Kilian Jornet had an impressive 2019. The Spanish sky runner won the Sierre-Zinal race for a seventh time, and his 2:25:35 finish smashed almost four minutes off Jonathan Wyatt’s course record. He also won the Pikes Peak Marathon one week ago.
Jornet’s weekly workout routine is both well-rounded and impressive. The mountain runner trains on the track, on the hills, on the trails, and on the roads. Jornet said in his post for Mtnath that he purposely used more flat training sessions in his summer 2019 plan, and the extra flat training seemed to have helped him on the hills. “It was interesting that even if I drop my average elevation gain per week and add many flat kilometres the uphill performance have been improving a lot.”
His weekly plan
Tempo run: around 2h, 30-35km at 3:30-3:50m/K
Uphill training: 3x700m at 20-24 minutes
Threshold intervals: 3×5000 (14:58-15:20-15:15) / 4×2000 (5:32-5:55-6:10-6:00) / 5K (15:00) 4K (12:20) 3K (9:00) 2K (5:50) 1K (2:50)
Intervals: 10×400 (1:06-1:08) / 10×200 (35 seconds) / 10×600 (1:39-1:40)
Two easy mountain run: 25-30K with 1500-2000m of elevation gain
Technical mountain run: 15-20K with 3000-4000m of elevation gain in scrambling terrain (between 4 to 10 hours)
Jornet’s plan is surprising, considering the kind of running he does. His efforts in races usually range from 12 to 24 hours, yet he still does a lot of fast running in a week. For example, his interval session is extremely long for a track workout, but his 400m repeats are particularly fast. He would be doing between 33 and 34-second 200’s within those repeats–that’s pretty quick for a guy whose races are sometimes days long.
The mountain runner’s training is a good reminder of the importance of speed training, regardless of the distance of your main event. Many marathon stars come from a background of track racing and still incorporate track work into their marathon builds. Malindi Elmore, who was a 1,500m specialist before becoming a marathoner, told Canadian Running earlier this year that she still loves the track: “I still love the track, so I like to incorporate the two. The track still feels really natural to me–my 1,500m background doesn’t just go away. I love mixing up tempo with the faster stuff.”
One of Elmore’s favourite workouts is a 2K tempo at 3:20 per K, 4x400m at 70 seconds, 2K tempo at 3:20 per K, 4x300m at 51 seconds, 2K tempo at 3:20, 4x200m at 33 seconds–not all that dissimilar from Jornet’s VMA interval session.