When filming Man vs. Wild, it seems like we’re always running. Once we were in Siberia. It was minus 40 degrees, and we were out running 24 kilometres in these massive down snowsuits and parkas. It was a funny sight.
The show is about survival, so I’ve eaten things like sheep’s eyeballs, maggots, and grubs. Some of this “food” has protein and will give you a boost, but I don’t normally finish a run and look for a worm. I eat fruits and nuts.
I started running in the military. In the British Special Air Service, combat fitness is all about running. We would go until we ended up vomiting on the side of the road. Once I left the military, I gave up running for a while.
I got back into it when I was offered my first commercial. I thought, If I’m going to take my shirt off, I’d better start doing sit-ups and running.
I ran the 2003 London Marathon in a ball gown and a three-foot-high wig to raise money for multiple sclerosis. I got bad chafing from the dress – every time I lifted it up to apply Vaseline, the crowd went “Woo!” It took me ages to finish [4:30].
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When I was 22 I broke my back in a parachuting accident. I’m convinced the key to my recovery has been movement. I do circuit-training, yoga, and I run three times a week for 40 minutes. Now my back hurts when I don’t exercise.
I love running in minimal trainers. They’ve helped me move away from heel-striking to a more nimble, intuitive style of running. They felt weird at first and I got stiff calves, but after a while my times got faster and I felt less impact on my joints.
Sometimes I’ll run with my youngest, [2-year-old] Huckleberry, on my shoulders. It’s like wearing a heavy daypack. I run along and he’s up there, head bobbing. My wife will say, “That’s not healthy for his head.”
Yes, I get to run in amazing places, but I still love to get out on a familiar home route.Find more articles like this in the August 2011 issue of Runner's World - the world's leading running magazine for the runner who wants to achieve their personal health, fitness and performance goals. Go to the Runner's World website for all the latest news and to subscribe online.