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
  • There are 8 comments

    1. saschasdad

      Yeah, I read her bio a few days ago, too. My favorite quote is: "I don't know how many kms I run a week. No idea. Don't care." She runs purely based on time. So does Matt Carpenter. So, here are two uber-studly mountain runners who run for time, not distance. Coincidence?

    2. olga

      Goat, awesome insights! Thanks. Many top I know run by time, esp. if they run trails – really, miles are very approximate. That "twice a day" is a great advice, I think. Very cool approach she has!

    3. Trail Goat

      Not a bad idea to train by time – though at some point during long ultra training runs time becomes pretty irrelevant. 6 hours.. 7 hours… who cares.One thing I worry about with folks who record by time is that they my try to run too hard too often in order to get the most miles they can in a certain time. For me it's more convenient to go out for a 6 mile loop and roll if I want or to dog it depending on how I feel. Sean, counterpoint on time vs. distance – Anton is a miles guy. I think the best system is the one that floats your boat.I do like twice a days. Wish I had the time to make them worth while, as I figure one 10-12 miler to be much better than two 5-6 milers. I think the doubles pay off a lot more when you can have one significant run (10+ miles) and one easy run (< an hour).

    4. saschasdad

      How much has Anton been injured in the past year?:) Also, Anna and Matt obviously both put in lots of miles (or kms), they just don't record those. While training for Leadville (the year he won), I remembering reading Carpenter said he ran 4 hours every day. 28 hours per week. Yeah, that's a lot of hours and miles.

    5. Trail Goat

      Anton, Anna, and Matt all do put in a ton of miles/kilometers and hours.. though quite a bit fewer hours than if I tried to run the same number of miles. I long for the time when I can run 25-30 hours a week. (For those counting, that'll be in 20 years, 3 months and 25 days… or so.)

    6. Buzz

      Good job posting this from mountainrunning.com. Anna is the real deal. One can learn from her training advice, but mostly one can learn from her ATTITUDE. Being around her, that's what you really get: a very positive attitude. She is full of light.

    7. Trail Goat

      Buzz, Sorry for mixing up the attribution re La Sportiva and mountainrunning.com. I've corrected the post.Sounds like Anna is an awesome person in addition to being an awesome runner.

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