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Dec 29, 2015

My guest today is Jennifer Pharr Davis. She is an author, speaker, and a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

Jennifer is among the most well known of American long distance hikers. She holds the record for the women’s FKT for a thru-hike of the Appalachian trail; a record which was the overall outright record for several years and fell by only 3 hrs 12 minutes in the summer of 2015. She has hiked over 12,000 miles on six different continents, including thru-hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail (three times), the Colorado Trail, the Long Trail in Vermont, the Bibbulmun Track in Australia, and numerous trails in Europe and South America, including the Tour du Mont Blanc, which ultra marathon runners will be familiar with.

Connect with Jennifer:
1) On the trail!
2) Facebook: Jennifer Pharr Davis
3) Twitter and Instagram: JenPharrDavis
4) Her company:
5) Books: Becoming Odyssa and Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph

She answered many questions on this in depth interview, including:

You hiked that AT in 2005, 2008, and the overall record setting year 2011. Your first women’s record of the trail in 2008 was a bit over 57 days; in 2011 you destroyed that record and did the trail in a bit over 46 days. How did that enormous improvement come about?

Would you describe the demands of a long-distance thru-hike? Granted that weather can have a big impact, what does a ‘typical’ day look like for a long distance thru hiker?

Are you ever running/jogging during a thru-hike or is it all hiking?

Tell us about your training for a thru-hike. In your experience, would a 3-4+ week thru-hike be good training for ultra marathons of 100 miles or longer?

How do you handle sleep deprivation, or functioning on little sleep, for weeks on end? Tell us about your nutrition for a thru-hike.

Tell us about your foot care on a thru-hike.

You wrote an article recently for the New York Times for which you explored the topic of sex differences, or lack thereof, in ultra distance events. Tell us about that.

Tell us about the psychological demands of a major thru-hike.

As an exceptional, experienced, and accomplished ultra-endurance athlete, you have surely had some very dark moments (mentally).
Would you take us to back to your darkest experience, tell us that story and how you handled it?

We wrapped up with some advice for ultra marathon runners interested in tackling a thru-hike.