of me but short time.
iRunFar: It’s supposed to be great weather during the race. You go around Fuji and you’ll be able to see it when it’s not nighttime.
Picas: Yes. Oh, I hope. I hope. I would like to see Fuji during the race, not in the night, but I hope to see the Fuji.
iRunFar: It would be a nice excitement at the start and at the finish.
iRunFar: You now have one 100-mile race under your belt. You did very well at Mont Blanc [UTMB] last year.
Picas: Yes, my first 100 mile.
iRunFar: Have you changed how you prepare for 100 miles after doing it once before?
Picas: Yes. Before Transgrancanaria at the beginning of this season, I changed my coach. I usually run more kilometers during the week, but almost the same just running and enjoying and sometimes biking. It’s good.
iRunFar: Have you changed how you’re actually going to race 100 miles? The first time you were going out there just to finish and you ran very well.
Picas: Yes, I’m new of this kind of distance. I only have UTMB and now I’m just a little scared about this long distance for me. What I have changed about my training is just running more kilometers per week, more hours, but not so much.
iRunFar: Are your long runs any longer? On the weekend do you run longer than you did before?
Picas: Yes, just a little longer. But after Grancanaria I felt a little tired, so this month and a half my training is not a lot of hours per week. It’s the same as last season.
iRunFar: There are a lot of fast women here, but still you’re one of the favorites. It’s only your second 100. Do you think you will be… in shorter races, you’re aggressive. You go out hard. Do you think you will go out hard here?
Picas: No, like always, I always start the races slow and then my body, when it’s adapted to the race, I go more and more faster than the start. It’s a very long distance for me. Anton [Krupicka] is telling me to run smart, run slow, please, be clever, and do all you know. For sure if I go fast at the beginning, for me it’s bad.
iRunFar: It’s also hard because you’re fresh and it feels slow.
Picas: Yes, because at 100k, there is a big climb. It’s about 1,500 meters up and very technical. I think that the race will start in that point at 100k. At 60k to the finish line, it’s very difficult.
iRunFar: So you need to be prepared to race at that point. You’ve already been out on the course some? You’ve been running some of the trail.
Picas: Yes, some—a little part, but not too much.
iRunFar: Did it surprise you at all?
Picas: Yes, because it’s quite different. The parts that are technical are very, very technical. The downhills have rocks, turns, trees across the way and it’s in the night, this part of the race. So you have to be careful. I know that there are a lot of k’s on the road and it’s not good for me. I don’t like to run on the road, but…
iRunFar: Did you train at all to prepare to run on the road?
Picas: Nah, no, no, no, just a few k’s. I usually try to run in the mountains.
iRunFar: At a race like this, it’s a very different culture. You’ve been eating the food here in Japan.
Picas: Yes, I love the food here in Japan.
iRunFar: But on race day, do you have the sort of food that you eat or are you just going to see what they have at the aid stations?
Picas: Yes, today I went to the supermarket and I saw the kind of food and thought, Oh my gosh, what is this? I need some bread with tomato and cheese—the normal food for me that I ever eat in Catalonia. But no, it’s no problem. I really love this kind of food—Japanese food like rice and a little thing, I can’t remember the name. It will be a good experience, the change of food. It’s strange sometimes because—“What’s this?” “It’s very good!” Really?
iRunFar: I’ve eaten a lot of Japanese food and sometimes I have a lot of questions.
Picas: Yeah, yeah, a lot of questions, but I just eat and go. It’s easy.
iRunFar: Don’t eat the cavalle.
Picas: [laughs] Yeah.
iRunFar: Good luck, Núria. Have fun. Run smart.
Picas: Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah, Run smart. Good luck. Thank you.