Kyle Whalum - Ultra training, racing and life lessons
Kyle Whalum, is a proud father, amateur ultra runner and professional musician. He is the bass player for Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry and The Voice. He loves being outside in any capacity but especially running long distances on trails and mountains.
He has run 23 ultramarathons including 6 hundred milers. He is proud to support various causes and encourage ALL different kinds of people to reconnect with the outdoors. Trail-therapy is for everybody!
Recently we sat down with Kyle to talk about balancing his running with work and family life, quitting alcohol, optimizing mental health and 3 things he learned from low heart rate training.
How Kyle views his endurance training and racing
Kyle: It's a practice so you are never gonna perfect it, but that's the idea. It always gives you something to practice. Try this little tweak or try this new system or this way of thinking about your form. As long as you're into learning and you're humble and you never feel like you've figured it out, then you're always going to enjoy your running practice.
To me that's what running is, a combination of being willing to learn and improve, you are a student of the practice. The other part is just to have fun with the practice that's the whole reason we're doing it in the first place you know.
Why Kyle started meditation and what he noticed
Kyle: During the pandemic I started dealing with anger for the first time. It started struggling with accepting my daughter's autism, accepting my own ADHD, accepting the pandemic, so it's a lot going on it, almost too much for me.
My wife was like "you know dude you gotta figure something out. Just go to The Dispensary, get some weed and just smoke that if that keeps you from freaking out.It was a decent kind of Band-Aid for me, but it wasn't the depth of fix that I was looking for.
My friend Casey gave me sort of a bootleg version of Transcendental Meditation. I played around with it and like I woke up the next morning and started using this Mantra that I'd kind of made up and uh honestly it was the first thing in a long time that really worked like without having to smoke weed, without having to do drugs, drink a beer, take a Xanax or whatever.
It felt like I took a Xanax when I came out of the meditation, everything was just at Zero like Baseline and from there I was able to like go out, be with the kids, face all the frustration of the pandemic and just navigate it without being so angry. I try to meditate twice a day, in the morning and before I go to bed.Meditation has been huge for for me, it's hard to not oversell it but it's been so good for my whole life.
Kyle's experiences and learnings with low heart rate training
Kyle: The two biggest changes in my life in the last two years are my meditation practice and the other is my low heart rate training.
I got into running 15 years ago and I'd heard of people doing this heart rate training where you're trying to keep your heart rate low.The catalyst to get me into it is that I had a really really rough day at my last 100 mile race, Stagecoach 100 from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon. The race was brutal for me and took almost 31 hour, so I wanted to try something different in training. Read Kyle's race report HERE.
Before I set out on that path I didn't know that low heart rate training would get me to look at all these other things in my life. I started paying closer attention to dietary choices, focusing more on sleep, cutting back on caffeine, cutting out alcohol. There were a lot of changes. In the last six months I'm kind of a whole different dude and I mean I'm still me but heart rate training, opened a bunch of doors to things I hadn't really been focusing on. You surely start to listen more to some of the signals from the body.
Kyle's favorite PATH projects gear
Graves PX Relaxed Fit shorts are my favorite shorts since I have to jump back into being dad to two young kids immediately after most of my adventures. The pockets come in clutch for toys and pacifiers!