Petter Engdahl, a professional Swedish trail runner currently living in Norway, had an unexpected early end to his 2023 race season.

This slight detour in training helped him to regain sight of why he loved the sport. As Petter started preparing for Canyons 100K, he had a new sense of motivation and excitement both in the gym and on the trails.

Read below about Petter's comeback and how he's approaching this race season differently.

A New Perspective for the Sport

Petter felt that he was in a good place heading into UTMB, he started the race on target with his plan and felt strong holding third place. Then out of nowhere, he began to lose momentum and his legs became really heavy making each step a challenge. His third place slowly slipped away as he drifted farther back. Reflecting on that experience, he thinks that he prepared a little too much and neglected to take time for recovery in the months leading up to the race.

I was really disappointed. It was my big goal for the season and I had prepared: all the races before were in preparation for UTMB. So since I didn't finish, it felt that my whole season was ruined. And at that moment I couldn't take anything good.

Romsdalen, Norway (credit: Nora Serres)

Romsdalen, Norway (credit: Nora Serres)

After UTMB, Petter tried to return to training as soon as he could. He had his eyes set on running Kodiak 100. However, while out on a recovery ride in Norway at the end of September, Petter had a bike accident. He suffered a fractured collarbone and had to have surgery. This put an early end to his training and 2023 season.

Once he received clearance from his medical team, Petter was excited and motivated to return to training. He started with sessions on his indoor bike to regain his endurance and once he could stand on skis he was always outside. He didn't sign up for any races abroad in the winter, he wanted to focus on spending time training at home. Of course, the return wasn't easy and often felt like a rollercoaster ride. But this experience gave Petter a new perspective as he began to think about the 2024 season.

So this is something I'm taking for this season. This is to not put everything, all my focus, on UTMB. Instead, to also put more emphasis on other races. And take all races seriously. Not taking anything for granted. At the moment I'm only focused on Canyons 100K and not on the races later in the season.

Petter's Base Fitness from UTMB through his return to training for Canyons 100K

Preparation for Canyons 100K

Petter returned to training during the winter months and decided to sign up for a race in January to help see where his fitness was at post-injury. This race helped him to regain his motivation and have that reminder of why he loves this sport so much. For the first time in months, he finally felt like he was a runner again. This was a huge confidence boost as he continued preparations for Canyons 100K.

I perform the best when I am in training mode, when I have a good motivation to train and I am feeling fit.

Canyons 100K, located in the northern California foothills, is going to be a challenge for Petter because it is very different from other races that he has participated in. The course is flat and temperatures are expected to be way warmer than what he has experienced training in Norway. Specificity in training played a huge role in his preparation for Canyons 100K. He worked with his team to mimic the race environment through things like incorporating a heat chamber and strides on flat roads so that he could focus on his form and speed.

The sessions that are key at the moment are the long runs for sure. And for me personally, not lose my strength on the uphill. It is a long season, and I am not only training for Canyons 100K, I am training for the whole season.

Petter completing a metabolic gas test to determine his training zones.

Petter completing a metabolic gas test to determine his training zones.

COROS Metrics

Petter specifically monitors his heart rate and Effort Pace during both training and on race day to determine how his body is feeling. This helps him to gauge when to slow down, take a break, or maintain his effort.

When running on the trails, he will often experience a variation in terrain and elevation, so referencing Effort Pace has helped Petter to not push too fast or too slow. This has helped, especially on race days, to conserve energy at the beginning to be able to push for that faster finish.

The Heart Rate Monitor has been really great and reliable. I always struggle wearing the chest strap during the race, so having it on the arm is really great.

Trail Run data while wearing the HRM from Petter's EvoLab.

Trail Run data while wearing the HRM from Petter's EvoLab.

The Countdown to Canyons 100K

Petter is heading into his first race of the 2024 season with lots of excitement. He hasn't had a strong race finish since July 2023, so he is spending the last few weeks finetuning his training while also prioritizing time for recovery. The main goal for Canyons 100K is to get his ticket to UTMB.

It looks like really amazing trails. I want to push hard and do my best. I also think that other competitors will make it hard for me, so I am really humble and I don’t see myself as a favourite, but I am really excited and I am really looking forward.

The team at COROS looks forward to supporting Petter through this season and cannot wait to see how all his hard work comes to life on the trails.