Jim Walmsley Podcast Prior to 100k World Record Attempt at Project Carbon X 2

by LetsRun.com
January 22, 2021

Ultramarathon star Jim Walmsley was the guest on this week’s LetsRun.com Track Talk podcast (subscribe here) prior to his 100km world record attempt at Saturday’s HOKA Project Carbon X2 in Arizona. (Race starts at 9am eastern with a live stream here.)

This is Jim’s second attempt at Japan’s Nao Kazami 6:09:14 100k World Record (5:56.5 mile pace for 62.2 miles). At the original Project Carbon X event, there was talk of Jim breaking the 50 mile world best, the 100k world record and the 6 hour mark. Doing all three was too ambitious and Jim had to settle for the 50 mile world best.

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This time Walmsley intends to be more cautious as he has more respect for the 100km distance. His plan is to go through 50km in 3:04 when he anticipates not being in first place. Hayden Hawks broke Walmsley’s 50 mile JFK record last year in what Hawks at the Carbon X2 press conference described as a “a preparation or a ‘B’ race for me.” Hawk’s too is after the world record saying, “My goal is to break the world record. I always shoot high and sometimes it blows up in my face.”

Below are our highlights from our talk with Jim. Listen to the full podcast in the player below or click on a timestamp to start listening there.

Walmsley on his training:  [93:54]

“In this block very early, I was able to get back into a couple of long road runs here in Flagstaff… I was able to click really comfortably 25-30 miles at 5:40 pace here at altitude and feel pretty good and then almost have to back off about a month and a half out. I didn’t want to keep pounding those long runs… I’ve done a couple back to back weeks of 160 miles for this block.

Jim Walmsley at Project Carbon X 2 Press Conference

On his longest run:
“I did a couple I think 35 mile runs, but I kept them on trails instead of on the road. So timewise, it ended up being closer to four and a half hours, for 35 miles because it’s a lot more undulating and just a bit slower. It doesn’t beat me up as much as just going and pounding 35 miles on the road.”

On the competition at the Project Carbon X 2 [96:33]
“Hayden Hawks just recently broke my record at JFK, from 2016. And I’d say, for the most part, my records don’t get beat very often. That’s always surprising. And it was in a 50 mile distance. That’s a very runnable ultra and a lot of people, especially marathoners use that race as an entry to ultra running, which I highly recommend it. That’s a big indication that Hayden’s running well right now and basically doesn’t have to do much from where he was in November, to kind of be in contention. I’m training with one of the guys that ran the first Carbon X, Tyler Andrews. I’ve been training up here with him a lot, so I expect him to hang around a bit. And then Cole Watson threw in a 40 mile training run on the old (Project Carbon X) course. And ran 40 miles at my 50 mile world record pace… That’s pretty badass.”

Hayden Hawks

On taking attempt #2 at the 100k World Record: [97:59]
“My mentality going into this is 80% of the race is those last 12 miles. Just like a marathon, they say doesn’t start till mile 20. That the first 50 miles, it’s completely different. And even though I was able to run 5:48 pace for 50 miles last time, I was totally spent and basically just threw in the flag there getting that world best.”

On his pacing this time around vs the first time. [99:50]
“I think I lost patience. Like I blew it. So part of me is (thinking) maybe I could hold a proper 5:50 pace for 100k, but this go round, it’s just not worth the risk. So for me personally, I’m going to be looking into very much staying patient the first 30 miles and just not do anything that takes me out of contention the first 30 miles… I’d love to negative split, however, I know those last 12 miles are gonna probably be my slowest 12 miles. So with that in mind, I do find a little bit of strategic pickup, perhaps at 50 K. However, everybody dies in 100 K. So we’ll try to hold on. I think pacing (during the) last one was pretty bad.”

Jim Walmsley making history at 50 miles (photo compliments of HOKA ONE ONE)

Jim noted that only one person who has run under 6:20 for 100k has negative split it, but that is his goal. [133:15]
“I kind of am mentally expecting to be losing by several minutes at either 50 K or as late as 50 miles. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m running on world record pace and someone’s three, four minutes ahead of me and I end up 20 minutes ahead of them at the finish line. Because again, I think 80% of the racing is in the last 12 miles is how I’m mentally approaching it. And I’m basically the only one that’s run 100 k on the road out of every one going for the world record. So I feel like I have a bit of experience to talk on this and I think a lot of the other guys are in my shoes two years ago of ignorance is bliss.”

On whether he can break 6 hours:
“This go round, basically I’m going to go out too slow to have a chance I would say unless I’m in just way better shape than I think I am.”

On his plans for the rest of 2021:
“Comrades is pretty interesting. I mean, it’s two ten hour flights, essentially to get to South Africa. Traveling is difficult in these times.  This is my dumb idea, but I’m running another 100 k three weeks after Project Carbon X 2, to try to qualify back for Western States. Just as a backup plan (if I can’t go to Comrades).”

In the fall he wants to try and win UTMB. “I’m probably the only athlete, at least on the men’s side, realistically, who could (win Comrades and UTMB).”

On his 22nd place finish at the Marathon Trials:  [112:36]
“Maybe I could have cracked the top 10 on my best day…I get a joke that I’m a 2:15 marathoner, and you can take that at face value if you want, but I’ll take on any 2:15 or 2:12 marathoner for that matter any day. I think when you start talking 2:10, in a road marathon, probably those guys will have their way almost any day. ..I don’t know how fast of a guy could hang with me in the Grand Canyon. I don’t know. But it would take a very fast guy.”

For Jim’s thoughts on what happened to Killian Jornet in his 24 hour world record attempt, and his thoughts on Yiannis Kouros and his 24 hour world record you need to listen to the podcast starting at the [129:07] mark.

Discuss:  Does WR Go Down and Does Jim Walmsley get beat?