Luis Alberto Hernando is the defending Transvulcania champ and he’s back to defend his title this year. In the following interview, Luis Alberto talks about what it will be like to run the race without Kilian Jornet present after strong battles between the pair the past two Transvulcanias, where his current fitness is, and what he gained from his second year of racing ultras in 2014.
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Luis Alberto Hernando Pre-2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Luis Alberto Hernando before the 2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. How are you, Luis?
Luis Alberto Hernando: Very good. Thank you.
iRunFar: Very good. You’re the defending champion. Do you feel as strong this year as you did last year?
Hernando: I don’t know where I’m sitting right now because I’ve done the same training as last year, but it’s the first big race of the season, and it’s the first race where all the athletes are going together. So I did the same thing as last year. It’s just that I’m one year older, so I don’t know what’s going to happen yet.
iRunFar: Have you run some smaller races, and how did they go?
Hernando: I’ve been doing smaller races. All the races are important but not as big as this Saturday’s race. Training in races is the best training because of the rhythm and everything. There’s no excuse for Saturday, no pain at all, just race.
iRunFar: The last two years you’ve raced Kilian [Jornet] very hard at this race. Two years ago he beat you, last year you beat him. Will you have a different strategy with Kilian not here?
Hernando: Having Kilian in this race is an extra, but we all know he comes here with only five days of running. It’s not the same Kilian as in July or August. The strategy will be exactly the same—taking care in the beginning of not rushing with other runners who start strong and taking care of hydration and food and trying to get down easy.
iRunFar: With another year of experience in ultramarathons, do you feel more confident in ultras?
Hernando: No, the confidence is the same as the last two years. I’m taking respect for the course and the race and the distance to try to take the same strategy.
iRunFar: Did you learn any good lessons last year? Is there anything from 2014 that you think made you a better ultrarunner?
Hernando: The race where I could have learned more is UTMB last year, but as I don’t know what happened exactly, I don’t exactly know how to avoid it again. Every ultra has a learning, so I’m trying to take the new experiences.
iRunFar: Did you enjoy your 2014 season?
Hernando: Yes, yes. I really enjoyed the 2014 season. I would like to repeat all the races and the results, but I know it’s complicated to stay at the same level. We know that’s probably going down, the level is going down, and that’s a bad thing.
iRunFar: What do you enjoy most about all of this now that you have two years of experience?
Hernando: The thing I enjoy the most is the training. It’s different than shorter-race training which is tougher and the rhythm is harder. Now with ultra training, I can go to more summits and enjoy more time in the mountains. That’s what I enjoy the most.
iRunFar: This weekend you’re racing a race with lots of vertical. What is the area you live in like? Where do you train? Is it suitable for training for races like this?
Hernando: I live in a place that’s all snowy. We are coming from winter, too. So I haven’t done a lot of vertical, long vertical training. Also the heat is the main factor here. Also this week here in La Palma has been quiet regarding heat, so that could make the difference. Having done all this short-distance vertical will be good for the first part because that’s the leg-breaker. I think that’s the difficult part.
iRunFar: Do you still get out on Nordic skis?
Hernando: No, I just hang out in the ski season.
iRunFar: Thank you very much and good luck this weekend.
Hernando: Thank you.