Camille Herron is known for her ultrarunning world records (she currently holds eight), her joyful attitude, and her legendary mileage. in April 2022, at the age of 40, she became the youngest person to join the 100,000 Lifetime Miles club. Herron happily shares the secrets to her success. Coached by her husband, Conor Holt, since 2004, Herron is also a coach herself, and says she provides input to her own training program.
“I enjoy running and want to feel good most of the time–not tired and beat down. I’ve done long runs less with age and since I got into ultrarunning. Running as fast and strong as ever at age 40 and I feel great,” Herron says. In a recent thread on Twitter as well as on the Rich Roll podcast, Herron discussed her training technique and why it works so well. Here are her top three takeaways, useful for every runner, from beginner to pro.
Run slowly, most of the time
Herron runs easy most days; when she does her scheduled speedwork (short and long intervals, as well as hill training), it’s fast. She is a perfect example of the much-touted ‘easy runs easy, hard runs hard’ adage in action, and it clearly works. She uses a marathon-style training approach, having tested out the traditional ultra-style method with extremely long runs of 50 km or more, and finding it too hard on her body.
Herron paces her easy runs at least one-and-a-half to two minutes slower per mile than her marathon race pace. This allows her legs and body to recover well and maintains her strong aerobic base.
Try shorter, more frequent runs to increase volume
While Herron does run high volume weeks upwards of 100 miles, she does those through twice daily shorter runs. She does her harder run, roughly 16 to 24 km, around lunchtime, and a shorter, late afternoon or evening run of about eight to 12 km. Herron does not do back-to-back long runs and her weekly long runs top out around 42 km (26 miles).
“I train on a two-week cycle with four workouts–short intervals, long intervals, a progression run, and hill work. One of those workouts (~progression run) may be part of a long run. The other days are easy recovery runs, twice a day. Twelve to 13 runs a week,” Herron explained on Twitter.
Focus on recovery, nutrition and sleeping well
Herron is a big advocate of recovering properly. Sleeping and eating well are prioritized, as well as having fun and family time. She fuels healthily–she recently shared her breakfast recipe with us–but manages to fit in a love of beer (she used to make her own) and tacos.