Eric Larsen + The Importance of Recovery

December 08, 2016

Taste Agent Eric Larsen has made a life's' work out of pushing the limits of his own endurance - mentally, emotionally and physically - and, in the process, he's redefining the limits of endurance of human-kind, going to places. He has a lifetime of stories to share that all showcase his prowess as an athlete, a hard-core spirit and his unflappable personality -- all aspirational qualities for anyone who has big (seemingly impossible) goals. But, it's truly the value that he places on recovery that makes him one of the most adventurous explorers in the world. We asked him a few questions about pushing hard, taking it easy and celebrating accomplishments:

SL: What goes through your head when you're pushing at your absolute limit?

EL: "My 'absolute limit' is much different that what most people think. It's not this instantaneous moment where things get crazy. My expeditions and adventures span several weeks and even months so that moment where you are at your limit plays out slowly. Most often, I can see it coming. Therefore, the mental space that you live in can be almost more debilitating than the physical. Every situation is different but for the most part, we focus a lot on the 'moment' taking the big problem and breaking it up into manageable pieces. 'Begin with one step...' is a mantra that I often repeat in my mind."

SL: How do you know when its time to "turn it off," turn in and recover?

EL: "Sometimes, turning it off, for me, isn't an option. I am often in places where there is no other option but to keep moving forward. When I get back to Colorado, however, I am usually very focused on recovery. After a big polar or mountaineering expedition, our bodies are fairly depleted overall and we've lost muscle mass as well. In these situations, it's pretty easy to over train. Therefore, I am focused on taking it easy and recovering fully. Equally important is perspective, I'm in this for the long haul and I can't keep doing difficult adventures if my body doesn't work."

SL: How do you like to celebrate a big effort or expedition?

EL: Does sitting in a chair and sleeping in a bed count? After a big trip, I'm pretty much just focused on getting back to my family - my wife, Maria and our two kids. I'm a pretty simple guy. I don't need that much.

SL: How do you know when its time to "get after it again?"

EL: I'm always thinking about unique adventures that I'd like to do, but it takes a little time for the right idea to germinate. Additionally, it takes A LOT of work to plan, train and prepare so before moving forward with an adventure I need to make sure I am committed to the idea. There are so many obstacles in the way that if you're not 100% focused on making it happen all the pitfalls and set backs will break you down. That said, I also love biking and camping so I'm usually always doing something.

Eric is presently on tour with his new book, "On Thin Ice." Learn more about his expeditions and adventures on his website.

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