Jon Albon has had his eyes on the 2024 Western States 100-Mile Endurance race since he got his Golden Ticket after a successful win at Les Templiers at the end of the 2023 season. He knew that one of his biggest obstacles for this race was going to be the warm temperatures. Living in Norway, he is not used to training in the heat, so in preparation for the race, he decided to build races into his training block that would allow him to get acclimated to the change in climate.

Read more about how Jon is using these race experiences as a part of training for a bigger goal and still walking away with podium finishes!

Watch: COROS APEX 2 Pro

Accessory: COROS Heart Rate Monitor

Analysis tool: COROS Training Hub

The Big Goal- His First Trail 100 Mile Race

During Jon's final race of last season, the 2023 Festival Les Templiers, he took first place and set his eyes on this year's Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race (WSER). This will be his first 100-mile trail race and he has been building to take on the challenge of preparing for what would be one of the biggest challenges of his running career to date.

Jon Albon laying down at the finish line of Transvulcania Ultramarathon with his COROS APEX 2 Pro and COROS Heart Rate Monitor. Images courtesy of @carreraspormontana / @dsharo.

Building Blocks

After such a big year, which included a triumphant win at CCC 2023 during UTMB week, Jon took some much-needed downtime to recover. He spent the off-season on his skis and planning how he was going to attack the big adventure that he had in front of him for the 2024 season.

Jon strategically planned races into his training cycle for WSER that would allow him to get exposure to the warmer temperatures and test his fitness early in the season to determine what changes he could make in his training plan leading up to his 100-mile race.

Taking a look at his Base Fitness over the last 7 months, you can see that even with the stress of adding races into his training, Jon is gradually building his fitness on the road to WSER. An exciting sign of things to come later in the season.

Jon's Base Fitness has increased throughout his training cycle for WSER.

Specificity in Training

The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race is the world's oldest 100-mile trail race. The race takes place in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains and the temperatures can reach close to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Runners will be expected to ascend 5,500m and descend a total of 7,000m throughout the entire race.

A training plan can be built so that the athlete is getting the time on their feet that they need to tackle the distance. But it is important to look at the whole picture and what will be endured over the 100 miles. The race environment for WSER is very unique and can be extremely challenging for athletes who are not used to extreme temperatures. Knowing this, Jon wanted to do everything that he could to properly prepare for his first attempt at the 100-mile distance.

The first test was the Tougher Mudder Infinity Al-Ula, an 8-hour obstacle race in the heat of Saudi Arabia. Jon is no stranger to obstacle races and finished in first place in race conditions where the temperature was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Jon Albon en route to winning Transvulcania Ultramarathon guided by his COROS APEX 2 PRO. Images courtesy of @carreraspormontana / @dsharo.

A few months later, he decided to return to the Transvulcania Ultramarathon in 2024, driven by a sense of unfinished business after narrowly missing a podium spot five years prior. This race was an ideal opportunity to assess his fitness level six weeks before the WSER. Despite the Transvulcania no longer being part of the UTMB World Series that year, the competition remained fierce, with many of the world's top trail runners on the start list.

The race challenged participants with a gruelling 72 km (44.7 miles) course around La Palma in the Canary Islands, featuring a staggering 14,000ft (4,350m) of elevation gain under 24 degrees Celsius heat. This did not stop Jon, he started to pull away from the lead pack around 51km and held on strong for a first-place finish, marking a triumphant redemption.

Jon's podium at Transvulcania, along with his strong performance in earlier races, perfectly positions him for a strong and well-prepared appearance at the upcoming Western States Endurance Race.

The team at COROS looks forward to continuing to support Jon throughout his build for WSER and cannot wait to see what happens as he tackles his first 100-mile trail race.