Waterskiing With Jim Walmsley

Stay the CourseThere’s been a great deal of discussion about Jim Walmsley’s performance at Western States–and his overall dominance in ultrarunning in 2016. That he veered off course at Western States, precluding what seemed to be a near-definitive course-record performance, is almost overshadowed by how he ran: with a degree of dominance and tenacity (if not, at times, impatience) that has seldom been seen at the storied event.

It was, indeed, a near-transcendent performance. For me it was transcendent, but for a different reason: how he ran–in a literal, biomechanical sense–transcended conventional long-ultramarathon performance.

I first took notice of Walmsley’s running stride at the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. In once again lowering the course record, he did what his predecessors–Alex Varner and Zach Miller–did: essentially bounding, if not sprinting, up the hills.

This wasn’t the first time I’d seen such running. The top runners at last years US Mountain Running Championships at Mount Bachelor, Oregon demonstrated the same form: high-knee-ed, hip-dominant sprint strides.

When I saw the same stride, yet again, as Walmsley dominated the first 92 miles of Western States, I pushed my own awe and envy aside, and began to think, How is this possible?

A typical response to seeing Walmsley run is that of, “Look how fast he is running… And he still looks good!”

Jim Walmsley - 2016 Western States 100 social media

Dominic Grossman’s Facebook update about Walmsley streaking through Foresthill. Image is a screenshot of Dominic Grossman’s Facebook page.

My perspective: “He is running that fast because he looks that good!”

Efficient running generates–and perpetuates–speed, and that’s what Walmsley did. But more than that, how he runs is actually easier–faster, stronger, more sustainable, and less stressful–than if he ran slower!

Faster is Easier: The Waterskiing Analogy

When running, the strongest, most efficient muscle groups are the gluteals and abdominals. The former drive the push-off and the latter the forward drive. When fully accessed, a couple interesting things occur:

  • The more forward hip drive, the stronger rearward push-off, and vice versa (a form of reciprocal facilitation).
  • The more the hips and abs are used, the less strain occurs in the rest of the leg–namely the quads.

Therefore, the implication is, any time a runner can consistently and powerfully access the glutes and abs, they can:

  • Go faster.
  • Go farther with less cumulative leg stress.

However, using the hips and core to a high degree isn’t easy. It takes a high degree of strength and athleticism. But once you do? It just may be easier to run that fast.

The best analogy I could come up with is something like waterskiing. At slow speeds, the skier stays deep, slow, and with heavy strain in the water. But when the boater applies a finite amount of additional throttle, the skier pops up to the water surface, and off he goes. Once above water, the engine torque required to maintain the skier on the surface is actually less (per unit speed) than to continue to bog through the deep water.

The same is true with running:

  • When ‘bogging along slowly,’ the runner fails to access the glutes and abs, and instead uses predominantly the lesser muscle groups: the quads and calves to push.
  • This technique is less energy taxing, but significantly slower.
  • Moreover, it is doubly straining to the legs. The quads and calves–which ideally function as stabilizers in efficient running–get overworked in propulsion. Then, because of the vital role that the hips and glutes play in efficiency, a quad-and-calf-driven stride often results in significant over-stride landing stress, thrashing a quickly fatiguing leg.

But, if a runner can consistently access the hips and glutes–in essence, ‘stay on the water surface,’ like Walmsley did (and both Varner and Miller did at Sonoma, before him), the result is a devastating combination of maximum velocity, minimal stress, and record-setting performances.

More on this concept and what it looks like can be found in this video:

So what can the rest of us–the elites chasing Walmsley, and the rest of the pack–do to ‘get above the water?’

This is a foundation of endurance training: practice quicker, over a short distance, what you wish to perform over the long haul!

  • ‘Run Like Jim.’ When out on the trails–in racing and in training–do your best Walmsley impression: look fast! Drive the knee higher upward, generate a strong hip push-off behind… even if you’re running slowly! For only a slightly greater energy investment, you will ‘get you to the water’s surface’–with enhanced speed, efficiency, and quad preservation.

We might not be able to run as fast as Jim Walmsley, but we should at least try!

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • What parts of your running stride do you think are efficient, and which elements are inefficient?
  • When your running mechanics fail during a long race like a 100 miler, what fails first? Your calves? Your quads? Something different?
Joe Uhan

is a physical therapist, coach, and ultrarunner in Eugene, Oregon. He is a Minnesota native and has been a competitive runner for over 20 years. He has a Master's Degree in Kinesiology, a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and is a USATF Level II Certified Coach. Joe ran his first ultra at Autumn Leaves 50 Mile in October 2010, was 4th place at the 2015 USATF 100K Trail Championships (and 3rd in 2012), second at the 2014 Waldo 100K, and finished M9 at the 2012 Western States 100. Joe owns and operates Uhan Performance Physiotherapy in Eugene, Oregon, and offers online coaching and running analysis at uhanperformance.com.

There are 47 comments

  1. Mark

    Great article! With all due respect, but if you compare Jim vs Sage, Sage’s gait looks heavy and tired regardless of distance. Jim does run tall while Sage is leaning forward (a la collapsing) quite often. What Jim showed on the trail is such a rarity outside T&F. The closest to him stridewise but without the same flying grace/lightness would be Rob Krar.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpnEzMwEfWE

    1. SageCanaday

      My gait is heavy and tired because I am pretty freakin tired heading into Foresthill there! I also probably should’ve listened to coach Sandi and done more core work as I was broken there (but also doubled over with nausea…okay no more excuses). My form has never been my strength and it needs a lot of work!

      An interesting thing about Jim’s stride (if looking at Strava data) is his stride rate is usually only around 160 (even for fast downhill workouts in Flagstaff). Whereas Krar and Miller have a pretty quick turnover closer to 180 I believe (I’ve witnessed this firsthand!). Krar really tucks in on the downhills and moves his legs super fast. Usually a slower, bounding stride is not as sustainable in longer distance races off the track….at least I didn’t think it could be!

      When Laney and I first got passed by Jim at WS (about 6 miles into the race on a rather techy downhill) it honestly looked like he was running a 10km. Keep in mind Laney is a sub 14min 5km runner (like Jim and guys like Max King!). I’m a slow 14:30 guy….and my “marathon shuffle” stride never looks pretty. It was his attacking of the steep downhills that really struck me as something unique. Don’t get me wrong, he was climbing super well too (about 30-sec faster than me up Devils Thumb and a lot more after Michigan Bluff), but those downhills he was putting minutes on me (granted I’m not a good downhill runner, but we were both still splitting considerably faster than Krar or King in those early segments).

      I think Jim’s form has changed slightly maybe since 2015:
      Check out 9:33 in this video (a 12km cross country race in Boulder last year that Jim and I both finished pretty mid-pack in…but those guys are fast!).
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypc1EPyl5Fc

      Footage from JFK or world 100km champs would probably be better if someone has that on the gravel/road parts?

      Overall, great article on form! I think it really boils down to Running Economy (efficiency) over variable terrain. I personally know i have a lot of work to do to try to improve!

      Cheers,
      Sage

      1. Andrew L

        I think the bounding stride is sustainable because it is a reflection of the elasticity that is naturally built into his legs – a gift or natural talent that you can’t train. Evan Jager is the same way. Here’s a video of Jager when he is running slowly:
        https://youtu.be/jnemTOHhlJk

    2. Emerson Thoreau

      Walmsley is simply in another class than Canaday. Thanks for the video; it showed why Canaday had no business trying to stay anywhere near Walmsley, and why the “tortoise” (Miller = smart; self-aware; stayed within his limits) won the race.

      1. Forrest

        Emerson – just kinda mean, unnecessary, and generally inaccurate. Sage is one of the best ultra runners in the world, as he has proven over and over again for the last few years on the world stage. It is pretty tough and unusual to knock it out of the park on your first 100 mile finish. I really respect his talent and willingness to gut out a tough race. Show respect.

      2. Wesley Hunt

        Emerson-

        One of the many things that makes this a great forum is the quality of comments and the quality of athletes providing such comments. I applaud Sage for trying to stay within striking distance of Jim. He was one of the few in the field who had the ability to do so.

        I had the pleasure of running the first 13 Miles of the Black Canyon 100K with Sage. In that race, he earned his entry into WS by destroying the course record and going sub 8:00 hrs. There was nothing wrong with his gait that day. It’s different than Jim’s, and that’s okay.

        Diversity in gait – like diversity in POVs – is good. Derogatory comments about a runner who takes the time to provide valuable insights on this forum are completely unnecessary.

        Keep attacking and keep posting, Sage. Most of us who understand the mindset respect the hell out of you for doing so.

      3. Doug

        Sure, Walmsley at this particular point in time is a better 100 mile racer than Sage, but I think ‘another class’ is an exaggeration. This is the first 100 miler Sage has completed, had to drop at UTMB due to a bad fall, and we don’t know if he’s 100% physically from that, although I’m sure he’d be loathe to use anything as an excuse. I for one applaud Sage’s style of race, I want to see the elite dudes come out aggressive and put it all on the line. Mad props to Andrew Miller; certainly it was the smarter move in this race, he was in great position after Walmsley got off course, but to in any way disparage Sage’s effort really rubs me the wrong way.
        Is his stride as great? No, probably not. But Sage is a beast and will be back. It’ll certainly be interesting the next time they go head-to-head. My money is on Sage going back to the drawing board and taking it to the house next 100 miler. A pretty stride isn’t everything (although of course Walmsley is the total package, it won’t be easy for anyone to beat him).

      4. Brent

        I’m a big Walmsley fan, but I’m a big Sage fan, too. And wherever your allegiances as a fan lie, it’s absurd to suggest that Sage has no business staying near Walmsley. Sage has business at the sharp end of any mountain race if he deems it in his best interest to be there and he has beaten Walmsley straight-up at Speedgoat.

    3. Jesse B

      Sage has a tired gait regardless of distance? There is no such thing as a tired gait for a sub 2:20 marathoner. Clearly Walmsley prances over the trail like it electrocutes his every step but not all runners at even the elite levels have all facets of their craft mastered. To me its just biological economy. Plus has anyone ever thought that it was just walmsleys day? Even us 25 hour 100 milers have felt “the Zone” in our own races and as such in an elite body might be subject to amazing segments at even longer distances. Walmsley to me came out of nowhere and I didn’t see him as a clear favorite to win, let alone set a ridiculous record. in the end though, he didn’t win and I guess we’ll see next year if this was a dream run for a guy who melted down the last 8 miles or a legit record breaking 100 miler.

      1. Mark Dorion

        So, “there is no such thing as a tired gait for a sub 2:20 marathoner”?? I recall Olympic coaches and PhD. Kinesiologists trying to to work with Alberto Salazar and others on their less-than-optimal strides/ form. We could go back to the great Emil Zatopek (only runner to win triple hold– 5000, 10,000, marathon– in Olympics)and look at footage of his much-critiqued stride. On the other hand, there are no “style points” in running or ultra running! One of the greatest ultra runners in the world the past few years (check out his results and times), Finland’s Ashprihanal Pekka Aalto, was told by a spectator during one of his races that “your form looks funny!” While cruising past, Aalto half-turned to this “expert” spectator and quipped “And do my results look funny??”

        1. Brent

          Great points, Mark. Another great example of an ugly, supposedly inefficient stride is that of the world record holder in the marathon, Paula Radcliffe. Keep your head up Sage. Working on your stride and your core strength can only help your racing, but as Mark’s many examples prove, you don’t have to look fast to be fast.

  2. Ryan Alberti

    I couldn’t quite put my finger on why that video was so impressive, but i think your explanation nails it.

    You’re ability to articulate and break down the science of running into practical and helpful ways to improve my own running in uncanny. I wish you had a book of your articles on here…amazing stuff, Joe!

  3. Bryan Jolly

    It’s really sad how little is understood about something that is so simple…. It’s physics: there’s a correct way to run- at any speed- and there’s no debate about it.

    All this crap you guys throw around overcomplicating things is the reason that so many runners are hurt every year. And obviously, it’s much more efficient to run at higher speeds (closer to sprinting than jogging) but this is mainly because you’re experiencing more muscle-tendon elasticity at these higher speeds (and cadences) and getting a better return on your energy.

    You guys need to stop saying things like “powerful push-off” and talking about how your glutes are propelling you forward, these types of cues are what cause injuries and worse than that, blatantly untrue. Physics!!!

          1. Brent

            So true. The “physics” of Pose is a giant joke. Just ask any physicist (or any decently intelligent person who has actually studied physics in college– and no, reading the Pose marketing materials and guru blog posts in your bedroom does not count as studying physics in college).

    1. Riley

      Sorry Bryan Jolly, but you’re coming off pretty rude. You can voice your argument without attacking and belittling others. Although I took a look at your website and it sounds like this isn’t a first time offense.. A coach should be someone who builds others up without judgement instead of tearing them down.

      Clearly it’s not that simple or no one would get running injuries anymore – everybody is different and the same stride/technique might not work on everyone. What you think is “obvious” might actually be not obvious to others or even correct.

      The people who write these articles/are the subject of these articles read these comments. Stop hiding behind a keyboard and treat others how you’d like to be treated.

  4. Ultrawolf

    Does anyone know which shoes he wore? Wouldn’t surprise me some with 0 drop which is the most natural way, just curious. Great article, as always Joe. Ah, and Sage is still a sub 2:20 marathoner so can’t be too worse the stride I suppose….

  5. David Roche

    Jim is unbelievably amazing. I think one of the most interesting things about his stride is the low turnover that Sage pointed out. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone like that, ever, in any running race. My total guess is that he has the cardiovascular system of a 13:10 5k guy, but that his slightly bouncier (I’m guessing less efficient?) stride held him back on the track. Put him on the trails where efficiency/economy is less important, give him 120-140 miles a week, and ZOOOOOOOOMMMM. One of the best ever!

    1. James Bonnett

      One of the things that I was most worried about for Jim and running the 100 mile distance was his bouncy running and the added stress it could cause over the loooong day of a 100. Refrained from telling him this during training or pre race as his 120-140 mile weeks did not look to be stressing his body.

    2. astroyam

      Jim is clearly an incredible runner, and I’ve been amazed by his bounding running form. But how aesthetic a form is does not tell the whole story. We shouldn’t look at Jim and say, he was the fastest, therefore we should run like Jim.

      It has been shown time and again that overall the best and fastest runners tend to all run at a cadence of 180 steps per minute or so. Most Kenyans and Ethiopians do, as well as most all the top marathoners. Quite often in faster sections they will go up to 190. Now maybe for Jim a slower cadence is in fact better, but that doesn’t mean it is for most people.

      Joe, I notice you didn’t discuss Jim’s cadence, do you not believe that a higher cadence is important?

    3. SageCanaday

      Hmmm David whey would you say efficiency/economy is less important on the trails vs the road/ track….especially when comparing a track 5km to a 100-mile trail ultra?! In my mind Efficiency is the name of the game with the longer distances!

      To me the key is variable running economy. That is, the efficiency of one’s Relative Running Economy at different paces on different surfaces and up different slopes (uphills and downhills where % grade and running surface matter) and for different durations. But efficiency is still the name of the game in longer races! One needs a sustainable work output to climb 18,000′ over 100 miles in the heat!

      Jim is/was super fast on flat uniform surfaces…a low 4:04 miler and 13:50ish 5km runner in college (that is fast!) not that long ago. Times very similar to Max King actually. High Vo2max for sure. Well trained Lactate Threshold? Must be now. Velocity at Lactate Threshold is key, but the limiting factor (nutrition/dehydration aside) in ultras is skeletal muscular stress (for sure not Lactate Levels). But efficiency for downhill pounding and sustaining that for 14 hours on end…that is tough! That is a big difference from the world of track. Heck, it’s a big difference from the world of road marathon running even.

  6. Tomek

    I am sorry to disagree, but for me that the style of running that Jim Walmsley presents has nothing to do with that of sprinting. Look at slow motion of Jim in video posted by Mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpnEzMwEfWE and at slow motion of Bolt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH-3cHxXAK0 (watch from 1:00). More specifically, see what happens to the head of Bolt when the foot is contacting and leaving the ground and compare with the head of Walsley. Look also more general at the action at the whole torso and the difference is clear. This is not a question of a range of movement, because head of Walsley moves more and yet he is running slower, but the difference is more fundamental and lies in coordination of the whole body. What Walsley does, much more reminds me the top African marathon runners.

    I also personally believe that there is a lot of confusion going on with thriving to direct the body straightforwad in the saggital plane, without any deviations in other directions. While it is true, that our goal is to move forward, human is not a wheel and it is virtually impossible to run without exploiting the other directions. Human skeleton has is own limitations and constraints, and we are constructed in such a way that it is more efficient to use other planes in our locomotion. When you look at top African marathoners you can really see the movement in every plane. Of course, the movement in saggital plane is most promiment because of greatest range, but movement in other planes can be observed and I believe are fundamental even if barely noticeable. There is of course a question of precision of coordinating the different parts and using even distribution of effort for the whole body, which provides the maximum efficiency. So what we see in top distance runners is a great dynamic stability being implied by a great precision, not by forcing the contraction of some specific muscle groups. With that I agree with Bryan Jolly, that suggestions like “push off with your glutes” are doing more harm that good. I however strongly disagree with him that the question of efficient running form is “so simple”, I actually think that it is very far from that. What we see in top distance runners is an effect of a long and laborious apprenticeship, otherwise everyone could do that.

  7. Myke Hermsmeyer

    If you were at Western check your photos and you’ll find there won’t be a lot where he has contact with the ground. I’ve been taking photos of Jim running for the last few years and it’s incredible how almost all of the images I have of him running on flat/downhill are of him fully airborn. The difficulty of finding photos of him touching the ground was what inspired both of us to start using the hashtag #nevertouchtheground.

  8. Vincent Cheung

    Is it possible that the above-average amount of “flight time” that Jim spends in the air with both feet off the ground is contributing to his relatively lower stride rate?

    The Pose Method gets a lot of unwarranted criticism and ridicule and it seems especially unfair when the major principles I take from it have been very useful and not incompatible with a lot of other “mainstream” form and technique tips that are put forth elsewhere – the forward trunk alignment, tall relaxed posture, relative high cadence, all optimizing the tapping into the free energy from muscle-tendon elasticity are all sound principles and overlap a great deal with Joe’s excellent advice. That’s my opinion anyways. Another great edition of Stay the Course, Joe! Love your articles in Ultrarunning Magazine too!

  9. OOJ

    Wow, lots of great discussion here!

    Certainly no one is perfect, and while he has his quirks, the sheer magnitude of hip utilization (which is quantified as “hip separation – the simple angle between the forward thigh and rearward thigh) Walmsley demonstrates so consistently in ultras is what stands out for me.

    The intent of the post is to point out the optimizing (if not maximizing) hip power should be the goal of all runners, at all times, even in trail hundred-milers. Kilian Jornet is another good (but less dramatic, and less salient) example.

    All other things equal:

    More hips is more speed and less stress!

  10. elliotoc

    I want to just point out one thing in regards to anatomy. Your abs do not attach onto your femur and therefore can not flex your hip joint.

    One could argue that on his push off leg his glutes and abs work together to help him create a stable and strong push off. But its his iliopsoas and hip flexors that create that high knee that is being praised so heavily in this article.

    He does look great, his stride is closer to your typical sprinters gait, but his abs and glutes are not the only reason for this.

  11. Luke

    A co-worker once cited a study showing that elite runners all tend to have similar cadences so the only thing separating the winners was stride length. The lesson he took from that was to maximize stride length… He looked pretty ridiculous running 10:00/mi trying to stride like Haile Gebrselassie running a sub-13 5000m. It did not make him fast, or efficient, or at low risk for injury.

    Although to a lesser extent, the same principle would apply to me trying to run a 14-hour 100k looking like Jim running a 14-hour 100M.

    Don’t conflate the stride people have when running fast with the stride you need to try to get fast.

    1. Grunde

      Very good point. And my feeling is that this also apply to the magical 180 cadence.

      Also the gait and form of racing elite is of course interesting. But for me, as a mediocre recreational runner, their form when doing recovery runs is probably closer to what I should try to mimic…

        1. Grunde

          Thanks!
          A good read. In fact I read Steve’s book (Science of running…) last year, and the short section on running form is the best I’ve ever read on the subject. There is also a shorter version on the website which is excellent.

  12. AdamCondit

    And believe me … Joe practices what he preaches when he says “It’s all in thah hehhhips”. There were many many hours of his pacing expertise getting this flat-lander through the canyons (training camp) and dragging me to the finish (WS ’14) in his Billy Madison voice.

    Next 10,000 word post … “Finch Cock-Walk: What Is It And Why It’ll Change Your Life”

  13. cat

    Ok, call me crazy but I just did an experiment tonight on my run. I had been thinking about some of the front runners strides at WS after reading this article and then watched that video someone posted above of this year’s WS. Mind you I have rarely commented on one of these great articles. Jim’s stride reminded me of a video I saw years ago of the front runners at Speedgoat and one woman in particular, I am not sure who she was, that had a similar bounding stride on a steep uphill. Ive always remembered that stride for some reason. Anyway, tonight after work after a few days of recovery I started out on a 6.5 mile run on a trail I have run several hundred times over the last 20 years. I am still recovering from a recent 100 and found myself starting out wth a tired heavy shuffle like stride. I thought to myself, why not try to emulate that bounding, higher kneed stride as best as I can just as an experiment. While No One on the trail would have said “hey look at that woman’s awesome Walsmley stride:), I kid you not something clicked and I ran amazingly well and light and dropped my pace by 1:30-2 min/per mile uphill and it felt really, really good. On the downhill, my strength, I was the same speed but with much less effort. As someone with a good grasp of physiology and form I felt like it was just one of those revelations, even after 20+ years on trails. I thought Id share, it was just really a rare moment but I think Ive stumbled onto something, thank you for this article!

  14. Camille

    Oh boy, Joe would have a heyday with my stride! It’s like the complete opposite to Jim. When I caught up to him at the 100K WC, with his bouncy stride I thought, “Wow, he doesn’t run like me at all!” I’m a long-legged glider- very efficient. Although I’m new to the trails, my gait has always worked really well on hilly courses (hence, running faster on the rolling Fall 50 course vs flat Winschoten course). When I was a younger track runner I used to run like Jim– years of high mileage turned me into a long-legged shuffler. I would let the results speak for itself, regardless of “how it looks”. With practice, for each of us our body finds the most efficient form. We shouldn’t strive to run like someone else.

    1. manthony86

      I’m not sure I agree, sometimes…perhaps quite often people become really good and really fast despite their imperfections not because of them (relabelled as style). Paula Radcliffe is still the fastest female marathoner in history yet noone is arguing that her bobbling head style of running is the best form. No one would teach it and say well if Paula does it and Paula was the best you should do it too. I think saying it was her finding the most efficient method would not be true either. It was an imperfection if ever the running world saw one but her physiology was that great it became negligible, she still was light years ahead of nearly every other female marathoner alive.

      People succeed in running first and foremost because of freakishly excellent physiology’s….a great physiology will hugely outweigh all else including a not so great form.

      Weird gait, strange arm positions, bobbling heads, poor coordination, rigidity and stiffness….you can be elite and great and even the best in the world even with these characteristics but that doesn’t make them good or optimal, they just have exceptional qualities in more important areas which make these lesser, more, far less influencing nuances of style not much of an issue.

      Id say some of the more overtly awkward and uncordinated styles we see amongst elite runners are definetly flaws they just are often contained within runners with exceptional fitness for running and therefore not always worked on further by the runner or coaches. It just becomes accepted and the the focus goes back to maximising fitness.

      1. SageCanaday

        Remember Paula’s blood test results are under fire still (questionable). She reported to be on Actovegin as well. Regardless she is an amazing athlete that would kick my butt at a marathon (with her 2:15 best). Lower limb mechanics (core, legs, feet) are more important than what the upper body is doing anyway. In that regard she had great form, trained super hard and was very tough.

        Of course Running Economy (read efficiency) is going to tied up in oxygen utilization (metabolism and heart/lung power), but also in biomechanics (skeletal muscular stress and physics of running form). So the two go hand in hand as always.

        But was is Actovegin? See here:

        https://academicathletics.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/actovegin-the-unfortunately-legal-performance-enhancing-drug/

  15. Troy Shellhamer

    Some really great conversation going on here and many thanks to Sage for really bringing some wise insight into the mix. I think one thing to remember is that there is economy, and then there is economy for certain times/distance/terrains, etc. Sage touched on this earlier.

    Jim has great form, BUT, he has the cardiac engine to PUSH that form. If someone with a smaller cardio output and engine tried to push that form over 100 miles they’d fall apart.

    My point in layman’s terms is that often we latch onto whatever the current WSER winner is doing and think THAT is the key to success. If a fruitarian won WSER next year then we’d all think we could run a sun-15 hour WSER if we only ate bananas.

    Thinking about the big picture, it’s impressive to see guys like Jim, Krar, Sage, etc manage the pace they do over tough mountain terrain, but we have to remember while thinking in terms of maximizing our own personal potential that sometimes we need to think about the whole picture.

    I think Joe wrote a great article. Let’s remember the thing to really appreciate here is that Jim has the engine to push that form, don’t get me wrong, we ALL need to CONSTANTLY work on form, but the key to success isn’t ONLY holding form on race day, it’s what we do to maximize our cardiac engine in the months leading up to race day ALONG with holding perfect form for each runner’s personal maximal economy/time/distance ratio. Alas I digress.

    Cheers everybody. :)

  16. buddhacursive

    I feel sorry for the actual winner of WS! What a year to win when everybody is more focussed on the guy who ended up out of the top ten (with no disrespect to Jim)

  17. MichaelH

    I follow Walmsley on Strava… and I must say… his stride rate kinda flies int he face of the 170+ or even 180+. Even in races it’s very low. I’m talking lie 160!

    Any opinions on this?

Post Your Thoughts