Salomon Bonaqua Team.
Jeremy, you are one of the best trail runner in Hong Kong, recently finishing 3rd at the Trailwalker in 2011, 2nd at the HK100 and many victories on shorter trail race (KOTH, Action Asia sprints) and adventure races. How did you get into trail running?
When I was first living in Hong Kong I saw a poster advertizing a weekend long 'adventure racing workshop' and thought it looked interesting. I signed up and was almost instantly hooked! I soon after registered for my first AA Sprint race. For the first few years I was a weekend warrior, not training much, but showing up for the races. Then in 2007 I found myself on a competitive Trailwalker team and I really started learning what my body could put up with. I've been training hard and pushing myself in races ever since. I still try to consider myself an Adventure Racer, but I know that running is where it's at for me!
-What is your typical weekly training?
Balancing family, work and training can definitely be tricky at times and I certainly have weeks that I don't train much at all. My real weekly average is probably about 7 or 8 hours, with an occasional 12 or 14 hour week. I'd say that about 80% of my training is running on trails, but I always put in a few hours of biking and some occasional kayaking, especially if I have a race coming up. I find that racing frequently really helps me keep my speed and endurance up so I try to race as often as possible. I probably do about 20 to 25 races per year, some runs, bike races and adventure races.
-Do you have any specific training for hills?
I love being in the hills so most of my training takes place in them. I don't have any specific routines, but I will sometimes push myself as hard as I can for 5 or 10 minutes while climbing up Lantau or Sunset Peak.
-How much food do you eat during such event like Lantau50?
I'm a light eater during runs, even for races that last quite long. For the Lantau50 I will probably eat only energy gels (5 or 6) and take a few salt tablets. If I get myself really organized, I'll prepare a couple bottles of Perpetuem drink by Hammer Nutrition to keep my energy levels up. I think it's really important to experiment for yourself as everyone is so different in terms of what their body needs to sustain itself during an endurance event.
-Living on Lantau island, you know the route very well, how would you describe the Lantau50?
I'd describe the Lantau50 as a real mountain race. This isn't just a trail race - it is full of sustained tough climbs and fast technical descents, as well as a good bit of fast flowing trail. I couldn't be more stoked about a route in Hong Kong. For a race of this length, I'm sure there is no comparison - this one is tough! It has become increasingly difficult to avoid concrete in Hong Kong, but the Lantau50 has done a fantastic job.
Eric, former American football player, you became a top runner on ultra-trails and multi-days desert races (250km). How did you end up on trail running?
Before I moved to Hong Kong, I lived in New York City and dabbled in distance running to keep in shape after my American football playing days were over. Then when I moved to Hong Kong I transitioned into trail running and eventually ultra running. Hong Kong has so many great trails, a close knit trail running community, and awesome local races, so it was easy to get into it.
What is your typical training plan for a 50km?
Basically I try to do maintenance during the week (about 4 runs of 10K to 20K). One of these will be hill work focused and another one will be speed focused (I often go to the track for repeats), and the other two just at a steady pace. Then I try and get a solid long run in on the weekend, ranging from 25K to 50K over various terrain.
Uphill is your strength, do you have a particular training you could recommend to become a good climber?
Uphill is indeed my favorite discipline; and I think I excel at it because of the leg strength I developed from football. But the best way to get better at uphills is to really just practice. I try to do one hill season a week, and make sure my long run on the weekend has plenty of hills in it. When you climb hills your heart rate spikes and you have to get used to operating when your heart rate is at that raised level.
For races that last over 5 hours such as the Lantau50, what do you eat?
A LOT! Actually it really depends on the weather. Most likely it will start to get hot and humid in HK around the time the Lantau50 is staged, so this means more eating and drink. I will need a gel or bar every 10K as well as about 2L of waters an hour. For electrolytes, which are key, I just use Saltstick tablets.
Champion System Adventure Team.
Stone, you have been the best local trail runner for several years with many wins from short to long distances. Where comes from your nickname Stone?
When I was studying in secondary school, I like extracurricular activities, such as basketball, football, outdoor activities, etc. Even i was little, but i look like strong and hard as "stone", so my classmates call me "石仔" in Chinese. One time, my English teacher required everyone to have a English name, so i called myself "Stone", but i didn't use it often, until I've joined the races and started communicating with foreigners, so I used Stone as my nickname.
What is your typical training week? Do you practice any cross-training (e.g. bike)?
Depends on the races I join, usually my training includes: long run, tempo run and uphill run and recovery run; I like to run on trails and mountains, but for tempo run, I will run on flat roads. In addition, I like to run anywhere, so I don’t have fixed running routine in order to make my training more interesting and fun. If possible, I would prefer to join less races and plan my training in a more systematic way, such as a gradual increase of the weekly mileage, I feel this kind of training can effectively improve my fitness and also better to prevent injuries. But the fact didn’t allow me to do for the last 1-2 years, because I need to spend time with my family, and for my work and studies at the university. So right now, I run much less, but I do at least a 2-4 hours long run and some hill works. Of course, I ride my mountain bike as training too, it’s good for strength training and recovery, it can save my leg for impact from running.
Do you have specific training to prepare a race that includes an important elevation gain, with a succession of steep climbs?
5-10 min power uphill runs and steady 30-60 min slow uphill runs are both good training for mountain climbing.
How do you manage your energy input (food, fluids) when you race a 50km such as the Lantau50?
Nutrition is very important for endurance race, specific for ultra-marathon races, such as Lantau50, For this race, I should take gels every 40-50mins while running; water is the main fluid I will drink, 0.5-1L per hour, of course I will drink some electrolytes at check points, in addition to salt that I carry with me to prevent dehydration.