We live in a world where there are underlying norms for every activity we do. There are those who follow those norms, and then there is Becky Rogers. Becky proudly marches to the beat of her own drum utilizing well rounded (and some unorthodox) training methods to develop herself into a very well rounded athlete. Becky is a strength & conditioning coach, ultra runner, and elite OCR athlete who lives to challenge herself in every way. Today she has sat down with us to talk about sports, her training methods, advice for new endurance athletes, and a massive upcoming FKT attempt.
From the beginning, where did your athletic journey begin?
Becky: I’ve been doing sports since I was probably 5 years old. I played soccer and softball and I played soccer all the way through college. I also was doing college wrestling back before women really did that. In college I ran a lot in tandem with playing soccer and it started off with just training but I think I was averaging about 130 miles per week. I was running because I loved it. I ended up getting married and having kids so I couldn’t run as much and took a little time off but when I finally got back into it I knew nothing about ultra running nor did I have any aspirations for any of that. When I was younger I did some fastpacking so when I was hearing about people running on trails It sounded pretty cool and figured I’d give it a shot you know? I stepped onto the trail and got fully into it and we are where we are now.
I also do quite a bit of cross training that is different than what most runners do because I also like to participate in OCR (Obstacle Course Racing). One of my friends years ago told me I should give one a try, of course I agreed. I show up at the race and I find out I’m running the race with all of the professional females. You can imagine my reaction. I ended up doing pretty good (I didn’t die). It turned out I had been training for that type of race the entire time and just didn’t know it.
Fast forwarding to now, you are focusing on running primarily for right now right?
Becky:Yeah so of course I still do my cross training. I have a lot of longer distance races this year and know that my training focus should be longer distance running for that reason. This year I’ve done 2 50ks so far, a 50 miler this week, a 100k, a 100 miler and a 200 which is a special race for me. But my big endeavor is training for the fastest known time on the PCT in 2020. The current overall supported record (held by Karel Sabbe) is 52 days 8 hours and 25 minutes which is the what I’m shooting to break. I have a few self supports planned this year. The primary training push suggested by both Erden and Joel will be a 10-15 day fastpack mimicking the plan for the 2650 mile FKT—basically the entire state of Washington or Oregon on the PCT.
The PCT is a massive endeavor, what made you interested in taking the challenge?
Becky: Last year at Bigfoot 200, I had something I call a “unicorn and rainbow” time which is the time I told my crew that I think I’m physically capable of hitting if everything goes perfectly. I held to that plan for a very long time until I decided that I needed to actually get some sleep. When I finished Bigfoot, it was “okay, now what?”. I spent a few weeks at home recovering from the race and deciding my goals for the following year. I thought about the Triple crown of 200’s but I just didn’t feel that was for me. I thought back to when I was 17 years old and hiking parts of the PCT trail. I remembered thinking to myself that I wanted to one day do the entire thing, a bucket list item of sorts–it was at that moment it dawned on me. 22 years later, I’ll be 41 and I am going to do the entire PCT trail. I don’t have time to hike the PCT trail because I have 4 kids, a busy career, and hiking would take me 4-6 months. However, there is no reason I can’t run it, or at least most of it because that is what I do. I told my husband about the idea and his mouth sort of fell open. And then he said “I suppose you are right, yeah! I definitely think you can do it”, It helps to be surrounded by a strong support system of family and friends when formulating a plan like this.
So what strategy are you going to use to help you set this FKT?
Becky: I have been consulting with Joel Jamieson who is renowned in MMA and is basically the world’s recovery expert. He has helped to make adjustments to my training to prioritize recovery during the longer pushes and how to integrate Morpheus recovery system better into my training and FKT attempt. Joel connected me with Erden Eruç, who holds the World Record for human powered circumvention of the globe. He hiked, biked and rowed his journey and has a ton of knowledge in extreme endurance. I spoke with him a little while ago as I was having some concerns about my sleep cycle. Erden looked at me and said “if it were 100 days you might have a problem, but it’s only 50 days.” I think Erden was at sea for 312 days by himself and holds the World Record for most continuous days at sea for by a solo ocean rower. He is definitely the right guy to calm down my fears in this department and put things in perspective! Erden has generously offered his advising and support for Project PCT.
What advice would you give to other runners regarding endurance sports?
Becky: It’s hard to narrow it down to a few things but if I had to give some general advice I would say to be patient. I love when people come to me with an outrageous goal but I always remind them to stay patient. You have to train correctly to ensure you don’t get hurt or that just detours your goals. Honestly the whole thing is the journey, it’s meant to be enjoyed from start to finish and sometimes that can be overlooked. Don’t ever lose your goal but at the same time be smart and realistic about your training. You can avoid almost all injuries if you are patient and build up properly.
If there was one thing about you that is important that you would want people to know, what would that be?
Becky: I have a saying that I use, and it’s probably somebody else’s saying but it goes like this, “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” During my recent 200 mile run I remember I was doing well in the standings when I was confronted with an unexpected obstacle. I was holding to a good pace when on a more vertical section my trek pole just snapped. I am unsure of what the grade was, but it was pretty steep. I had a long way to go still and this seemed like a massive blow to my speed. I had a few choice words for the moment but then I remembered to start where I was, use what I had and do what I could. I started climbing up the mountains sideways using my hands on my quads. I finished the race with a reaffirmation that things don’t always go as planned and that’s okay. I find it’s really more valuable to be an adaptable athlete then to be a perfect athlete.