Adam Peterman heads into the 80-kilometer race at the 2022 Trail World Championships having won all four ultramarathons that he’s run. In the following interview, Adam talks about his running since winning the Western States 100 in June, why he decided to run the 80k race, and the challenges of running a brand new course in the heat and humidity of Thailand.
Adam Peterman Pre-2022 Trail World Championships 80k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Adam Peterman before the 2022 Trail World Championships. How are you, Adam?
Adam Peterman: Hey, doing well. Yeah. Thanks for coming out. Thanks for being here.
iRunFar: Oh, it’s a wonderful day here in Thailand. Enjoying Chiang Mai so far?
Peterman: Yeah, we got in yesterday. It’s good. It was good to get a full night of sleep and now explore the city and part of the course. It’s yeah, really cool to be in Asia.
iRunFar: Nice. Well, going back in time a little bit, at the Western States 100 after you won there, you said you’re going to take some downtime.
Peterman: Yep, totally.
iRunFar: Did you actually do that?
Peterman: I really did. Yeah, I think I said I’d take the whole month of July off and I pretty much did, off of running. I mean I was biking and hiking and did a few backpacking trips, but it was pretty unstructured training for me, and it was good. Yeah, it was a good thing to do, I think.
iRunFar: Did you come out of that feeling really refreshed and eager to train again?
Peterman: I was eager to train again, but honestly, I didn’t feel that good starting up again. I think what happened was I took five weeks off and like, you take five weeks off and you don’t feel good starting up again. I mean, I was out of shape. I was out of running shape. So yeah, a lot of August was tough building up again, but yeah.
iRunFar: It was also your first 100-mile race and your longest race by quite a …
Peterman: Yeah. Quite a bit, by 40 miles.
iRunFar: That’s got to take something out of you.
Peterman: Well, for sure. Yeah. I think I had a minor, I don’t know if it was minor, just a calf strain. But yeah, my right calf was just ballooned up after the race.
Peterman: It was like all red. So that took three weeks on its own to get rid of, so that made the choice easy to take July off.
iRunFar: Perfect. A little antsy maybe.
Peterman: Totally, yeah. Totally.
iRunFar: So, at that time you had mentioned aiming for the 40k race here at the Trail World Championships.
iRunFar: How or why did that switch up to the 80k?
Peterman: I think two things. I thought I was going to do, maybe run CIM [California International Marathon], maybe try to get an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier. But once they released the courses for these races, I mean, they just had way more climbing than I expected. I think the 40k has eight or nine [thousand feet]. And so, I was trying to think of how I could do a hybrid training block and do the 40k here with 9k of climbing, and then a month later do a 40k flat and try to run 2:18.
And honestly, I just thought that if I did that, I might not run 2:18. I might just kind of like not go all in on either of them. So, I figured why not do the 80k, and we’re all the way in Thailand, to get my money’s worth for traveling out here and yeah, postpone doing CIM hopefully till next year.
iRunFar: Not an easy race course either, the 80k. Something like almost 16,000 feet of climbing.
Peterman: Yeah, it’s going to be gnarly. We got out on course yesterday afternoon and this morning and it’s going to be tough. I don’t really know what to expect. It’s humid but yeah, there’s like a lot of rocks. A lot of roots. It’s really steep. There’s a lot of variables out there.
iRunFar: Totally. So, you got out on the course in the afternoon for running.
iRunFar: How was dealing with heat, humidity? How maybe did you prepare for that?
Peterman: Honestly, it wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be. The humidity is different. It’s not humid in Montana. It wasn’t humid at the Western States 100 so that’s kind of a new thing. Like just being sweaty, sticky all over your body. But, yeah, we did a bit of heat training in Montana, as best I could.
iRunFar: In terms of running, sauna? Was that?
Peterman: I did both. Yeah, I would wear all my clothes, a bunch of different layers, be out there like Rocky Balboa. Just doing easy runs. I did that for about a week but then it legitimately was pretty cold, and so even doing that wasn’t hot enough. So, then I was just in a steam room at my gym and my friend’s sauna.
iRunFar: Trying to make it work.
Peterman: Trying to make it work. But yeah, I don’t know. A lot of the course, once you do that first climb, you actually add a little bit of altitude, about 3,000 feet above the valley floor. So, I’m hopeful that it’s not as hot up there. Yeah. But we’ll see.
iRunFar: Where you were, were you on the very top of the course?
Peterman: Yeah, today. I guess it’s not technically the high point but it’s that main aid station where the crew will be.
iRunFar: Was there ever a break in the forest that you could get a little breeze or is it pretty, like a green tunnel?
Peterman: There was a breeze. Yeah, it’s really nice when you get the breeze. Yeah. I thought the hottest parts were actually like once you got out of the foliage and just out in the sun and then it’s, it’s pretty hot, but fortunately a lot of it has shade.
iRunFar: Now you, it wasn’t like a record-setting year at the Western States 100 but it was a hot year.
Peterman: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: Do you think, how will your strategy be dealing with the heat in terms of race day? Are you going to take it, go hard early and then try to hold on? Or do you just, yeah, how do you approach that?
Peterman: I think that the Western States 100 is nice because you have so much crew and then every station has ice. I think here I’ll have ice at mile five and 30 and 40. And so I’ll have it way less. So, I mean, I’m just kind of thinking just not go out too hard. And not like, just I don’t know, I don’t want to boil over. Because at the Western States 100 when you have the ice you get that every 30 to 45 minutes and that helps a ton. And so, without it, I think I’ll just have to control my effort a little bit.
iRunFar: So yeah, not just pace better, but you know, just be more conservative in your race.
Peterman: Yeah, that’s the plan.
iRunFar: Not that you were, you were pretty steady Eddie at Western States, but.
Peterman: Yeah. Tried to be. And that’s the plan here. I think, like I said, there’s just a lot of unknowns with the terrain and a lot of the course I haven’t actually seen yet. So, I’d like to, I’d like to try to play it safe and then hopefully be feeling good toward the end.
iRunFar: And really, this is a new course. I mean…
iRunFar: You don’t have any benchmarks to go off of in terms of like time between aid stations or, you know, pacing, from other people’s experiences.
Peterman: Yeah, totally. That’s something I try to do before these races is like go through the course record or whoever won it the year before and like dial in a fueling strategy based off their splits. And here I have, like no idea. Especially the section from mile five to 30, I’m just going to have my bag full of snacks and…
iRunFar: Hopefully you bring enough.
Peterman: Yeah, totally.
iRunFar: How did you, once you took your time off and your calf recovered, how did preparations go for this?
Peterman: It was good. Yeah. Most of August was just spent building up and then I got to go out to UTMB, not racing, but just crewing my girlfriend Erin [Clark]. Yeah. She did awesome at CCC, she was seventh. So yeah, got to experience that and then go back to Montana. We put on The Rut and then it’s just been like a really consistent seven-week block. I added some intensity, which was exciting.
I actually just copied a page out of Kilian [Jornet]’s book and started doing those uphill workouts that he was doing. And I thought it was good to have that intensity again. I missed that. I mean I didn’t really do any intensity during the Western States 100 [build up]. Almost starting in February, I just cut out intensity, just because of little injuries I had here and there. So, it’s been fun to add that in again and we’ll see if it pays off. I mean this course is going to be pretty long and slow, so we’ll see.
iRunFar: I mean in terms of that intensity, you had that planned for the back half of your year anyway.
iRunFar: You just substituted marathon training for …
iRunFar: Or replaced that with some uphill workouts.
Peterman: Yeah. Some uphill stuff. So, I knew it was something I had to add in again, just to stay sane and keep things different. But it was fun, yeah. I would run — up in Missoula there’s a mountain called Mount Sentinel where you gain, it’s about 2,000 feet from the valley floor. So yeah, we just hammered up that and then jog down, and then do some flat intervals, and maybe do Sentinel again, or maybe call it a day. But for the most part, they were all pretty good and it’s tough work. I mean, I understand why Kilian is the man he is. They’re hard workouts.
iRunFar: Indeed. Well, you put in the time and the training, so best of luck out there on Saturday.
Peterman: Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
iRunFar: Thank you.