Caroline Chaverot had a great early 2015, including a second-place finish at Transgrancanaria. Then, she had a rough go with a pair of DNFs at UTMB and Diagonale des Fous. In the following interview, Caroline talks about what went wrong late in her season, how she corrected it, and what she learned during those two DNFs.
Caroline Chaverot Pre-2016 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Caroline Chaverot before the 2016 Transgrancanaria. How are you, Caroline?
Caroline Chaverot: Fine. Fine, thank you.
iRunFar: You had a very good year last year—some great finishes at the IAU World Championships, here. Do you feel as strong now as you did last year?
Chaverot: Yeah. I hope I am stronger. I had a lot of problems with anemia, lack of iron. I think it’s better now. I hope I am in good shape. We will see.
iRunFar: You had a very strong season through most of the year, and then you had UTMB and Diagonale des Fous. Was it the new distance? Was it your health? What went wrong at the end of the year?
Chaverot: It was really my health. It was really a deep, deep lack of iron. I only checked it after UTMB. It was too late to fix it before Réunion. When I came to Réunion, I was so tired. My pulse rate was really high. I couldn’t get it lower. I hope it’s okay. I’m fine. I hope it will be a good race.
iRunFar: Did you change your diet?
Chaverot: Yes, I changed my diet—without gluten and without milk products. It’s a bit hard to do it, but I’m very happy with that.
iRunFar: Did you have to take some time off after Diagonale des Fous?
Chaverot: Yes, I took nearly one month off. I ran a little bit and did a little bit of bike but no training. I started training again in December. I couldn’t train really well. I wasn’t injured and not too sick. It was good.
iRunFar: I’ve heard you’ve been training a lot. Is that true?
Chaverot: Yes, I trained a lot. I changed my coach. My new coach said, “Okay, for long distances, you must do quite a lot of long runs at slow pace.” I train really hard.
iRunFar: So not last week, but in the middle of your training, what did one week of training look like?
Chaverot: It’s very different from one week to another. In general, I went to La Palma and trained really hard, like 30 hours in a week running a lot. But a normal week, I do one or two long runs of three to four hours, some quality training, a little bit of bike or cross-country skiing two times per week, and that’s it.
iRunFar: Any fast training?
Chaverot: Yes, I try to. I’m not very fast. I think it’s my genetics that are not fast. I try to get faster. I mostly train to be faster uphill and downhill. I don’t train that much on the flats, maybe once per week.
iRunFar: Most of the races you are focusing on have lots of climbing and descending, not flat for a long time.
Chaverot: Yes, that’s what I like.
iRunFar: Do you feel you have more experience? If I’m correct, the longest race you’ve finished is Transgrancanaria?
Chaverot: Yes, that’s true. I’m more experienced. I also know better what I have to eat, what I have to drink, and how I have to pace myself during the race. I hope it’s okay. I’m a bit afraid of losing myself. Last year I lost myself and lost a lot of time. I hope the signalization [course marking] is good and I won’t lose myself.
iRunFar: You got lost at Transgrancanaria?
Chaverot: Yes, in the night after Artenera, the signalization was bad. A lot of athletes lost themselves. I lost my way several times, like three or four times. I hope this year I will remember the way to go, and I hope the signalization will be better.
iRunFar: Nuria Picas is so strong. She’s won this race two years in a row. How can someone beat Nuria?
Chaverot: Maybe not? Maybe nobody can beat her. I don’t know. I just run for myself. I will see how it goes. I think in ultras, we don’t really fight against people. You fight against yourself. It’s so long, you don’t have to care about people. Everybody has moments when it’s not good. We just have all to manage those moments.
iRunFar: Did you have any good lessons about that at UTMB or Diagonale des Fous?
Chaverot: Yes, really. I have to eat more. If I don’t feel very good, It’s maybe good to stop for five minutes just to rest a little bit and then go away. I have to pace myself better, maybe not to go too fast at the beginning. Yes, I think I learned a lot.
iRunFar: This race is what, 16 hours more or less?
Chaverot: Yes, it’s long.
iRunFar: Not a lot to be gained in the first hour.
Chaverot: Yes, it’s quite long, but I am confident.
iRunFar: Good. Good luck out there this weekend. Enjoy.
Chaverot: Thank you. Sorry for my hesitation in English.
iRunFar: It’s great.