On Sunday morning, he'll go after his fifth consecutive XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at the Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah. To do so, he'll have to complete his second consecutive "double".
King, 32, will run in two national championship races on back-to-back days next weekend. On September 22, he will enter the USA 50K Trail Championship in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. He'll be on a flight to Utah immediately after that race, and then get a few hours of sleep before running in the 21K XTERRA Trail Run National Championship on September 23.
For the record, that equates to 71 kilometers of trail running - at elevation - in two different states in fewer than 24 hours.
If it sounds outrageous, it's not. At least not for King. He did it last year…and won both races.
"I had had a lot of very good training going into this race last year and my body was feeling very good," King said. "This year I'll just have to see how my body handles the 50K the day before. I was surprised last year to come out of the weekend of racing so well. I was tired and somewhat sore after the (XTERRA race), but overall I would say that I handled it well."
The XTERRA Trail Run Nationals was held in Utah for the first time in 2011, and King said he was pleasantly surprised at the variety of challenging climbs and descents. The course at Snowbasin reaches an elevation of nearly 7,300 feet, and there will be more than 2,200 feet of total climbing during the XTERRA race. King said it is not significantly different from Bend, but "you can definitely feel it."
In preparation for the "double" weekend, King said he has been focusing on elevation change during his practice runs.
"Training is about the same but I have changed a few things," he said. "This year I've focused more on elevation change during my runs and have reduced the intensity in my training. It has definitely helped with the longer races, but I guess you could say I've probably neglected my short range speed. The focus on longer, harder races has possibly made me a bit stronger, however, and hopefully better able to handle the 'double.'"
There will be an abundance of challengers at the XTERRA race, including: Mario Mendoza, who placed second to King last year; Ben Bruce, who placed runner-up to King in 2008; Will Christian, who placed behind King at the XTERRA World Championship race in 2010.
If anything, King has already proved his versatility in 2012. He made the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials in both the marathon and the steeplechase, although he came up short of qualifying in both.
For more information on the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, go to: www.xterratrailrun.com