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Western States 100miles 2024 – Hajnal Robert’s Thoughts & Training Journal

Robert Hajnal - Wester States Journal

Western States 100miles 2024 – Hajnal Robert’s Thoughts & Training Journal

Robert Hajnal - Wester States Journal
Photo: Altra

7.01. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind.

As I embarked on my run this morning, I was joined by four of my athletes, Gicu, Oana, Andrei, Cosmin, all of whom were preparing for their own upcoming races. We chatted as the raindrops gently hit our faces during our run, sharing our training plans, goals, and aspirations. It was a refreshing reminder of the shared passion that binds us together as runners.

Our conversation turned to the importance of having a specific race in mind from the moment you wake up, to the moment you train and how important is to visualize yourself winning when you go to sleep. I emphasized that it’s not just about putting in the miles; it’s about having a clear vision of the challenge ahead, a mental picture of the course, the weather conditions, and the mental and physical demands that lie in wait.

I shared my experience with the Lavaredo, UTMB and Doi Ithanon the Golden Ticket race for Western States, the iconic 100-mile ultramarathon, and how having that specific race in mind had fueled my training, focused my efforts, and driven me to push my limits.

My athletes nodded in agreement, echoing my sentiments.

They shared their own races they were training for, from fast halfmarathons to grueling mountain runs, and each one spoke of the motivation and drive that comes from having a specific goal in sight.

It was a reaffirming moment, a reminder that I was not alone in my approach to training. The camaraderie among unners, the shared passion for pushing personal boundaries, and the unwavering commitment to achieving our goals – these were the true hallmarks of the sport.

As we concluded our run, I felt a sense of renewed determination. Having my athletes by my side, sharing their own stories of dedication and perseverance, had ignited a spark within me.

I was ready to face the challenges ahead for the next week fueled by the shared spirit of runners of all levels.

Western States Training Run #4
Western States - Training Run #4

6.01. Becoming the athlete I used to look up to

#4 Easy 80min on Brașov Trails

As I embarked on my daily run, the thought of the upcoming Western States Endurance Run, the iconic 100-mile ultramarathon, hovered in my mind (again & always) like a distant mountain peak. The race, a symbol of ultrarunning prowess, ignited a sense of awe and aspiration within me.
I haven’t had this feeling since I first heard about this event 12 years ago. But now…

However, amidst the excitement, a deeper realization dawned upon me: the true essence of ultrarunning, the very foundation of success, lies not in the results of one race but in the unwavering dedication to routine.

Runners are as good as their routines, their commitment to consistent practice, their unwavering discipline in shaping their bodies and minds for the challenges that lie ahead. It’s in the daily grind, the monthly miles clocked, the early mornings spent pushing limits, that true endurance is forged.

Today’s run was a testament to this philosophy. My mind, sharpened by the mental fortitude cultivated through consistent training, remained focused and resolute.
The rhythm of my footsteps echoed the mantra of ultrarunning, that I should get tattooed so I don’t forget it >> consistency, dedication, resilience.

I understand now that winning Western States is not just about crossing the finish line first it is about embodying the spirit of ultrarunning, the spirit that thrives on the foundation of daily routine.

The race may be a fleeting moment in time, but the routine is a continuous journey, a testament to the power of discipline and relentless pursuit of excellence. It is in this unwavering commitment to routine that true ultrarunners find their strength, their resilience, their capacity to conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges.

– 174 thoughts to go to Western States * 100 Miles * One Day.

5.01. In an infinite game you have no opponents

#3 Easy Run in Brașov 

The thought of the 368 other souls training for Western States, each with their own unique motivations, struggles, and stories, filled me with a sense of camaraderie and purpose.

I wondered about the seasoned veterans, their faces etched with the lines of countless races, their bodies bearing the scars of countless miles. What drives them to continue pushing their limits, year after year? What hidden depths of strength and resilience have they unearthed through the crucible of ultrarunning?

I thought of the newcomers, their eyes wide with anticipation, their hearts brimming with dreams and aspirations. What fears and doubts do they grapple with as they stand at the precipice of this extraordinary challenge? What epiphanies and transformations await them as they embark on this journey of self-discovery?

And then there are those like me, the mid-tier runners, neither novice nor expert, forever striving to refine our technique, conquer our demons, and inch closer to the summit of our own potential. What fuels our determination to persevere through the monotony of training, the nagging injuries, and the inevitable moments of self-doubt?

As I ran, I carried the stories of these fellow runners in my heart, their collective energy fueling my own determination. 

I realized that the beauty of ultrarunning lies not just in the physical challenge itself but in the shared human experience it embodies. 

We are all bound together by our pursuit of endurance, our quest for self-discovery, and our unwavering belief in the power of the human spirit.

-175 Days to Western States * 100 miles, One Day

04.01 - Student of Endurance Academy

#2 Easy Run w few Uphill Surges in Brașov

As I pounded the pavement today, with my sore, unfit legs from my 4-week break, I couldn’t help but feel like a student at the university of endurance.

Each run, each race, is an opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of my body and the nuances of this demanding sport. With each step, I gain a new understanding of my limits, test the resilience of my mind, and explore the untapped potential of my physical being.

Western States looms large, the ultimate exam in this endurance marathon. I’m determined to approach it with the same inquisitive spirit, seeking to unravel its challenges and conquer its peaks.

With each training run, I’m not just building endurance; I’m expanding my knowledge, refining my strategies, and preparing to earn my A+ in the university of ultrarunning.

-176 Days to Western States * 100 miles, One Day

03.01. Consistency is Key.
#1.0 Easy 9km in Herăstrău.

In the world of running, the starting line often marks a pivotal moment – a point where nerves, excitement, and anticipation collide. While the initial surge of adrenaline can be invigorating, it’s the consistent effort and discipline that shape the true foundation of success. Just as boxers train relentlessly to endure the physical and mental demands of their sport, runners too must embrace consistency as the cornerstone of their training.
Consistency isn’t about pushing yourself to extremes every single day; it’s about building a sustainable routine that gradually enhances your fitness level and resilience. It’s about making running a habit, not a chore. Just as a boxer trains consistently to build muscle memory and reflexes, runners need to establish a rhythm of training that allows their bodies to adapt and improve.
The key to consistent training lies in breaking down your goals into manageable chunks. Instead of aiming for a marathon overnight, gradually increase your running distance and frequency. Incorporate strength training exercises to complement your cardio, building a stronger foundation for performance.
As you progress, remember that consistency is not about achieving perfection; it’s about showing up, even on days when motivation feels elusive.
-177 Days to Western States 100 miles, One Day.
wser #1 Training
Hajnal Robert

Hajnal Robert

I am a mountain man and I have a clear vision of what I want to do in my life. I envision a world where everyone does sport and puts their health first.

The first Romanian on the UTMB podium and the first Golden Ticket holder for 2024 Western States.

Read about - Coach Robert
De pe blog.

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UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

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Let’s get to know him a little better: Hannes Namberger

Let’s get to know him a little better: Hannes Namberger

A little preview of Hannes Namberger’s mindset, training philosophy, and how he became one of the best ultrarunners in the world.

Interview by Robert Hajnal


My name is Hannes Namberger. I am 32 years old and I am from the south of Germany, close to the Austrian border. I started trail running in 2015. I love running over 100km. 

2021 has been a very good year for me. I won the Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy, MIUT 115, and I took part in the UTMB 100-mile race. It was my first time there. I finished in sixth position.

 It was a spectacular experience.

Ultrarunner // Dynafit Athlete

The first interaction

Hannes is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Not only from the running community but from all the people you will have ever encountered. I think this is a very valuable asset for a a person, I envy him for that. 

The first time I met Hannes, was at kilometer 25 at UTMB, where I caught up with him, he was in a difficult moment of the race.

I congratulated him for the Lavaredo race, wished him a successful race, and told him to take it slow. He did so until the 90th kilometer when he slowly overtook me and reached  Chamonix 6th.

Hannes Namberger 6th UTMB - TrailRunning Academy Interview @Hendrik Aufm Kolk

From ski to pubs to Trailrunning

 I must admit that I first heard about you as a runner at Lavaredo Ultra Trail in 2021, where you won the race, even though your running career started years before. Before talking about running, can you tell me more about your life, where were you born, where do you live now and what is the most frequent place you go out to have a beer?

I am 32 years old, I am German and I live in Ruhpolding. It’s between Munich and Salzburg, so directly in the Alps.

I work as a policeman on the border to Austria but I feel more like a Trailrunning Pro then a police officer. Since last year August I am engaged with my girlfriend Ida, so my  season highlight will be my wedding in June .

Sorry, but I have to say you don’t find me in a bar for a beer, I don’t like to go out for a drink and it’s difficult to find the time for that. 

I like it more to be in the mountains.

 I also admit that I stalked you after your 1st place at Lavaredo, scrolling through your Strava profile, interviews and so on. I know that you were a professional skier. Can you tell us more about your transition from skiing to running and why did you stick to ultrarunning?

I finished my skiing career in 2011 and started running in 2015. In the years between, I had a cool time partying, freeskiing, backpacking in Asia, and enjoying my life.

I did all these things that I couldn’t do as a skier. But when I started with running, I had to lose some weight. I was really heavy. I had 16kg more then now and my legs had the double size then my running legs.

I Never planned to make races or ultras, but I enjoyed the time in the mountains. The beginning of my transition was cool because the progress went so fast and then I heard about a 52km race in Austria.

I signed in, trained hard, and enjoyed every second of it. After this race, I said to myself “Let’s do this again!”.

From that moment on, running was my new sport.


Your first ITRA races were in 2015. Did you have a coach from the start of your running career?

No, I only listened to my body and did what I wanted. Fun was the most important thing at the beginning of my running career.

Your first 100km race was at CCC in 2019 and only two years later you had your best running year (1st Lavaredo, 1st MIUT, 6th UTMB). What have you done differently in 2021 and in the past 2 years?

The years before I trained without a plan and without introduction. I went out the door and had fun in the mountains. But after 2019 I wanted to be more professional and contacted Micha Arend, my Trainer of the past 2 years.


My longest day in running shoes 👟 ➡️ 101k in 11h 48m. Yesss i did it!! I finished my first 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣k race with many ups and downs…. but at the end i made the 12th place. Thanks to all who watched this race at the livestream.

Hannes after CCC in 2019

 What is the name of your coach and how did you two meet each other?

In 2020 & 2021 it was Michael Arend, he had a company for endurance Athletes. He was a trail runner too but in December of 2021, he sold his company to his employers which are also great trail runners, and quit his job. From January this year, I train under the rules of Lars Schweizer who learned everything from Micha Arend. So it’s a little bit of a change for me, but  I am actually very happy with my trainer.

Do you coach other athletes or do you focus mainly on your running career?

I focus only on racing. I do not coach other athletes but I am happpy when a young athlete writes to me and seek for advices, I will give my advice happily. 

What is your favourite anaerobe training? And what is your favourite training for improving lactate threshold? 

I don’t like anaerobe training because I am really bad at it. But you have to do it. The most time I do 5 times 3minutes or 4 times 8 minutes.

Sometimes I do 4 times 20 minutes uphill training which are really hard but necessary for the Ultra Races.

Hannes Namberger, Training

We all have lows during an ultra event. What do you tell yourself to lift you up? Do you have a mantra for the hard times?

I only try to push myself forward. Racing is for me only a fight against myself, that’s all.

Hannes Namberger pe ultimii kilometri de la MIUT, dorindu-și un singur obiectiv. Sub 14 ore, chiar dacă avea avans 40 minute față de locul 2.

You are now an Elite Dynafit athlete. Can you tell us more about the brand and what is required to be an elite athlete for your team?

I am in Dynafit since 2018 and it’s the perfect brand for me. This are products from athletes for athletes. I am in the Pro Team what is perfect for me, because I can do what I want to. I don’t have to run any series or special races. I wanna select my races by myself because I want to be on the startline with the best athletes in the world.

And Dynafit gives me the perfect equipment to perform on the highest level. An extra plus is that since this year they organized an endurance studio, it’s like a gym, but more for endurance athletes and I train there my body for stability.

Hannes Namberger - TrailRunning Academy Interview

What competition do you visualise yourself winning while you are training?

All my 4 big races. To win it’s not the most important thing for me, but more important is that I give my best and show my best performance!

What races will you do in 2022 and what is your main focus now in training?

My season opener is a short race on La Palma with 29km.

My main goals are Penyagolosa, Mozart100, Utmb and the World Championships in Thailand. Those are 4 big races plus my wedding


My focus in training is on 3 parts, uphill, flat and downhill because at all I am okay, but not really good. I have to improve more and more.

Hannes Namberger @Mariana Oliveira

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Romania’s National Running Records +50k

Romania's National Running Records

Romania’s National Running Records +50k

Evidence of Romania's National Running Records for competitions longer than 50 kilometers on the road, athletics track, or treadmill.

I was running on the treadmill today and I thought about the results, the Romanian national records for  over d 50 kilometers or more on the track, the road or the treadmill. Not only am I interested for my general culture but in addition, I think about which record would be the most accessible and which would be the most difficult to break.

For shorter distances I don’t even think I could break a record that because it’s very difficult to run hard, over short distances. For longer distances other factors intervene and maybe I can compensate within the strategy.

Romania’s National Men’s Running Records

50 kilometres

Cristian Moșoiu - 3h:06:43 - 3:44/km;

6 hours

Iulian Filipov - 87,2- 4:08/km;

100 kilometres

Iulian Filipov - 6h59:04- 4:11/km;

12 hours

Florin Ioniță - 146,7- 4:55/km;

24 hours

Florin Ioniță - 244,496- 5:53/km;

48 hours

Daniel Trușcă - 370,121- 7:47/km;

Romania’s National Men’s Running Records
WHO? Time/Distance Distance/Time Pace/km
Cristian Mosoiu 50km 03:06:43 3:44/km
Iulian Filipov 6 ore 87,2 4:08/km
Iulian Filipov 100km 06:59:04 4:11/km
Florin Ioniță 12 ore 146,7 4:55/km
Florin Ioniță 24ore 244,496 05:53/km
Daniel Trușcă 48 ore 370,121 7:47/km

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I think that for the men’s national records, the most accessible record to break is that of Florin Ioniță at 12 hours. Not only  the average peace is quite high, but the record at 12 hours ran by him in the race was set when he also set the national record at 24 hours.

I think that the national record at 12 hours can be close to 150 kilometers and that it won’t last  more than two years.

I also think that the 6-hour record can be improved, only if this distance will be run. Iulian Filipov managed the double in the race in Germany, setting the record of 6 hours and 100 kilometers. I think that in 6 hours solo race you can run 88.5 – 90 kilometers.

On the other hand, I think that Cristian Moșoiu’s result will last for some time. Especially since this is a very good result, it was made in Brasov and there are very rarely 50 kilometer competitions. I know only a handful of people who could break this record and they prefer to focus on marathons or shorter distances.

Romania’s National Records in Women’s Running

50 kilometres

Paula Todoran - 3h:28:08 - 4:10/km;

6 hours

Mariana Nenu - 72, 65- 4:57/km;

100 kilometres


12 hours

Mara Guler - 119,383- 6:02/km;

24 hours

Mara Guler - 229,233- 6:17/km;

48 hours

Gabriela Ianciu - 315- 9:09/km;

Romania’s National Records in Women’s Running
Paula Todoran50km03:28:084:10/km
Mariana Nenu6 ore72, 654:57/km
Mara Guler100km09:10:5105:31/km
Mara Guler12 ore125,9155:43/km
Mara Guler24ore229,2336:17/km
Gabriela Iaciu48 ore3159:09/km

I also think that certain records can be improved for women as well. Let me know in a comment  what you think about the records and what record will be the first one to be broken and at what distance?

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UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.