The Pro’s Kit: Corrine Malcolm
In our new Prokit series, we go behind the scenes with some of the world’s best. Each interview covers the nuts and bolts of how they do what they do — favorite gizmos, gadgets, gear; what they read, watch and listen to; and the hacks and habits behind their mental and physical health.
Today we talk with ultra runner Corrine Malcom. Corrine hit the running scene in 2016 after a competitive cross country ski racing career, and quickly made her mark as a science writer, coach, exercise physiologist and athlete. She’s a 2X top ten Western States finisher, placed 4th at TDS at UTMB, and most recently set the women’s supported FKT on the 171 mile Tahoe Rim Trail in a time of 44 hours and 51 minutes. ⚡️
Currently I’m reading Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean, I have a mild obsession with forest/wild land fires.
I grew up in an NPR household and rarely listen to music on the run, so you can find me laughing on my runs to WaitWait Don’t Tell Me, or listening to some mix of Fresh Air, RadioLab, 99% Invisible, and a runners favorite podcast The Morning Shakeout with @mariofraioli.
I may or may not be rewatching Parks and Rec.
Go-to apps, gizmos and gadgets
Have we talked about how good battery life has gotten on GPS watches in the last 5 years!? Additional hack is I turn off the optical HR monitor because it’s not very accurate and it means I get even more life out of each charge (like 45 hours of running around the Tahoe Rim Trail, good!). I’m a fan of Strava, and spend a little too much time on Instagram.
Nutrition and Hydration: What’s your strategy before, during and after a big run?
My resolution for 2020 was doing a better job at getting in post training nutrition, specifically utilizing a protein recovery drink. I managed to drink a lot of Gu Roctane recovery drink this past year and I think it helped me train more than I ever have as a runner.
Generally, I don’t stress about on the run nutrition if I’m out for less than two hours, if I’m out for longer I aim to get in ~200 calories an hour, and if I’m prepping for a long race I’ll up that on long runs to train my stomach for race day. I never train fasted, unless I’m truly just going out for a shakeout run, because as a female I’ve found it’s not as advantageous and as an ultra runner calorie deficits from long days often roll over to easier days so it’s worth getting in the extra food where I can.
Nutrition: Anything unique about your philosophy?
There are no bad foods, there are no bad calories, there are no cheat days (they’re are just days, it is just food), there is no one way to eat. I try to eat intuitively, listening to my body, so there is a lot of variety in my day to day nutritional strategy.
Sometimes I have ice cream for lunch, which isn’t good or bad. Bring me your almond croissants!
Mind: Is there anything you do for mindfulness or to maintain your mental health?
I’ve always written a lot, but as I’ve done more and more writing for work I’ve done less and less personal writing over the past couple of years. With the new year I’ve started free writing and journaling again, building new habits which I am loving.
Sleep rituals or habits? Do you nap?
I’m not a napper, although sometimes I take a “lie down” where I put my legs up against the wall and just reset for 10-20minutes. I try to get 8-9 hours a night, when I’m on a deadline this falls apart. I used to get away with it, but maybe it’s turning 30, I now notice a HUGE difference in how I feel when I’m not sleeping enough.
Strength and Mobility: How much, how often and what type?
I come from a cross country ski background so I can pool shark you with my odd ability to do bar and ring dips, it’s uncanny! When I retired from skiing strength fell to the wayside, and I got away with that for several years… I’ve noticed over the last year or so that I’ve needed to do more of that work again, and I’m really enjoying it. During the pandemic I bought my own Olympic weight lifting set and I try to lift heavy things 2 times a week and do mobility work in small doses every day. I’m not very stretchy, like I failed the sit and reach in middle school, so I focus mostly on functional mobility movements.
Recovery: Do you have a specific strategy, or health metrics you watch?
I like to keep my easy days really easy and I almost always take a complete rest day every week aside from walking my dog.
Anything surprising about your approach to training, mindset, nutrition or life that you might not have mentioned?
I had to retire from ski racing because I had career ending overtraining, but I learned a lot from that experience. My relationship with exercise is completely altered, in all the best ways.
Can you share who’s in your crew?
I’m fortunate to have a really amazing support system in place, this includes my coach, Adam St.Pierre, and my family and friends who buy into all my terrible best bad ideas! Locally in SF I’m supported by good friend and body wizard Hal of Mt Tam Sport and Spine, and in large part thanks to the pandemic (which pushed gyms to produce home workouts) I get a lot of strength workouts from Mike Wolfe’s team at The Mountain Project in Bozeman Montana.
Gear: Favorite items in your Kit?
I’m really excited about the shoes we’ve been testing from Adidas Terrex that are coming to market this spring! I’m all about 6-inch crew socks. Additionally I’m a big fan of bringing along alternative fuel if I’m not in race prep, like snickers bars, pecan pie, pancakes, etc. Although I’m a runner by trade right now you’ll also find me out and about on my pretty purple Sklar.
Your go-to shoe for each discipline, and any insights on how you think about shoe choice?
So I think shoes definitely have purpose, I don’t really need a quiver killer, dependent on what kind of terrain I’m on or the workout I’m doing. Just like tire tread on your gravel or mountain bike, lug size on the bottom of your running shoes serve a purpose. Added traction, shedding mud, small lugs in specific patterns designed for running fast but not washing out on a quick downhill switch back. That means my shoe pile can sometimes be quite large, and picking a favorite is like picking a favorite child, supposedly impossible.
Are you partnered with any brands or causes as a sponsored athlete or ambassador?
Adidas Terrex, Gu, InsideTracker.
Corrine talks with @hillygoat about her Tahoe Rim Trail Women’s Supported FKT
More like this
- Follow Corrine on Prokit, and our full Pro’s Kit Collection
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- Courtney Dauwalter breaks down her Colorado Trail FKT attempt
- Follow Corrine Malcolm’s Running on Science Collection with her articles for iRunFar.