Jim Walmsley will run his first-ever marathon on February 29 at the U.S. Olympic Trials. In preparation for the race, Walmsley completed a training month (December) that topped out over 1,000 kilometres (1,099.6 to be exact). He followed up that month of monster milage with a similarly intense January (954.3 kilometres total) before pulling things back a little bit in February. The runner is now two weeks out from the trials and his marathon debut, and is reducing his mileage to what must feel like barely running for him. He only ran 109K last week.
A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. Following his 2019 Houston race, he went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States. Walmsley is undoubtedly a tough racer, but does he have the chops to run the roughly 2:10 marathon he would need to make the Olympic team?
Walmsley’s Olympic chances
The four men who stand in Walmsley’s way are Galen Rupp (Nike), Leonard Korir (Nike), Scott Fauble (Hoka) and Jared Ward (Saucony). All of these men have personal bests under 2:10:00 from the last two years and only three men will make the 2020 Olympic team. Walmsley would need to beat some of the best in the business, in his first crack at the event, in a high very high profile race.
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Mark your calendars and make your way to @runflagstaff this week on Thursday, Jan 23rd at 6:15pm for an “ask us anything” Q&A session with ALL of the @coconinocowboys. We’re excited that Run Flagstaff is hosting us along with @squirrels_nut_butter and @motherroadbeer! @jared_hazen @frerikstim @sensemagram @stephenkersh @codyreeeed #timetofly
Walmsley has performed under pressure many times before, and his 1:04:00 shows that he’s got the speed to run a solid half. But these four men all have half-marathon personal bests in the 1:02s and under. Walmsley’s other glaring disadvantage is his inexperience in this particular event.
However, just because Walmsley isn’t an obvious choice for the team doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a shot. Based on his Strava, the runner’s been hitting marathon paces in workouts that point in the direction of roughly a 2:12 marathon, but workouts and race day are two different things. He could come up big in two weeks’ time.
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It’s been a fun block of training to briefly change gears a little to run a half marathon in Houston in 1:04:00 to get an Olympic Trials Qualifying time for 2020 ✅ It’s now going to be just as fun to turn the page again and switch gears back for Fast 100 Ultra in Hong Kong on February 17th. Check out @thetrailhub for more information on their race! That race will be followed by quick trips for group runs at TBD locations in Singapore 🇸🇬 and South Korea🇰🇷!!! (More info to come on these trips) Special thanks to @tommy_rivs @baldwinning580 @stephenkersh for hopping in some of my track/road workouts the past few weeks and pull my hobbyjogging legs through some much needed workouts 🙏🙌💪 From here, it’s safe to say there are going to be some big days in the Canyon in the next few weeks! 🤠 Browse over to @ultrarunnerpodcast and @citiusmag to check out some podcasts I did today about how Houston HM went down and what are some things on tap for later in 2019. #timetofly #werunwithyou #feedyouradventure #coconinocowboys #thecanyonmakescowboys
Walmsley’s training philosophy
Walmsley runs more miles than almost any other elite marathoner, with most elite training logs sitting around 200 kilometres during their highest weeks (Walmsley topped out at 283K). But the runner wrote on Strava last week that he gets through it by sleeping about nine hours a night and placing heavy importance on recovery, “I’m very diligent about getting in a post-run recovery drink 30 minutes after every run. I use First Endurance Ultragen Tropical. Other than that, I feel tired and sore a lot more than people realize and that’s okay. It’s part of the process. In my opinion, overreaching is okay. Overtraining is too far.”
Based on what can be gleaned from Walmsley’s Strava and his past results, the Canadian Running prediction for the runner is a 2:13 finishing time for sixth place–not good enough to make the team but a really impressive result either way.
The trials run on Saturday February 29 with the men’s race scheduled for 12:03 p.m.