Final Surge Podcast Episode 68: Korey Konga

In Episode 68 of the Final Surge Podcast, we speak with competitive ultra runner and coach Korey Konga of Upper Left Distance Training. Korey began running as a way to change his health and later developed a successful coaching business. We talk ultra training, the business of coaching, and much more.

Welcome to Episode 68 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome competitive runner and coach Korey Konga of Upper Left Distance Training. Korey came to running as a way to change his health. Korey has a successful ultramarathon resume and has transitioned into coaching. If you enjoy this episode please remember to share the love and share it with a friend.

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How did you get your start in running?

  • Change of lifestyle
  • Started running ultras and picked up sponsors
  • Moved into coaching

What was it that triggered you to change your lifestyle and get into running?

  • Jogged a lot on job
  • Friend suggested run a half marathon
  • Running replaced drinking

What was the process like developing as runner and becoming an ultra runner?

  • Read blogs and got inspired
  • 6 months after his half marathon he qualified for Boston
  • 3 months later did his first ultra
  • Training errors lead to injuries

You mentioned you got hurt a lot the first year. As a coach, what advice do you give newer runners who may run into those injury problems?

  • Easier said than done, but listen to body

What signs are you looking for when working with your athletes to recognize they may be pushing the envelope too far?

  • Watch Final Surge feedback ratings

When did you make the transition into coaching?

  • Been coaching for a while, but two years ago opened the business

What does your typical athlete you are coaching look like?

  • Half marathon to 100-mile ultra races

What was the biggest difference with training between a half marathon runner and an ultra runner?

  • Time commitment and volume
  • As you move to more specific stage changes, for ultras do a lot of long hill repeats

You mentioned the base season may be similar between the half and ultra, are you talking types of workouts or volume?

  • Volume can be different, but workouts similar
  • All do short hill sprints, strides

You mentioned a runner in a pancake flat area, if I had a restriction on hills available to me, how would you recommend someone trains to get in some hill type work?

  • Treadmill
  • Really short hills for sprints
  • Stadium stairs for strength
  • Parking Garage can work

When you are building volume for long runs for ultra runners, how often do you utilize back to back long runs?

  • Depends on the individual, but not as much as some people
  • Big run on mountains on Saturday, then come back with a faster flat run

Do you focus on feel, pace per mile, heart rate, power?

  • Mostly feel
  • Some CV work will use pace per mile

What advice do you have for runners looking to make that change about becoming fat burners and if that is important in ultra running?

  • With volume and easy long runs, it just happens
  • Will use depletion runs occasionally

For someone making that jump from the half marathon to longer races, is fueling the biggest obstacle you face?

  • Mental game

Many new runners are probably not thinking about getting a coach. What type of advise do you have to runners who are considering getting a coach and when is the time right?

  • Any time is a good time to have a coach
  • Can avoid a lot of problems and progress quicker
  • Not for everyone

Are the athletes you work with mostly online or in person?

  • Almost all virtual coaching

Walk me through the process of what it may look like if I reached out to you, and what do those conversations entail?

  • Why are you reaching out?
  • History, family life, work/life balance
  • Questionnaire
  • Final Surge Invite

Do you build in pre/post strength routines or just running plans?

  • Different options

We are now entering into winter months, what advice do you have for ultra runners who are going to be spending hours on the trails for training in the winter?

  • No such thing as bad weather, just soft people

One of your recent posts recounted an encounter with bears, cougars and more. How do you stay safe?

  • Ton of bear and mountain lions in Oregon and never been an attack, but be aware of surroundings
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going, what loop you are doing

You have been very active with your updates and blogging on the site, what information are you trying to provide?

The Final Surge... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Science of Running by Steve Magness
Current trainers you are wearing? - Adidas Adios
Favorite race? - Orchas Island 50k
Favorite meal or recovery drink? - Pizza
Your favorite workout - Gnarley hill repeats

Korey Konga on Twitter
Korey Konga on Instagram


Team Final Surge

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