CCC (100km) is one of the three World Series Final events at UTMB each year. CCC is known as UTMB's little sister, with a shorter distance but with massive hills and technical terrain from Courmayeur (Italy) to Chamonix (France). This year, Jonathan Albon takes his revenge with a magnificent win after a 2nd place in this race in 2022. Below is a breakdown of his training leading up to UTMB week and a full analysis of his performance on race day.
Accessory: COROS Heart Rate Monitor
Analysis tool: COROS Training Hub
While CCC remained high on his list of race priorities this year, Jonathan was quite busy over the season with shorter distances such as Zegama 42k, World Mountain Trail Championship 44k, and Marathon du Mont Blanc 43k. He used these races to build fitness towards his ultimate goal, CCC. By utilizing his COROS watch, Jonathan was able to track all of his data and ensure he was on track with his fitness goals leading up to race day. Below, you will find a closer look at some of his data throughout the year as well as how Jonathan handled the last few weeks prior to CCC.
Base Fitness tracks your daily training load over a 42-day average.
With Base Fitness, athletes should look for an upward trend as they have dedicated training blocks. By measuring your 42-day Training Load, athletes can better understand if their training provides enough stress to improve their overall ability. As seen above, Jonathan was still in his skimo racing season in early spring where we can notice a significant rise in Base Fitness until the season ends. Jonathan then straight away began his trail running season with multiple secondary races in preparation for CCC. The drop in Base Fitness from May to July can be explained by a slight decrease in overall volume/intensity that Jonathan was used to during skimo season as well as a way to recover before the bigger events. Finally, Jonathan attacked the specific training block for CCC where Base Fitness stabilizes to allow him to play around with volume and intensity.
Running volume from January to May (4 months). Training Summary is available for multiple activities in the EvoLab metrics.
Running volume from May to September (4 months). Training Summary is available for multiple activities in the EvoLab metrics.
In the first 4 months of the year, Jonathan spent less than 75 hours running as he focused on skimo. Doing cross-training all winter, such as skimo can become a strong asset over time as athletes are still building a strong base with fewer impacts and risks of injury. During the second part of the season (May to September), Jonathan increased his running volume by close to 200% compared to the previous 4 months. While the off-season or general build-up doesn't have to be specific, athletes should get more specific in their training the closer they get to race day. Jonathan kept on building his base through a busy off-season on skis and switched to running later in the season to work on specific aspects and replicate the race demands as much as possible.
Intensity Trend allows you to see your fatigue and monitor your taper.
Taper prior to a big race can be a tricky part for athletes. With excitement and anxiety pre-race, it's easy to keep pushing harder than it was supposed to and not let the body have sufficient race prior to race day. Jonathan had a 2-week taper to allow for his Intensity Trend to fall down to almost -70. This is a sign that his body was getting sufficient rest in the few days prior to the event and preventing any accumulated fatigue from previous training on race day. With the COROS ecosystem, athletes can use this tool to understand and monitor their fatigue to associate it with recent performances. It is important to reduce volume/intensity in the days leading up to an event so you can reach peak performance when the time comes.
Athletes can analyze workouts within the Training Hub for better insights.
Jonathan is an experienced runner with many major races under the belt. He followed a conservative approach at the beginning of the race as he reached the first aid station in 27th place before attacking mid-way at Champex to gain back those positions all the way to 1st place. Additionally, we can see that his heart rate has been extremely steady throughout the race. Jonathan used the COROS HR Monitor, which allowed him to accurately monitor his intensity and ensure he would have enough energy to attack later on in the race. Below you can see a breakdown of his race and how he managed to use his experience to win the 2023 CCC.
A breakdown of each checkpoint on the 2023 CCC course.
Courmayeur to Refuge Bertone
With a very fast start to the race, Jonathan quickly settled into a pace he would be comfortable for hours in his Aerobic Endurance zone. He then left the field to run away at the beginning of the race to quickly settle in for the hours to come. After 90 minutes of running, Jonathan reached the end of the first section in the 27th position. This resulted in an average effort pace for Jonathan of 6'16"/mi, which falls well within the Aerobic Power zone, an intensity that Jonathan can sustain for roughly 6-8 hours.
Regufe Bertone to Arnouvaz
While this section is done on 13km of non-technical rolling terrain, Jonathan still kept things slow within his Aerobic Endurance zone. However, he reached the end of this stage in 8th place after passing 19 runners along the way. Slowly, Jonathan was making his way up the leaderboard from behind, leaving the young athletes to battle for the lead early on in the race.
Photo by Hillary Yang.
Arnouvaz to La Fouly
This 14.4km stage has a small uphill section, then a fast downhill section to La Fouly. Jonathan still kept things fairly smooth with constant HR in his Aerobic Power, a zone at which he could sustain this intensity for about 6-8 hours, regardless of whether he was running uphill or downhill. Most often, runners will either push on uphills or downhills, but Jonathan maintains a consistent intensity throughout. He managed to find himself in 6th position after reaching La Fouly.
La Fouly to Champex-Lac
This 13.5km starts with the end of the downhill section followed by a steep, but short uphill section to reach Champex-Lac. Once again, Jonathan maintains a very consistent intensity in his Aerobic Power zone, but with a pace relatively slow in his Aerobic Endurance. It proves that Jonathan was fully in control of the first parts of the race to have sufficient energy to push further later on if needed. Jonathan reached Champex-Lac in 4th position, again slowly gaining some positions back closer to the lead field.
Champex-Lac to Trient
It's at this 16.6km stage that Jonathan began pushing a little bit more to reach the leaders. He has been able to keep a consistent effort during one of the biggest hills of the course while the other runners were beginning to slow down due to accumulated fatigue. Jonathan has been able to gain one more position to 3rd place where he could feel the podium to be quite achievable at this point. Once he reached Trient at the base of another massive hill, Jonathan's mindset changed and it was time for him to chase victory.
Trient to Chamonix
This last 29km stage goes through Vallorcine and then up to La Flégère col where runners have a last 7km technical descent to the finish line. Jonathan continues to push through against Jiasheng Shen and Dakota Jones who are beginning to slow down. Since Dakota experienced some stomach issues, it allowed Jonathan and Jiasheng to reach 1st and 2nd respectively after Vallorcine. With only a 4-minute lead on Jiasheng at the top of La Flégère, Jonathan embarked on a fast descent to secure a win in Chamonix at CCC after just above 10 hours of hard work.
COROS wants to give a big congratulations to Jonathan Albon for his amazing performance and win at the 2023 CCC! Through his yearlong training, tactical race strategy, and phenomenal execution, Jonathan was able to finally take the win in one of the best fields the sport has to offer after a 2nd place in 2022. If you found this analysis informative or interesting, we would urge all COROS customers to look deeper into their data. This analysis was performed using our free Training Hub software featuring data that is collected on every run performed. The next time you prepare for a race, or aim to nail a race strategy, keep this analysis in mind as it's a great example of how, you too, can aim to achieve your best results yet!