Naked Athlete Camille Herron Sets A New World Record
On Feb.19, Naked athlete Camille Herron, broke her own, long standing women’s 100 mile record.
Camille not only broke the record but won the USA National Championship race outright (beating the fastest man by over 30 minutes), set the 50 mile Age Group world record and also set
the 12 hour world record. Consider this; the 40 year old Ultra runner averaged a staggering pace of 7:37 per mile! Read our in depth interview with Camille Herron below.
100 miles is a longer distance than most would attempt. What are some key things you focus on during this long of a race?
I focus on running at 75% of heart rate max effort, which is like a steady long run pace. This is something I practice in training, to be dialed into the effort I want to give for 100 miles. I think it's inevitable you're going to get fatigued later in the race, so you're trying to hold on or even pick it up. I gain mental inspiration from my training/workouts, other races, and people who inspire me. I tell myself to "Lift your knees!", "Spring", "Drive your arms!"
What are some essentials that you carry with you that have proven to be helpful on race day?
For road ultras, I personally like to carry the essentials on me and be more self-sufficient. That way I can take what I need/when I need it and not waste much time grabbing stuff or stopping. I carry 2 small flasks (20 ounces total) with water and sports drink in my Naked Band. I carry ~4 gels too. I carry a baggy with caffeine, TUMs, and electrolyte tabs. My husband Conor crews me and trades out new stuff when I need it and and has other things (Squirrels Nut Butter, sunscreen, ginger beer, Hot Shot, beer/non-alcoholic beer, other sports drinks, Coke, sweet tea, potatoes, fruit). For trail races, I carry a larger water flask (18 ounces) and 1-2 small flasks (28-38 ounces total). I usually like to wear a buff for ~wiping my face/nose and helping me stay warm/cool. If it's colder, I add more clothes/gloves/arm warmers. If I'm doing a mountain race, sometimes they have required gear you have to carry for safety/conditions, so I think this is really important to think about.
What were you using your Naked Running band to carry during the race?
For the Jackpot 100 I used my Naked Running Band for carrying my two small flasks and the baggy with the caffeine/TUMs/electrolytes.
What’s your strategy for overcoming mid race fatigue and keeping yourself on pace?
I think fatigue is inevitable in ultras, so I go in expecting there to be some drop off no matter what in the race. I stay focused on continuing to move at 75% of heart rate max effort, even if that effort gets slower. My last 3 races I've been going out more conservative and letting the men go, hoping it helps me maintain the pace better later in races. I feel this strategy has definitely helped! When I reach 50-70 miles, I do a mental check on how my body feels- do I need more calories, caffeine, mineral drops, electrolytes, any cramping, and any changes in drinks? I felt like I needed to make a few changes, so we did. I like to do pickups throughout the race- to change muscle usage and keep my legs turning over. When I ran the Javelina Jundred, it was very warm, so I started pouring ice water at every aid station on my head for a mental boost. I use my watch as motivation- clicking off 5-10 miles at a time, counting off the laps, and taking it an aid station at a time on the trails! When I reach 80-90 miles, I can wrap my head around only having 10-20 miles left- a typical daily training run! I got this! At this point I may pick up the pace and focus on lifting my knees and driving my arms.
What other challenges do you face with a race like this that most other runners might not experience at shorter distances?
When I ran my first 100K, I lost 8 toenails! I don't recall ever losing a toenail when I was a marathoner! That was my first lesson as an ultra runner- take care of your feet! I lube my feet really well with Squirrels Nut Butter, do a lot of training in my race shoes (I prefer soft, flexible shoes), trim your toenails, and wear very comfortable and breathable socks. For 100 miles and below, I can mostly get by on gels, water, sports drink, and maybe a bit of soda/beer. I'll only take other things if I feel I really need to. When the distance approaches 24Hrs and beyond, then you have to think through eating real food. GI problems can become more common the longer the distance-- I personally feel very dialed in with my nutrition and needs and making sure I'm drinking enough water with my gels so I don't get nauseated or have GI troubles. I train my gut-- always eating before and after training runs and taking in fuel during harder and longer efforts. For the races that go overnight/24Hrs and beyond, you usually have to put on clothes during the night to stay warm.
What advice would you give to other runners who are thinking about or training to attempt 100 miles?
Get a coach! We started coaching almost 4 years ago (runwithcamille.com) because we have so much knowledge to share and have our formula dialed in for ultras. I want to help others and give them the assurance and confidence to be prepared. I think people would be surprised to know I do marathon training for ultras. I haven't changed anything to race 100 miles and beyond, besides the specificity to surface/terrain on an upcoming race. Whatever works for someone for the marathon will likely work for 100 miles too! We also know specifics of preparation for race nutrition, gear, mental prep, and troubleshooting problems. I think you have to prepare to expect the unexpected! There's many many challenges you may have to work through to get to the finish.