Unived Elite Athlete Rajpaul Pannu talks to us about his preparation going into the Hoka One One Project Carbon X 2 – 100km World Record attempt. Rajpaul has been training consistently, switching it up from traditional marathon training to 50km long runs in preparation for the race.
The current 100km World Record stands at 6:09:14, achieved by Japanese runner Nao Kazami at the Lake Saroma 100km in Kitami City, Japan, on 24 June 2018.
Rajpaul will be joined by his Unived teammate Hayden Hawks, as well as a host of top Elite HOKA athletes for the 100k World Record attempt which takes place on January 23rd, 2021.
You ran the Carbon X event last year as part of the pacing team. Can you tell us more about the experience?
The first Hoka One One Carbon X event took place in Spring of 2019. I had previously paced Tyler Andrews to a 50K track record the year prior, where I helped him through 25 of the 50K and was asked again to help out Jim. The atmosphere was electric, as the ultra community really shows up and shows out to support their fellow athletes, especially when attempting a crucial feat that can help progress the sport of ultra running.
From pacer to racer, this will be your first WR attempt. Excited, nervous, anxious, what are the emotions like?
My biggest anxiety, honestly, is not being able to compete due to contracting covid. Perhaps it’s the “shelter in place” that’s gotten to me, but I’ve been very keen on making sure that I’m safe, secure, and more importantly, responsible. Aside from that, I’m excited. I’ve visualized what I can possibly do by carrying myself on solo workouts, which has helped build my confidence throughout this rigorous training block.
You’re a marathon specialist, how different has training been in the buildup for this 100km race distance?
Higher volume, less intensity. I’ve increased my mileage to 125/200K a week, with two workouts, a strength and conditioning regimen, and really dialed in on my nutrition. Due to working full-time as a teacher, I make sure to get the most out of my runs, volume wise as I rarely perform double run days. I’ve also come to find out that sleep is important, so I’m taking care of my sleep hygiene.
What are some key workouts you’ve hit in preparation for the race?
50K at 100k Record pace (3:41K/avg); 12 x 1K repeats w/ :65 rest; and 6 x 1 mile repeats w/ a minute rest. Those were the three strongest workouts that have given me confidence going into this week. Honestly, I feel like volume is more important when training for a 100k so just performing regular runs since July has been a key factor.
What is your strategy, stick with the pack, peel away if you’re feeling great?
My goal is to take it one kilometer at a time, gauging my surroundings, making sure that I’m sitting comfortable and not using excess energy. Of course, just as important, making sure that I get my nutrition down…literally.
You’ve been practicing a specific nutrition strategy in training, what is your nutrition plan for the race?
My goal is to take one Unived Elite Caffeina0ted Gel every hour with a Unived Drink Mix (Wild Watermelon is my favorite) and one Unived non-caf gel every thirty minutes. It may seem like I’m not getting enough nutrition given the race, but having 190 Kcal/serving is pretty hefty will allow me to focus on the race itself rather than the traditional “gel every 15/20 mins”
What would it mean for you to set a new 100k WR?
Being invited to compete against some of the world’s best ultrarunners means a lot to me because I’m representing my Indian community. I feel like Indian representation in endurance sports is just beginning to bud, and being out there this Saturday would feel like (to me) a massive step for “us”.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty with races for 2021 – what are your race plans for the rest of the year?
I honestly have some unfinished business in the marathon, but I’m considering the MadCity 100k in September, which is a U.S qualifier for the 100K World Championships. Then, either the JFK 50 miler or the CIM marathon, where I originally made my debut.