Kyle Masterson (Chaski Coach, HOKA pro athlete) made waves this summer after running 2:44:38 for 50km, the second fastest time ever by an American and just 60 seconds off the 30+ year old world record. The Alamosa, CO based runner is hoping to build off his success at the 31.1 mile distance and double down in his first attempt at 100km (62.2 miles).
Chaski caught up with Kyle as he prepared for his final few days of training and travel.
Be sure to check back afterward (race day is Oct. 24, 2020) for a follow-up interview!
Chaski: Tell us about this race -- What is it? Where is it happening? Why'd you choose to run this particular event?
Kyle Masterson: The Kansas Rails-To-Trails Extravaganza is October 24th, this Saturday. I’ll be racing in the 100km event (I think fellow Chaski Coach Pete Kostelnick has the 100M course record here). The event takes place on the Prairie Spirit Trail, a fairly flat crushed gravel path stretching through farmland south of Lawrence, Kansas.
I was originally getting ready for a shorter race in late November, but some things changed so my coach and I decided to look for a 100km event to try the distance. We were really just looking for a mildly flat “road” course.
Chaski: How's your training been leading up to this event? For those that follow you on strava/social media, we've seen some pretty long runs up in Alamosa. Any particular workouts you want to brag about?
KM: Training has gone well. Like I said, the original plan was for something shorter about 6 weeks later. So the training block wasn’t necessarily designed for a 100km in mid October. However, training has gone well and we felt even with a more brief and less specific block the opportunity was good.
I don’t necessarily think anything has been mind blowing in training. I did do a 40 miler a few weeks ago, which is closer to a race than I’d typically do something that long but we’ve made sure to recover the best we could. The run was a bit of a legendary run, as prior to myself taking on some big runs the Japanese National team ran from the Sand Dunes National Park to Alamosa (35 miles) and that has been a legendary run talked about for decades.
Chaski: You've had a lot of success at 50K so far, how are you preparing differently for 100K vs. 50K?
KM: I haven’t prepared too differently, especially in this block. However, had we had more planning time for 100km the changes still wouldn’t be drastic. As far as physiology goes, the marathon is roughly 98% aerobic and 2% anaerobic in what pathways fuel the activity. Therefore the 50km might be 98.4% aerobic. If the 100km is 99.5% aerobic, that’s still not a massive change in what energy systems need to be developed and what type of fitness leads to success.
That said, I seem to handle very long runs well in training so my long runs will be a bit longer for 100km preparation and I might do 5-10 minutes more of running most days. Specificity of training is important, but of course you can’t just time trial a 100km every week in training.
Overall the training is similar; my long runs and anaerobic threshold runs are the most important sessions of the week as they are for anything a half marathon and above. The big changes are in the mental approach and practicing nutrition much more.
Chaski: What's your race strategy going into your first 100K? What's your goal for the race?
KM: My strategy is conservative. The number one goal is to finish. I need to better understand how I’m going to feel and what challenges will arise at this distance. It’s hard to do that if I’m foolish early on.
With that in mind, I also believe if I have good conditions and am wise in the first half the sky is the limit in the second 50km. If I get to the finish line without too many bathroom breaks or tasting my gels and fluids a second time I’ll be at least mildly pleased!
Be sure to check back after October 24, 2020 for our follow-up and send your speedy vibes to Kyle in Kansas this weekend!