Last week, Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania became the first man to break the 11-hour barrier for 100 miles. After breaking the 100-mile record, he broke his 12-hour world record, covering 177.4 kilometres (approximately 4:04/km) at the 2022 Spartanion race in Tel Aviv, Israel.
To put Sorokin’s performance in perspective, his time is equivalent to running 35 straight 5Ks in 20 minutes and 15 seconds each, which is a very good 5K time for any runner.
He broke his previous 100-mile world record by 23 minutes and his 12-hour record by seven kilometres. We spoke with Sorokin after he set his world records to get a grasp of his training and what’s next for the Michael Jordan of ultrarunning. So how does he train for speed above 50 miles?
“I am just following my running plan,” Sorokin says. “My coach, Sebastian Białobrzeski, has shown me the importance of the long run. We will often do 40-50km runs during training to build up my pain tolerance.” Sorokin’s base mileage sits around 200 kilometres per week, with his peak training weeks hitting 300 kilometres.
“After that, you just need to trust your training and pray everything else will be OK,” says Sorokin.
In the lead-up to his Spartanion race, Sorokin spent several weeks at altitude in Kenya’s renowned Rift Valley, which stands at 2,500m above sea level.
Sorokin fuels his body with junk food during his races. (i.e., chips, chocolate, candy and pop). He does this to keep his sodium and energy levels high during ultra races.
When we previously interviewed Sorokin, he mentioned that his decision to go after the 24-hour world record came after the 24-hour European Championships were cancelled in 2021. In 2022, the championships are back on and scheduled to take place in Verona, Italy in September. Sorokin has his eyes on the prize: “My main goal for the past two years has been winning the European 24-hour Championships,” Sorokin says. “I do want to do races in North America, but in the pandemic, it’s hard to make concrete plans.”
Sorokin also mentioned that he wanted to try some shorter distances in cooler climates over the next couple of months, but when we asked if he would be tackling any five or 10K races, he laughed, “I don’t run anything less than 10K.”
We may not be seeing Sorokin in a 5,000m race on the track anytime soon, but the 40-year-old ultrarunner carries an impressive 5K personal best of 15:45, which he ran last year in his hometown of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Although Sorokin’s record still has to be ratified, you can check out his impressive world record run here on Strava.