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Simple Run-Happy Tips From An Ultrarunning Champ

Anna Frost took a hiatus from running—and came back way stronger than before.

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Winning the Hardrock 100 Endurance Run, considered the toughest 100-mile trail race in the U.S., requires good training, solid race execution and an innate personal knowledge. Two years ago, Anna Frost, 33, battled depression, injuries, female athlete triad and burnout before she decided to do the unthinkable for a professional runner and take a hiatus from the sport. During her time away from the sport, she rediscovered her megawatt smile and running prowess, coming back stronger than ever—she won this year’s Hardrock race.

The break from running was a time for Frost to be, look inward, make jewelry, help design clothing for Salomon, spend time with family in New Zealand, be the subject of Fearless Frosty (an inspiring storybook for young girls about chasing your dreams) and learn to listen to her body. What she didn’t do was run. But the passion eventually returned and Frost, always a fierce competitor, emerged from the break a more intuitive athlete.

Merit for Frost’s approach is evident in her jaw-dropping successes since returning to the racing scene, with 2014 wins at Bear 100 (her first 100-mile race), the Telluride Mountain Run and Transvulcania (a 73K race in Spain that Frost first won in 2012) among others. When it came time for Hardrock, Frost had invested the mental and physical work needed to succeed on the course; she was happy and she was ready to win.

Here are the rock star’s top-5 tips for success on the run:

Be consistent.

This is the key to developing your running efficiency, endurance, strength and feel-good factor. A 30-minute run four to five times a week is better than one long two-hour run a week.

Be patient.

It takes time to build your base and endurance in running, even if you’re only coming back from a break. You have to learn how your body wants to train, to fuel, to race, to recover. Chances are it will take months or years to become a “great” runner, whatever that might mean to you.

Run happy and from the heart.

Running is a personal quest. It is for your own health, both mental and physical. Not every run is going to feel great, but you should have fun trying. If you really don’t want to go out running, don’t. Find something else (like biking, swimming, gym, yoga) to enjoy until your passion for running returns.

Get some good shoes!

Go to a good shop where you can try on the shoes, run on a treadmill and test them out with a specialist checking. For trails you need good grip, some cushioning and really good support over the top of the foot.

Eat a balanced diet and drink water.

Keeping a healthy diet and healthy weight means healthy running and running longevity. It is important to find a good balance for your body. For Frost, a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet maintains her hormone balance and keeps her feeling fueled for longer.