KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: RACE ANALYSIS.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: RACE ANALYSIS. Our UTMB section today analyzes in depth the fourth victory and record of Kilian Jornet, who ran the 170k/D+10,000m in 19.49.30 setting a historical record.
Lets start with the analysis by Mayayo.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD:
COROS APEX PRO DATA
UTMB was born in 2003. Kilian has already won it four times, but this UTMB 2022 set an incredible time of 19:49:30. Kilian not only sets a new record, but also becomes the first man to achieve the publicized “Breaking 20”.
Kilian’s training data shows us the foundations of his incredible performances this year, with three golds and a record at Zegama Aizkorri, HardRock and UTMB, plus Sierre Zinal’s fifth place.
Basic fitness, training intensities and training specificity are the three pillars of success for any endurance athlete. Let’s go over them together, thanks to the info from Coros.
- Baseline Fitness: Kilian’s baseline fitness is firmly in the 150-170 range as he trains and prepares for big events. Kilian reached a peak of 175 on 1AUG before beginning a slow decline towards the UTMB. Finally, Kilian started the UTMB with a basic physical condition of 149 and a fatigue of 29. It has been a fantastic tapering, there is no doubt
Training Intensity: The majority of Kilian’s training time is in aerobic endurance or aerobic power (Zones 1 and 2). In long-distance racing, this is the approach to take. Alongside this, Kilian mixes in higher intensity days to maintain a high VO2 and the ability to pick up the pace when needed.
Elevation Gain Training: Kilian has averaged 75-150m per km of elevation gain during his last 4 week training block. Kilian was not only training the proper zones, he was also developing his muscular strength.
KILIAN JORNET RECORD UTMB:
As you can see in the official race timeline below, Kilian went through no less than 15 different time controls, with all kinds of unevenness and length of differentiated stages. In any case, he sought to adapt to each section, performing to the maximum in all of them… within the capacity of his body to continue doing so later until the finish line.
This is what we will later call “adjusted pace” which means translating your time on a big climb/descent to the pace you would achieve with that same effort on the flat. Nutrition, as we saw above, was the first key factor to have strength.
The head, the second factor, because he knew how to squeeze every ounce of force where and how he played. Including the ax blow that dropped Blanchard after Vallorcine.
When breaking down Kilian’s new UTMB record, a few elements jump out at you. First of all, Kilian’s heart rate trend is surprising.
The first 11h30m turned out to be the hardest, due to the pressure imposed by Jim pushing forward as we will see later. During this time, Kilian averaged 143 bpm and spent over an hour in his aerobic power zone (zone 2).
Second, even with a reduced heart rate, Kilian was able to keep his pace tight and pick up the pace when needed. Now thanks to COROS we will break down each of the key segments to show Kilian’s effort.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD
START- LES CONTAMINES (0-31K)
As we all expected, the race started at a furious pace: The first 31km shows us Kilian’s fastest 1km and 5k segments, fastest adjusted pace segments and highest heart rate.
Not ideal, of course: Normally to dispute 170 km, the athletes start a little more slowly and little by little they adapt to their strategy. Jim Walmsley wanted to put pressure on Kilian, so he took the lead throwing up to 31k.
Kilian didn’t want to let anyone go ahead, so he slipstreamed Jim all the way, coming within 2″ of Jim, second overall to the equator at Courmayeur after 81k.
Key facts: Kilian ran at a heart rate within his threshold zone (166-177) for portions of this segment. This is untenable for tests greater than 3 hours. EYE! The strategy that Kilian was carrying out involved taking a high risk, of which he was fully aware.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: LES CONTAMINES – COL DE LA SEIGNE (31-61K)
During the key second part, Kilian continued to mark Walmsley. This segment is a big climb and reaches the coldest point of the race, in the middle of the night. Logical that it was slower due to the technical terrain in addition to the first stop avitu. Although the pace was calmer, the effort was still high.
During these 30 kilometers, Kilian maintained an average heart rate of 148. On the two uphill legs, Kilian was between 150-155 bpm, at the top of his aerobic endurance zone. At the end of the first 61km, Kilian was 5″ behind Jim and a safe distance ahead of the final 110km of the race.
Key facts: Kilian lowered his heart rate but it was still at a high level. Any time above Aerobic Endurance for ultra events is considered risky. In order to stay with the leader, Kilian was alternating between Aerobic Endurance and Aerobic Power throughout these 30 km.
This tactic was beginning to push Kilian over the edge from a physiological standpoint.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD COL DE LA SEIGNE – COURMAYEUR (61-81K)
In the third key segment of the UTMB, that long descent to Courmayeur, is where Kilian begins to pay for the effort of the first 60k.
The average heart rate begins to decrease and use the drops to recover.
Although his overall effort dropped during this segment, Kilian peaked at 166 bpm, touching his threshold zone and leading to a sharp drop in his heart rate.
Logically, Kilian lost time to Jim in this stage and finished the 81k 1m24″ behind the leader.
Key Facts: Although the race to this point had been between Kilian and Walmsley, Mathieu Blanchard (COROS Pro Athlete) took a different approach.
Blanchard continued at a more conservative pace and was 16 minutes and 32 seconds behind Kilian at km 81.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: COURMAYEUR – GRAND COL FERRET (81-103K)
On the ascent to more than 2,500m of Col Ferret, passing through the up-and-down between the Bertone and Bonatti refuges. Kilian trimmed back to 5″.
But this recovery was short-lived and Walmsley was once again extending his advantage on the climbs. When Kilian reached kilometer 103, he was 5m11s behind.
Kilian again pushed a bit to catch up with Walmsley, as his high heart rates at the start show. But then he focused on defending his career: He reduced the level of effort and focused on a more typical late-night approach, to his walk.
As Kilian dropped his effort below aerobic endurance pace, Blanchard made up more time from behind. At the pass of the 103k Matthieu was only 11m27s behind the boss.
Key facts: Kilian had to let Walmsley walk out here or risk an explosion. The effort was already too high for too long and Kilian made the decision to reduce it.
Even on the climbs, Kilian was able to lower his heart rate and ensure that he would still be able to finish. This was his lowest average heart rate so far. Knowing when to defend and when to attack is the signature of a master of running strategy.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: GRAND COL FERRET – CHAMPEX LAC (103-127K)
Looking back, perhaps this was the stage where Kilian recovered and set himself up again to win the race. Being mainly a downhill section, with a slight incline at the end, Kilian allowed his body to recover to an average heart rate of 119 for 2h30. He paid a price for it, in the race: Ahead, Walmsley extended his lead to 13m26s.
From behind, Blanchard was only 1m45s behind. And yet it was a masterstroke. The previous effort had been too high and Kilian needed a stretch like this to let his body recover.
These 23.5k did just that: Kilian gave up minutes with his two rivals in exchange for regaining strength for the final marathon to the finish line.
Key facts: Treating this segment as his recovery portion of the run gives us Kilian’s lowest average heart rate data (119 bpm). This tactic was essential for him to be able to resume maximum efforts in the last 53k.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: CHAMPEX LAC – TRIENT (127-143K)
The race changed completely here, due to Jim’s explosion. Having set a furious pace for the first 130km, Walmsley completely faltered on this stage.
Kilian was about to suffer the same fate, but he knew how to recognize the symptoms and lower the piston some 30k kilometers earlier. During this section of the race, as if it were a stage of the Tour de France, Kilian was already able to increase his effort again when Blanchard caught up with him, thus joining forces in pursuit of the leader.
Throughout these decisive 16k, Kilian took the lead as Walmsley faded. At the end of the first 143k Kilian was ahead of Blanchard by 47″ seconds and Walmsley by 18m57s. The race was already a matter of two.
Key facts: As you can see from the data above, Kilian increased his heart rate again to an average of 125 in this section. The pace dropped, of course, for all the runners.
But the effort levels went up again, now with a new opponent challenging Kilian for victory. And a packaging rival, because Blanchard came with the 2021 bronze here under his arm.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: TRIENT – LA TETE AUX VENTS (143-161K)
Without a doubt, here Kilian Jornet demonstrated his mastery in the race. From kilometer 143 to 151, Kilian and Blanchard ran side by side. I myself was there, at the Vallorcine avitu and when they both entered, I had the sensation of seeing Blanchard stronger.
Serious mistake. If Pau Capell dedicated 2m30s to this avitu in 2019, Kilian stopped just 50″ and forced Blanchard to follow him before he was fully ready. You can see below a constant increase at the beginning of the first climb (HR 148ppm, the maximum in this segment) and then both athletes remain stable. Starting at 151k, Kilian unleashed a vicious hack, risking everything for everything.
A sharp increase in adjusted pace can be seen along with the heart rate data below. Kilian not only increased the pace, but kept up the effort… Here he won the race! Kilian crowned the last big climb at kilometer 161, with 7m23s on Blanchard.
Key data: Kilian attacked for more than 1h, often running at a higher pace, less than 20 minutes per 5 km (adjusted pace data). During his attack, Kilian hit an adjusted top pace of 3:21/km.
In other words, after running 151 kilometers, Kilian was running at a pace of 16:45 for the 5k. It’s amazing what he was able to do considering how the first 80km of this race unfolded.
KILIAN JORNET UTMB RECORD: LA TETE AUX VENTS TO CHAMONIX (161-171K)
Up to the tail everything is bull and the final 6km downhill from La Flegere were harrowing.
Kilian not only knew that he had broken Blanchard, but that he too had pushed himself to the limit. A strong return to his average heart rate of 119 bpm can be seen, which is well within Kilian’s recovery zone.
Even though the segment was mostly downhill, it was the slowest paced 10k stretch of the race. Blanchard was able to close the gap somewhat in the final miles by going downhill, but the damage had already been done.
Kilian Jornet was the 2022 UTMB champion with a record time of 19h49m30s. Matthieu arrived nine minutes later…
Key facts: With a set pace of 9:27/km, this was Kilian’s slowest stage of the race. Having spent all his energy on his winning move, it was understandable that he had nothing left in reserve. In the previous section, he calculated his movement perfectly and was able to descend to the finish line, keeping.
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