The Brazilian ultra runner Fernanda Maciel, team The North Face, gets naked and tells us about her incredible feats, diet, and tips to train at the best in this hot summer
Determined, unstoppable, dreamer and capable of always getting up and looking far away. Fernanda Maciel, Brazilian born in Belo Horizonte, born in 1980, is one of the strongest trail runners on the planet. Lover of nature, she is always ready to face new outdoor challenges. And after having traveled the world far and wide, she has decided to go and live in the Spanish Pyrenees. He started running at the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped since, becoming in 2012 the first woman to run the authentic Camino de Compostelaor 860 km in 10 days.
Fernanda Maciel and her businesses
And then many podiums in the most prestigious races, and the businesses performed onAconcagua (March 2016) and on Kilimanjaro (September 2017), running the 45 kilometers from the entrance of Parque Provincial Aconcagua to the summit of Aconcagua (6,691 meters) and back, in 22 hours and 52 minutes, and setting the new record. While the firm on the Kilimanjaro led him to break the women’s ascent and descent record from the African mountain. And you recently set a new record by completing the 80km crossing of the Hielo Continental (Patagonia) in 13 hours and 15 minutes.
How do you prepare for a challenge like that of the Hielo?
“It is difficult to prepare for challenges of this type in a couple of months given the difficult and dangerous terrain. With my ex-husband I learned a lot about mountaineering, mountain rescue and ice climbing. I live in Chamonix, in the French Alps, and I tested myself on the surrounding routes in order to better prepare myself for the Hielo project. Before we started, Kaytlyn (American trail runner Kaytlyn Gerbine) and I practiced crevasse rescue operations and learned how to move faster on ropes. Crossing many glaciers on a run and several rivers with the Tyrolean crossing technique really requires skill, experience and a good partner. I think this can only be achieved with years of experience ”.
How important is it to train the mind?
“We worked on our mental strength by focusing on the goal, the positive energy that surrounded us and the pleasure of being there to live this unique experience. And we also worked on our minds to be prepared to face possible risks and errors during the crossing ”.
Was there a difficult moment during the Hielo challenge? And the most exciting one?
“The crossing of the Hielo has no marked paths, you have to orient yourself along the way. We got lost in the Rocky Mountains during the dark night before reaching the Electric River, we didn’t waste much time finding the right direction, but it was definitely a scary time for us. Furthermore, for many hours we did not have enough water and we found ourselves in difficulty because we did not find any river where we could fill our water bottles. We were tired and dehydrated, in the end we crossed a small spring of water coming from the glacier and we stopped for 10 minutes to drink and recover energy. Racing on the Hielo ice field was the most exciting moment for us, we waited a long time for the weather conditions to be good to be able to attempt the feat “.
What diet do you follow? What are the foods that should never be missing on the trail-runner’s board?
“I am followed by two sports nutritionists. I also do a blood test at least once a month to check my iron levels, as I tend to suffer from anemia due to the many hours of high mountain endurance training. My diet is based on natural foods, I eat lots of nuts, fruits rich in antioxidants, and I choose foods that are rich in proteins and good fats. During training I take in electrolytes and some carbohydrates. After training I eat vegan proteins, coconut milk powder, frozen banana or blueberries ”.
Training in the summer, useful tips for the amateur runner?
“This is a great season to train, as it is possible to run more hours in the mountains because the sunset is late. The best advice is to carry more water and electrolytes with you during long sessions to keep your body hydrated. If you live in a big city and want to prepare to run an ultra, a good option is to find a park nearby and run there on the weekend. It’s good for the legs and perfect for the soul. Nature is so beautiful in the summer! ”.
“In Chamonix, France”.
“I will run the Monte Rosa Skyrace and then I will go to Kyrgyzstan for three weeks of high altitude training, to prepare for a big project in Nepal next September”.
Will he be in Italy soon for the LUT or other competitions?
“I raced the LUT 5 times and won 5 podiums. It is an extraordinary race in the Dolomites, probably my favorite. But this year I will race on Monte Rosa, thus always staying in Italy ”.
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