Art of the Low-Mileage Ultra




Eric Robinson is one of a kind. Eric has run countless ultras, averaging 2-3 or more
per month. Eric keeps careful track of his training and racing. “I record my race
entries in a spreadsheet,” he says. “Sometimes I realize on Friday that I’m
entered in a race the next morning. It can be quite a scramble to get ready in time!”

Eric keeps close track of his training and learns from his experiences. Eric posted the
following reports on the online ultra lists during 1996. They’re worth reading if you’re
interested in running ultras on low training mileage.

I call this kind of training the Shearer/Robinson method, after Eric Robinson and Suzi
Shearer. Suzi has run more 100-milers than any other female runner. Suzi’s and Eric’s
training is virtually identical, and consists of one or two very short, very easy runs on
weekdays, and an ultra-length training run on the weekend. Note well: you’ll feel
so good on Shearer/Robinson low-mileage training that you’ll be tempted to increase your
weekday miles. This is counterproductive. Eric often does 400-m speedwork repeats during
his mid-week run.

Both Eric and Suzi have achieved extremely good results on low-mileage training. Both
runners have finished the hardest of all the U.S. mountain 100-milers: the Hardrock 100,
an incredibly hard race with 32,000′ of climbing and a 48-hour time limit. Suzi is one of
just two runners, as of this writing, ever to finish the ridiculously difficult Barkley
Marathons.



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