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By Amit MehtaAthlete Chats

Hayden Hawks – 100km World Record Buildup

Unived Elite Athlete Hayden Hawks talks to us about his preparation going into the Hoka One One Project Carbon X 2 – 100km World Record attempt. Hayden’s coming off of a win at the JFK50 miler, a build up race, in which he set a new course record and took the win in 5:18:41.

The current 100km World Record stands at 6:09:14, achieved by Japanese runner Nao Kazami at the Lake Saroma 100km in Kitami City, Japan, on 24 June 2018.

Hayden will be joined by his Unived teammate Rajpaul Pannu, as well as a host of top Elite HOKA athletes for the 100k World Record attempt which takes place on January 23rd, 2021.

You’re coming off of a win & a CR at JFK. Was JFK an A race, or part of the buildup going into the 100k WR attempt?

Yes, JFK was a great performance for me and really showed me what I am capable of and gave me a lot of confidence. I went into JFK not seeking the CR, all I wanted was to win it. It was a B race for me to prepare me for my A Race the 100k WR attempt. I was told by my coach to run at a B effort and that is what I did. My training was set up to make sure I was even more fit going into the 100k WR attempt than JFK too.

This would be your first WR attempt. Excited, nervous, anxious, what are the emotions like?

I would say that I am feeling all of those emotions. I am excited because this has always been a huge goal for me to attempt and break a WR. I am also excited because it is such an amazing event that HOKA ONE ONE is putting on and will be a lot of fun to race in an incredible field and in an event that is completely set up to break records. I have never competed in this type of race so there are a little bit of nerves there but more than anything I am excited and very confident as well.

You’re usually training for mountain races – how different has training been going into something that is road & flat?

Training has definitely been different but also the same. I have still been putting some mountain days and trail runs into my training going into this event. Those types of runs build strength and also are easier on the body than running on the pavement. On a lot of my easy days and some of my long runs I will go to the trails and do similar training to a trail race. The difference has been my workouts and some of my long runs. My workouts are all on the roads and very fast. They are specific to the paces I will have to hit to break the WR and are intense. They are getting me so fit though and I am actually seeing that doing these hard workouts are making me stronger and better in the mountains. My overall fitness is at an all time high and that is transitioning over to every type of running. It is very exciting and shows me the type of training that I need to do in the future.

What are some key workouts you’ve hit in preparation for the race?

I have hit a lot of key workouts that have all built on each other. I have seen progression with my workouts over the last two blocks of training and they feel more efficient and under control. It’s important not to go so hard all the time but make sure you can run fast under control and that is what I have been focusing on. I have done a lot of long runs 20-25 miles at WR pace or faster with alternating miles and breakdowns at faster paces. I have also done
a lot of mile repeats followed by hill repeats to work on the strength I will need at the end of the race and longer interval workouts all designed for specific stresses that will come during the race. Everything is thought out and progresses over the block. JFK was also a training stimulus and was key to know I can run at that pace for 50 miles on a trail and was part of the training plan.

What is your strategy, stick with the pack, peel away if you’re feeling great?

I plan on sticking with a small pack going out at 6:08 pace for most of the race. This is a little over 1 min ahead of WR pace and there should be a small pack of us with pacers. The pacers will take us through at least 50k and then whoever is left will work together till a few miles from the end I am thinking. It’s better to work off of each other as much as we can in a race like this where we are chasing a time. I hope to have an extra gear at the end where I can
break away and negative split this race for a faster time. For the first 40-50 miles I want to conserve as much energy as possible and keep it under control and relax as much as possible.

You’ve been practicing a specific nutrition strategy in training, what is your nutrition plan for the race?

I have been practicing my specific nutrition strategy a lot. I have been doing it in all of my long runs and workouts for the fast months. I have trained my stomach, body, and mind to be able to take in the amount of hydration and calories it needs to run at this level. It hasn’t always been perfect but I have altered things and tried new strategies overtime and found what works best for me. I will be taking a mix of Unived Elite Drink Mix (Watermelon
Flavour), Unived Elite Gels (Choco Fudge Flavour), and water. I will break it up into 30 minute slots. At 30min I will take half a 20oz bottle of Unived Elite Drink Mix (8-10oz 100-125 calories), then at the 1hr mark I will take 8-10oz of water with a 190calorie Unived Elite Gel. I will do this alternating each 30min for the entire race. This will give me a little over 300 calories an hour with caffeine, electrolytes, and everything else I will need. It will also keep my water to electrolyte ratio balanced thus preventing any stomach or muscles issues with that. I have been practicing this and it has been working perfectly.

You mentioned that a WR attempt was one of 5 key personal goals of yours. What would it mean for you to set a new 100k WR?

It would mean a lot for me to set a new 100k WR. The 100k is the premier distance for world records in the ultra marathon world. It is the most prestigious WR and also the distance that is run at the world championships. I feel so fortunate that I have the opportunity to chase it in a controlled and safe environment. Achieving one of my personal goals would be huge to me and show me that I am capable of anything. So much hard work and sacrifice over the years has been put into chasing these goals and moments like this.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty with races for 2021 – what are your race plans for the rest of the year?

My plans for 2021 are to stay positive, keep working hard and smart, and chase the goals I have set. I can’t control everything but can focus on doing the things that I can control. I can be fit and ready for when things are made available and do my best to be the best I can be. I can take advantage of these times and use the time given to me to train hard and reach a new level. That is what I am doing and plan on chasing and winning 4 key goal races and A
races this year. Those races are 100km WR Carbon Project X2, Western States 100, Comrades Ultramarathon if moved to September or CCC 100k if not, and IAAF Trail World Championships in Thailand in November. All these races are on my goal list and inspire me so much and I will do everything I can to prepare to win them and cross my fingers that they are available!

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