- Western States - 16:20:25, 4th overall
- Vermont - 15:57:42, 4th overall
- Leadville - 16:30:02, 1st overall
- Wasatch Front - 21:01:30, 2nd overall
the Quicksilver Running Club of San Jose.
Ian has already shared his top 5 tips on his blog after Western States and Vermont : Rest, No race between races (sic!), Eat well, Quality Sleep, Massage. Here are a few additional tips gleaned form his pitch this Saturday:
- Power hiking - What stroke me the most in Ian's racing tips is that he hikes significant portions of course. Ian got speed, he is a 2:32 marathoner. But when it comes to steep hills, his recommendation is to save energy by power hiking at a 12 or 13 min/mile pace. Ian believes that he might have hiked about 50% of the Wasatch course. In some steep sections, he could see himself hiking faster than Nick was running. Hiking use less energy, less bouncing than running. It's more sustainable, it helps keeping the heart rate lower.
- Hiking training - To prepare for hiking fast in races, Ian incorporates significant hiking on steep hills in his training regimen. Wearing a weight vest to strengthen his legs and core muscles, and feeling light in races without the vest. You need to do specific training for hiking because that makes the muscles work differently. Training consists in hiking as fast as possible, to get used to it, at 13 minutes/mile or even faster.
- Hiking at altitude - Hiking is also great exercise to get acclimated faster at altitude without burning yourself out before a race.
- Heat training - In addition to time in the sauna, static or exercising, Ian runs in the heat with 3 layers on (I've done that at Rancho and, yes, that gets you strange looks from the hikers you meet on the trails ;-).
- Low mileage - Ian prefers quality to quantity, and that's part of his coaching program philosophy and design. Typically 80 miles/week at the peak of this training. If running more than 100 miles/week, Ian feels tired afterwards and can't train has hard afterwards.
- Pacing - At least for the first 80 miles, go by the feel, don't try to stick to a specific or expected timing. Don't go 100% both in the up and down hills, save some energy for the finish.
- Coach - Ian didn't bring this topic directly but as a response to a question from the audience. Indeed, there is a steep learning curve to get ready to successfully run a 100-mile and a coach can bring many specific training and racing tips.
- Crew - You don't really need one if you are fast, in shorter ultras. Crews are useful though for giving or taking the headlamp at the right time/point, or bring the right stuff at certain aid stations. A heck of a job to crew for a long event and on a course with remote aid stations.
- Recovery - With such a series of races, 3 to 4 weeks apart, there is no room for speed training. The training was mostly done before Western States. Then each race served as... long training runs.
The event was advertizing Ian as "Pro Ultra Runner." Don't get mistaken, our ultra running sport still doesn't pay much and certainly not anything close to what's needed to support a family. But Ian lives from his running coaching business, with clients from many countries around the globe. He works with them mostly by phone and email and reports great success for his mentees. Here is his coaching business web site.
my Headlands 100 win last weekend (certainly quite more modest event than Ian's estival hundreds), with more this Sunday. I know, I'm not following the tips from the master... Next weekend will be busy with Stevens Creek 50K on Saturday and Trailblazer 10K on Sunday. Then I'm invited by Brooks to compete in the Rock'n Roll San Jose Half Marathon the following weekend. Then it will be time to leave for 4 weeks in Senegal for a humanitarian project in Dakar sponsored by the IBM Foundation, as part of IBM's Corporate Service Corps. This is still an ultra life... ;-)