In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, we delve into the inspiring journey of Maite Rojo, a passionate ultra runner who has taken on some of the toughest challenges in the world of endurance racing.
Born in a small fishing village in Northern Spain, Maite's love for sports and running ignited at a young age. Encouraged by her family, she discovered the simplicity and joy of running, eventually becoming an integral part of a supportive running community.
Over the years, she embarked on marathons, ultra marathons, and eventually 24-hour races, pushing her body to its limits.
Maite's perseverance and dedication paid off when she won two 24-hour challenges, with her second victory securing her a direct entrance to the prestigious Spartathlon Race in Athens. In the gruelling Spartathlon, Maite ran an astonishing 247 km and placed 9th female, proving her indomitable spirit.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Maite recently tackled the Ultr'Ardèche ultra race in France, covering a distance of 222 km and finishing in an impressive 4th place. Her relentless pursuit of new challenges and her ability to adapt to the demands of each race showcase her extraordinary strength and tenacity.
Beyond her own personal achievements, Maite also dedicates her races to her father, who battles a degenerative illness that affects his mobility. Her running journey serves as a testament to the power of resilience and the ability to find strength even in the face of adversity.
Join us as Maite Rojo shares her insights on training for 24-hour races, the importance of rest and recovery, nutrition for endurance athletes, and the mental preparation required to conquer monumental challenges. Her story is one of passion, perseverance, and the unwavering belief in following one's heart.
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Who is Maite
Born in Northern Spain in a small fishing village
Currently living in her brothers house, close to Santiago, Spain
50 years old
Spending time around boats from a young age
Learning dingy sailing with her brother at 18 years old
Having a love for sports from a young age
Starting running at 13 years old
Her running journey and how it progresses
Being very shy as a child and being encouraged by her family to do sports
Loving the simplicity of running
Finding fellow runners and being part of a community
Competing for 6 years in running before stopping due to other commitments
Sailing full time and trying to train for her first half marathon
Running 1 or 2 marathons a year
Training for 24hr races
Supported her brother running the Spartathlon 2018 (he was the only Spanish finisher)
Being inspired and wanting to race the Spartathlon
Entering the Spartathlon lottery for 3 years before going for a direct entrance
Doing her first 24hr race In New Zealand (23rd Self-Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race) and running 206km and placing 1st female.
Running a 24hr track race in Barcelona (24 hores d'ultrafons en pista de Barcelona (ESP)) and qualifying for the Spartathlon by running 216.9km
Quitting her sailing job to focus on running and training for 4 months before the Spartathlon Race
Wanting to be super prepared
Working as a running coach
Wanting to challenge herself with training and to see how much her body could adapt to the challenges of the race
What training looked like
Looking at her strengths and weaknesses
Being able to do hard sessions and being able to recovery quickly
Focusing on strength training while working on a boat when not able to run
How sailing helped prepare her for sleep deprivation while running through the night
Starting to increase her millage on a gradual basis and doing back to back training sessions at the weekend
Tips for rest and recovery and why its good to have a regular massage
The benefits of stretching
Working on her weaknesses and focusing on building strength in her legs through weights
Ensuring enough food is consumed to support her body and training needs
Nutrition for fuelling her body as a vegetarian, wanting to eat as natural as possible (avoiding gels)
The mental preparation for the Spartathlon Race
Race strategy for running including dealing with cut off points and the challenge of the mountain in the middle
How meditation helped during the race - focusing on the beauty of the running environment from the stars to the moon.
Reducing her caffeine consumption before the race and then having caffeine again before the mountain
Being supported by her crew and seeing her brother at aid stations along the way
Running Ultr’Ardèche, in France (222km) and getting 4th place
How to connect with Maite
Why it’s important to have passion for what you do and why you should follow your heart.
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