In February 1987 in the Milton Keynes indoor race she set an absolute world 24-hour best of 227.26 km and also set world indoor records for every distance from 30 miles upward. In May she completed a 1,600-km round-Britain race in 16 days, 22 hours, and 51 minutes. In July, she completed the 234-km Death-Valley-to-Mount-WTiitney run from the lowest to highest points in the United States in 53:03, the second fastest time ever by a runner of either gender.
In describing her training approach (E. Adams, 1987), Adams considers that good organization is the key to success for a woman ultradistance runner. She points out that after running, many women (unlike many men) return home to cook meals and attend to her children’s needs. As a single parent, Adams has the added responsibility of providing for the financial needs of her children. She therefore has to fit her training around her family and her career.
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She presently works as a substitute teacher and aims to work 3 days a week with 2 free weekdays, on each of which she runs 32 to 36 km in a single run. On workdays, she completes two to three sessions for a total of 32 km a day, giving an average weekly total of 160 km. Prior to the 1,600-km race around Britain, she increased her weekly average to 200 to 220 km/week. All her training is done alone at about 11 km/hr. On weekends she races any distance but chooses the longest available race. In summer she will also often race in midweek. These races form part of her speed training for the long ultradistance races, and she does not rest for these races. Nor does she train specifically for marathons; thus, she feels that her best marathon time of 2:48:23 run 6 weeks after the Death Valley run could be considerably improved.
Adams prefers to compete in a long race about every 6 weeks for a total of six to seven ultramarathons a year. She does not feel it necessary also to do very long runs in training.
Her racing advice for the very long ultradistance races is to first work on a support crew so that you get an impression of what happens in these races. She warns the prospective competitor always to expect the worst and to take everything that you expect to need and extras besides. This includes food, hot drinks, clothing for all weather, and several pairs of shoes. She notices that one’s feet
Swell during a 6-day race so that it is necessary to take larger shoes as well. She also includes plans for when the race is done: Must she cook a meal for her family?
Adams’s best times for different distances are the following: 10km 36:04; 16 km-57:36; 21.1 km1:18:21; 42.2 km2:48:23, and 100 km8:04:48.
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