David Babbitt And Land Heintzberger On Coachcast

Manaslu and Ultrarunning at 75 with David Babbitt and Land Heintzberger

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Ultrarunner David Babbitt and his coach, Land Heintzberger, discuss training and racing at 75 years old in Nepal on the TrainingPeaks podcast.

David Babbitt is an American ultrarunner living in Nepal and racing some of the most difficult multi-stage races on the planet. He’s doing this at age 75. With the help of his long-time coach, Land Heintzberger, the duo have focused on core training basics to keep David in races and finishing faster than many younger competitors.

Babbitt completed the seven-day Manaslu Mountain Trail Race, which covers 122 miles, 35,000 feet of elevation gain and tops out at 17,000 feet above sea level. He finished in 41 hours and was nowhere near being in last place.

Listen in as Dirk Friel talks with Babbitt about his journey from cycling and inline skating to World Championship duathlons and ultrarunning. Plus, how Heintzberger has advised Babbitt for almost 10 years on load management and recovery after connecting through the TrainingPeaks Coach Match program.

Stand Out Quotes

I think there has to be a reason why you do this. Not just to stay healthy. And the thing with trail running for me, I love being able to go out and just it’s all new, all this terrain is different and etc. So that’s kind of a stimulation. But the purpose for doing what I do is it gives me a platform.

I would say my favorite song is by a group called Casting Crowns, and the song is called Nobody. And it says that ‘I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, about somebody who saved my soul.’ And with the platform that I have, the purpose for running is that it gives me the ability to share with other people something that’s super important, and they’ll listen to you.

So that, I think, is the most important thing that’ll keep you going and keep you healthy if you have a real purpose for doing what you’re doing. That goes for anything that you actually do. There has to be a real purpose. And when you want to quit, when the mental part of when you want to quit, your body says, ‘OK, I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.’ But then your mind has to say, ‘Why are you doing this, David?’ OK, I’m doing this. So you keep doing it and you’re able to finish it.” — David Babbitt

There’s really no rule that I’ve found that I can apply consistently to every single athlete that I coach over 65. It’s really all about coaching the athlete and the individual.

Land Heintzberger

I bought a one size fits all book on how to train for a marathon. And then a week and a half, I was almost paralyzed. I couldn’t walk. My shin splints were so bad I couldn’t walk. So that’s when I said, I need a coach. So I called TrainingPeaks and told them I needed a coach, and they said, okay, we’ll call you back tomorrow. — David Babbitt

David Babbitt Action
David Babbitt in action in Nepal.

“I think what we focus on is just trying to do the simple stuff really well. One of my favorite quotes about coaching came from Katie Ledecky’s coach, Bruce Gemmell, and he said that ‘We don’t do any secret workouts.’ There’s no silver bullet sets. We just focus on doing the simple stuff really well.

And that’s basically my coaching philosophy in a nutshell. And with David, we do include some strength work, we include some core work, but it’s simple stuff. There’s no magic formula there. It’s just really building strength and stability. But a lot of the work that we do is really just out on the trails and David is fortunate to be able to live in a place where and I do realize that there’s limited flat terrain around the Himalayas, but there’s a lot of great trail running. — Land Heintzberger

“Manaslu is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life. Not just running, but the hardest thing that I have ever done.”

David Babbitt
A Coach Using Trainingpeaks On Her Laptop In Her Home Office

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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

Visit TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel's Coach Profile