American all-around endurance legend Max King has landed global titles in mountain running, trail running and ultra running, and excelled on the road, the track and cross country. He shares his knowledge of running on all terrains with SPIKES – perfect ahead of this weekend’s World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang.


Tip: “It is mostly about working on top end speed and on efficiency. I would recommend running track intervals whether that is over distances from 400m or a mile.”

Most Memorable Race: “Finishing sixth in the steeplechase in 8:30.54 at the 2012 US Olympic trials. After a season of mountain running, I really surprised myself with that performance.”


Tip: “It does depend on the distance, but one thing many people often overlook when preparing for a road race is to run some miles on the road beforehand to prepare the legs for the wear and tear of running on a hard surface.”

Most Memorable Race: “Probably my first US 8km champs where I ended up finishing fifth against the top pro runners in New York in 2006.”

Trail Running

Tip: “I would say work on the technical footwork. You don’t necessarily need to be efficient, but working on your smoothness in terms of your technical footwork over varying terrains helps.”

Most Memorable Race: “Becoming Xterra World Trail Running champion for the first time.”

Cross Country

Tip: “My favourite surface to run on. It takes a certain mindset to run cross country. A lot of fartlek training, working the hills and varying the pace in training helps.”

Most Memorable Race: “The 2009 World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan. For much of the race I was the second American. I ended up 40th overall and the third American.”

Mountain Running

Tip: “A lot of hill running! Running slowly uphill really develops those muscles, which allows you to drive you up the hill. I would opt over this rather than the efficiency of running on the flat.”

Most Memorable Race: “Definitely winning my World Mountain Running title in 2011.”

Ultra Running

Tip: “For me the biggest transition to performing well is nailing that nutritional component. Learning about this additional area will allow you to maximise your potential in this discipline.”

Most Memorable Race: “Winning the 2014 World 100km Championship in Doha.”

Click here to read Max King's story in full.