Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Holiday Lake 50K on how many training miles?!?

When I heard about this one, I immediately chalked it up to youth and desire for bodily harm, but then I read more. The guy in the white shirt is Adam Eidson. Adam, 34, just finished the Holiday Lake 50K ultra in a fantastic time of 5:19. That put him in 75th place out of 257 starters. He finished ahead of some very fine ultrarunners. It turns out Adam is a very fine ultrarunner too, although his training is a bit atypical.

Before Holiday Lake, Adam ran a total of 7 miles. Really. 7 miles.

Adam runs RARE Crossfit in Fredericksburg, VA. Here is some info about his training, quoted from his website:

This race was about 34 miles long and preparation for it consisted of running a total of about 7 miles and doing CrossFit on a daily basis. Yes, you read it right, Adam has only run twice since October of 2008. He ran 3.1 miles on Thanksgiving morning and 2 weeks before Holiday Lake he ran 3.8 miles. All other training was CrossFit.

Adam also plans to run the Terrapin Mountain 50K, Promise Land, and Bull Run. Stay tuned to see how he does. I hope to talk to Adam soon to learn more about him, his training, and his ultrarunning goals.

P.S. Today's workout: Run to the park, warmup with 20 burpees,
then with a 15 minute timer running, repeat the following with no rest between exercises:

  • Sprint 100 yards 100% effort
  • 5 push-ups
  • plank 20 seconds
  • 10 jump squats
  • hold squat position for 20 seconds (this was tough)
  • repeat

The 15 minutes went by pretty quickly, but the "run" back downtown was a challenge. Total run about 4 miles (1.7 miles of sprinting).

Run hard out there.


Stuart said...

There was a runner who recently finished a 100 with his longest run being a 12 or 13 he was Crossfit junkie also!

David Ray said...

Interesting, I guess, but I *like* to run. That's why I do the ultras. More running is better. So I hope this guys is enjoying the run and not just torturing himself.

Tatiana said...

Neal, you did 1.7miles = 2.7km sprint => 27 sets in 15min???

with 40sec in each set in plank + squat...

Makes me think that you had more than 60sec in each min... Wow! ;-)

Neal Jamison said...


Long time no see! The GPS said 1.71 miles. The most likely explanation is that the sprint was more than 100 yards. We just ran the length of a large soccer field, did our exercises, ran back, did more exercises, repeat, repeat until 15 minutes was up. We were moving the entire time (except for the static planks and squats -- they were our rest).

I was not able to count laps because I was working too hard.


Neal Jamison said...


I agree with you. I run because I love to run. For me, running is not exercise, it is a hobby and an outlet. But it is intriguing to see that ultra endurance can be obtained by other means as well.

Take care,

Sophie Speidel said...

The Crossfit training intrigues me. I also added some dynamic strength training to my lacrosse team's winter conditioning program that I got from Running Times. I did it with them 1x weekly (they did it 3x weekly) for all of February. We did:

40 minute run with 5x2:00 hill repeats in middle of run, then:

6 Burpees
15 up, 15 back walking lunges
25 yards at 50%
plank for 40 seconds
25 yards at 50%
25 crunches
25 yards at 50%
6 short hill sprints (4-5 seconds)
25 yards at 50%
side planks x 15 seconds


This was tough. They loved it. As for me, today I ran a huge freakingly fast track workout (4 mile repeats in 6:15) and I felt great. This stuff really works. I do still love to run long in the woods, so I won't ever give that up, but you have given me some good ideas on how to mix up the training a bit. Thanks, Neal!Keep it coming!

ncultra said...

Neal, this is interesting, it shows that someone who is very fit can run an ultramarathon. Although he does not run very much, he certainly does a lot of ploymetrics, strength training, and aerobic conditioning.

I suspect that this same individual would cut up to an hour off his HL performance if he focused intensely on running for several months.

The crossfit person who recently finished Rocky Raccoon did happen to run a 50k and 50 miler as training for the 100. She attributes her fitness to crossfit, but I suspect the main reason she was able to finish a 100 was her previous ultra finishes.

All of these crossfit stories are interesting but I'm waiting for a true controlled experiment: An experienced ultrarunner who does better on crossfit and markedly reduced milage.

Yes, Neal, I'm waiting to see how you do in your races this year! If you set PRs or reach your time goals then I'll consider working some crossfit into my training!

Until then, my opinion is that an extremely fit individual can run ultras on very low (or even zero) pure running, but that same person would be a much better ultrarunner on a higher mileage regimen.

p.s. this guy beat me at HL by 5 minutes or so.

Neal Jamison said...


Did Running Times actually prescribe burpees? That surprises me if they did.

Sounds like a great workout you came up with... and 6:15 repeats! I won't be able to keep up come December.

Neal Jamison said...


Great analysis, as usual. Setting a PR at Catawba this year was not a goal of mine. My times there range from 8:34 to 9:33. I hope to fall in there somewhere, which I feel will be a good test considering my low weekly mileage all year (low 20s). Stay tuned...