Bree Lambert is a professional ultra runner who inspires us greatly. She has been through immense challenges in her career and always comes back stronger and more effective. We were lucky enough to chat with Bree about her life and fitness routine. Check out her responses below!
Where did you grow up?
Southern California, in Agoura Hills.
When did you discover you wanted to be an athlete?
I was an active kid. My siblings and I were always outdoors running around (biking, skating, hiking, exploring). We never sat home in front of the television. We weren’t allowed to. So I suppose the inner athlete was there from the beginning.
Formally, I would say in my early twenties. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to finish undergrad. It was while I was waiting tables at a popular cafe in Saratoga that I became friends with a young woman who had just completed Ironman Kona and she fueled my desire to become an endurance athlete.
Because of her I attempted my first triathlon, The Danskin Women’s Triathlon at the age of 21. Hard to believe that was 25 years ago. From then on I’d say I was hooked and continued to push the envelope of endurance performance to see what my body was capable of doing.
You live an incredibly healthy lifestyle. Any pro tips to share with those of us working towards our health goals?
I would say to get outside the comfort zone of what YOU THINK you can accomplish. Fitness is a journey. There’s no magic pill to achieving health and fitness goals. It takes time, patience, commitment, discipline, motivation and a lot of sweat!
Enjoy the process and you will be better for it. Don’t compare yourself to others but accept where you are and work from there.
What is your favorite healthy snack, or your go to pre-workout meal?
My favorite snack is definitely chips and salsa or guacamole.
My go-to pre-workout meal is oatmeal with 1tbsp nut butter or Greek yogurt with a quarter cup of chopped nuts and bits of dark chocolate.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days start at 5:30am. I begin by training clients and then working on my own fitness.
The second half of my day is either spent with my daughter or continuing to train clients. My clients are split between people wanting to be fitter and healthier in general and runners who have set goals to run their first ultra marathon or other distance events.
In addition to operating my own business, raising my daughter, and competing, I try to give back. My church has an outreach program called Kids Club that provides biblical teaching to grade schools with a high degree of low income families. I also speak at high school and college campuses through a program called The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). In both cases I am given an opportunity to help encourage youth to enhance their lives.
There are so many varying opinions on cardio versus strength training.
How do you strike a balance in your fitness schedule?
I think both are important. As an endurance runner I focus on core strength and functional exercises at least once a week. The majority of my workouts emphasize mountain running, as that is my sport. I spend several hours per week running up and down mountainous terrain.
What’s your favorite way to workout?
That’s easy. I love to climb mountains. So if I have an opportunity to run beautiful mountain trails… I am there. Some of my favorite places to train are the Marin Headlands, Auburn, and Lake Tahoe.
Do you have suggestions for monitoring health and fitness progress?
If you are working with a fitness coach, be sure they understand your specific goals and have the experience to progress you. Also, be sure they establish a baseline so you can see how you are improving. I don’t think it’s as simple as getting on a scale each week or taking measurements. Health and fitness is based on functional improvement and performance as well. It’s important to see that you are getting stronger, becoming more flexible, and improving cardiovascular fitness.
If you don’t have a coach, establish your own baseline by tracking workouts. Monitor your nutrition based on your level of exercise. Simply restricting calories may help with weight loss but won’t necessarily give you enough fuel to continue to push the performance envelope.
What struggle(s) have you encountered in your athletic career?
In 2003 my life was a wreck. I was in the middle of a painful divorce and custody battle. I became a single parent to a 2-year-old daughter. I had no idea how I was going to continue to live in the Bay Area and juggle parenting along with my passion for endurance athletics.
Then the scale got tipped even further when I crashed on my mountain bike while on a training ride with a friend. Stanford Life Flight was called in to take me off the mountain and airlifted me to San Jose Valley Medical Center. I had a fractured pelvis, broken collarbone and concussion. I was told by the ER doctor I would probably never be able to run more than 5 miles and he suggested I pick up a copy of “War and Peace” to help pass the time while I rehabilitate. Life had pretty much stopped my endurance career.
How did you overcome them?
I never gave up! I was determined to use my knowledge of the human body and it’s ability to heal itself to “get back on the horse”. When I was a little girl my mom always said, “You fall off your bike… you cry a few tears… then you get back in the saddle and ride”. I was determined to come back stronger and better as a person and athlete. So I began to train again, slowly and patiently.
What I love about my life as an ultra runner is that it mirrors life. I run mountains! Life is like a giant mountain in many ways. It’s smooth at times and beautiful, but can also be hard and technical. But one has to face the mountain and climb it… knowing that if you get to the top there’s a gorgeous view and wonderful descent.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
We’d love to hear you brag a little!
My biggest accomplishment is my role as a mother. Parenting can be challenging. Some days I feel so ill equipped. But my daughter, Summer Blu, is wonderful and I encourage her to pursue her own passions and life goals.
- Two Time Female Champion of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100mile and Top female finisher at Miwok 100k, Bandera 100k and Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100k.
- Marathon and Beyond Magazine published an article I wrote on Ultrarunner of the Year Rob Krar (Jan/Feb issue), this year!
- My role as a USL.TV Race Correspondent
- I’m proud of my clients and their accomplishments as I get to be a part of their fitness journey.