Training Advice from Anna Pichrtova

Last week, in reflecting upon why he trains, Scott Mason over at Wasatch Speed Goat noted La Sportiva runner, Anna Pichrtova, was spotlighted on mountainrunning.com. After looking over the piece on Anna, I thought I’d share some of her thoughts on training. (For those who don’t know, Anna is pretty much an untouchable sub-ultra distance mountain runner and a great road marathoner to boot, as her 28th place in the Athen’s Olympic marathon shows.)

Anna Pichrtova – photo from mountainrunning.com

So here’s how mountainrunning.com describes her running plan:

  • Run twice a day, every day: About 1.5 – 2 hours in the morning, then shorter in the afternoon
  • Steady State Run: A tempo run of :45 – 1:20, once a week
  • Long Run: 2 – 3 hrs, all types of terrain, once a week
  • Fartlek and Speed: also once a week, almost never on a track, usually fartlek on a trail
  • Core Strength: almost every day after a run, :25 – :30
  • Stretching: also after a run, :10 – :20
  • Regeneration: swimming, sauna, hot tub, massage
  • Wow – I wish I had and was willing to dedicate as much time to training as Anna does! I think it’s worth noting the many hours or running Anna does each week and how little actual speed work she does considering her forte is in races 26 miles and shorter. For me, it reinforces my belief that while a bit of fast stuff is probably beneficial for ultrarunning, it’s much more important to run and run alot!

    In discussing races, Anna notes that she tapers a week for goal races and only a day for practice races. Anna likes to race every 2-3 weeks as she believes “[r]aces are the test of my actual shape – they reveal the weaknesses in my preparation – show what I need to do to improve.”

    Perhaps more useful to us less gifted runners, are what she calls “important training things.” These are all good things to remember in training and the lessons can be applied to many aspects of our lives.

  • Joy, peace, and a good emotional state are the basis for good training
  • Motivation comes from inside me, and outside from all my friends … it’s a circle … they inspire me and I inspire them
  • Hard work is needed to develop strength, endurance, and speed, and recovery is needed too
  • It’s good to be an “overall” runner – roads, trails, mountains
  • Be flexible and open to changes in your plan
  • Be rested and eager for your Big Day while remembering it’s just a sport … the Journey is most important, not the Result
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