top of page

Run Into The DMs: Roberto Mastrotto

We had a chat with Roberto Mastrotto, an elite ultra runner for La Sportiva, about his relationship with training as a self-taught coach, what inspires him, and what is coming up in his career.

In this feature of Run Into the DMs, we crossed the path with Roberto Mastrotto, an elite trail runner from Italy and part of La Sportiva's team. His daily life is split between a running career and a normal engineering job. He focuses on 100k and 100 miles races - even though he likes to mix them up with shorter distances. He started his journey at Durona Trail with his friends and he did not stop since then: 1st place at Trans D'Havet 80k and a top 20 finish at UTMB in 2018 and multiple top 5 finishes at Ultrabericus, Istria 100, and many other races across Europe. This year he is focusing on the UTMB World Series races and he is looking for his next adventure.

Let's start from the basics, how is your training going?

Training is going great for the time being. In December I took some time off after my adventure in the Wadirum Desert in Jordan, dedicating a few trips to ski mountaineering. And in January, I started off again with a bang with a week of training camp in Madeira, where I was lucky enough to put on a lot of km and altitude in beautiful places - tanta roba. In the last few weeks, I've also dedicated enough space to fast work, including some cross-country, since in the first races of the year we probably won't be going to the limit in terms of intensity.

Roberto Mastrotto HMDS Wadi Rum 2022
Roberto at HMDS Jordan 2022
If you want to grow [...], you have to allow yourself the right loading and unloading cycles to allow your physique to assimilate the stimuli given by training.

Since when you uploaded your first activity, what did you learn during the process and what would you say to your old self?

Certainly looking back what I have learned by dint of banging my nose at it is that sometimes rest is the best training. Perhaps it is the thing I was least able to do at the beginning, where the rule of thumb was to do a lot and more. Instead, if you want to grow, but above all to stay away from injuries and minor annoyances, you have to allow yourself the right loading and unloading cycles to allow your physique to assimilate the stimuli given by training. So, Old Me every now and then take it easy and recover!

What is your favorite Strava activity or segment?

Probably all the Segmenti Sotto l'Ora in the Piccole Dolomiti, and especially those of the Valchiampo, which are also the playground where I started and continue to run. This year I must also find the time to give them the space they deserve and also ring those of the Valchiampo Sotto l'Ora in a row on the same day.

Who are the people that inspire you when you open the feed or go out for a run?

I follow many athletes on Strava who have given and continue to give me inspiration for their consistency and the variety of workouts they share. Especially at the beginning, it was a great help to me to study, understand, and experiment, even taking some cues from my idols here and there. Clearly, everything must be done in the right way and methodically because the loads and intensities that each of us can manage at a given moment in our athletic journey are absolutely subjective and personal, and must be adapted if we don't want to bang our noses.

Roberto Mastrotto La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail by UTMB 2022
Roberto at La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail by UTMB

What is next for you? Next challenge, race, adventure?

For the upcoming season, I will definitely try to throw myself into the fray and get the best out of Maremontana, which will count as the Italian Championship and above all as a selection race for the World Long Trail Championships that will take place in Innsbruck this June. Then I have three big appointments: at the end of April I will be in California for Canyons Endurance by UTMB, at the end of June Lavaredo Ultra Trail, and at the end of August UTMB in Chamonix. We'll then see in the autumn if there are legs and energy left to put in a final stage in beautiful places, a bit like what happened this year for HMDS Jordan.

This will be your first time running in the States. How do you feel about it? Do you think that the amount of content published, from Youtube videos to social posts, takes out something from the experience of running a race for the first time?

For me, it will be just my first experience running in the States and I am looking forward to it. I am curious to immerse myself in the race atmosphere overseas and to sample some of the American Spirit along the trails and in the aid stations. What's more, the fact that Canyons partly retraces some stretches of Western States adds even more to its appeal.

The fact that a lot of information can now be found on the Internet, on Youtube, or on various blogs I don't think detracts from the experience. In fact, in many cases, it only contributes to the anticipation, or hype as they would say over there! To be honest, I'm still waiting to devour overly detailed videos and articles about the race, I think I'll dive into it with just a few weeks to go, going from focus to anxiety is a snap!

Being my own trainer is something I enjoy and would find hard to give up, planning work and experiencing its long-term effect has always fascinated me.

Bonus: Despite the fact that you have never relied on a coach, you have managed to achieve outstanding results in Italy and internationally. How did you approach your training as a self-taught coach and how has it changed over time?

Let me start this by saying that in my career at one point, I tried for two short periods to work with two different trainers, but for a variety of reasons I soon returned to self-management. Moreover, I have always been in contact with a trainer, a friend, who although never strictly followed me as a full-time coach has always been willing to be my confidant in difficult moments when I need advice from a technical eye. Being my own trainer is something I enjoy and would find hard to give up, planning work and experiencing its long-term effect has always fascinated me. Let's say that initially it was very much a series of trial and error and try again where I experimented and thumbed my nose. The main issues were the right recovery periods and that the easy sessions were not enough easy. In general, I always did too much, too close. Then with experience and also by studying and reading a lot, I started to develop my methodology and planning. Ultimately the engineer's head comes well here too.

This interview has been edited.


bottom of page