Luis Alberto Hernando comes into the 2018 Trail World Championships as the two-time defending world champion. In the following interview, Luis Alberto talks about how he feels going into this year’s race, how it will feel to run a world championship race in his home country, why he thinks the course doesn’t suit him, and how he thinks the Spanish team will do.
Luis Alberto Hernando Pre-2018 Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar and I’m with Luis Alberto Hernando before the 2018 World Trail Championships. How are you, Luis?
Luis Alberto Hernando [with assistance from a translator]:Muy bien. Older than ever [laughs]. It was a great pre-season, I had some great pre-season training even though, well, I’m older. I repeated all the training I’ve done the last five years for Transvulcania, so that’s a pretty similar race around the same time [of year]. No excuses, no problems, so here we are.
iRunFar: So you’ve not changed your training at all as you’ve gotten older?
Hernando: The only thing we have different here is there’s no downhill as in Roque [de los Muchachos]. So I tried to do the same, tried to figure out some routes similar to what the terrain is like here – technical parts, rocky places. I tried to get strong to handle the last stretch to the finish. I came here in December to do recognizance on the course and I’ve been training here, also.
iRunFar: And you think the course here is good for you?
Hernando: No, I don’t think so. I would rather a course with longer uphills and longer downhills, cleaner trails – not as rocky or as technical as here. But in the color is the chase [the translator is trying to translate an expression]. Yeah, I would prefer something different from the trail here, not as up-and-down, longer downhills and uphills.
iRunFar: You’re the two-time world champion. I’m sure that has been special. Here you are racing in Spain. Does that make this race even more special?
Hernando: Yeah, I’m extra excited that the race is here. All my friends are able to come, people who are not always able to come and cheer. I love to be cheered, so it’s great to have all of the family and friends here to cheer. As well, it’s going to be one of the most competitive races in Spain and, of course, everybody’s going to be here so that makes it even more exciting.
iRunFar: Last year, for the World Trail Championships in Italy, the Spanish team was very strong. Do you feel that it’s strong again this year?
Hernando: I think Spain has a great team, even better than last year. But it’s not enough to be the same [as good as last year]. You need to be better because all the teams are getting better every time in this sport. By doing the same thing, you won’t be getting the same finishing position [as previous years], so you need to be better. All the other teams, all the other nations are getting better so if you want to be good, you have to improve a lot from year to year.
iRunFar: Not only do the racers keep getting better, you have some very aggressive racers. You’ll be racing Zach Miller, who goes out very strong. Do you think that may change your race, or the dynamics of the race?
Hernando: No [laughs]. I don’t think that planning the race strategy here is the smart thing to do. At races like Zegama MarathonI say to myself, “I’m going to run with the front pack,” and, then, I find myself in the middle of the race way back and losing time. And at Transvulcania I said, “I’m going to stay back” and, then, found myself in the middle of the race going fast at the front. So, thinking about a race strategy here is just impossible. I plan to keep myself cold and not heat up in the first kilometers of the race. I’ll try to do what I know how to do, and what has worked before.
iRunFar: Buena suerte, amigo.
iRunFar: I hear you have signed a contract with Villarreal. Is it true?
Hernando: Running with the national team colours on, I’m not allowed to say anything, but there’s going to be news soon.