Ultra Challenge: Day In The Life Of An Ultra Pro with Adam Peterman

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Cody Jett in a red jacket and running clothes after finishing a race, holding hands up smiling.

By: Community author, Cody Jett

Cody Jett is our East Coast (or, more accurately, Beast Coast) contributor. Cody lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with his wife and two kids. When Cody is not working or spending time with family, he enjoys trail documentaries, his Phillies, and checking out new gnarly trails.

Freetrail Fam,

Welcome to our latest series: Ultra Challenge: Day In The Life Of An Ultra Pro, curated by our very own Freetrailer, Cody Jett. In this series, Cody meets with the pros of our sport to learn more about how they train, fuel, race and generally approach the sport. He then copies their daily routine to show us what it’s like.

For the first episode, Cody met with Adam Peterman to learn about a day in the life with our sport’s newest legend. Read on for more!

Adam Peterman running on a dirt fire road in a forest.

Ultra Challenge: Day In The Life Of An Ultra Pro
with Adam Peterman

By Cody Jett
“Do the types of races that get you excited”

Ahh… trail running. For the experienced, heading out on a trail adventure is often as easy and routine as brushing your teeth (and, luckily, a lot more fun). But for those more novice runners, it can also be one of the most overwhelming aspects of the sport. After all, not all of us stepped out of the gate crushing a legendary course record at our first ever ultra-marathon (Speedgoat 50k) and decided to keep that pace with 1st place finishes at ALL of our subsequent ultra-races. No. Some of us simply had budding ultra-aspirations after going down the rabbit hole of Billy Yang and Ginger Runner trail documentaries; which, while inspiring, did not exactly lay out the “how” of it all.

To figure out the “how,” today, I will be taking on the Ultra Challenge: Day In The Life Of An Ultra Pro with Western States Champion Adam Peterman. 

Adam Peterman has hit the ultra-running scene like a wrecking ball, breaking course records left and right and collecting wins at every ultra-race he has attempted! His latest conquest: the challenging Western States 100. Adam’s quick success makes us all ponder what exactly makes him one of the best runners in our sport; is it his nutrition, his running workouts, his favorite gear, or just the talent he was born with? Well, today is the day to find out, as I copy all that and more as I set out on a trail run of my own.

The morning starts very simple: snag some coffee and eat a pack of pop tarts while I travel to the trail. While I typically eat more calories in the morning before hitting a big run, I did promise to do everything as Adam would. And who am I to argue with a Western States champion? With only crumbs left in my beard, I lace up and head for the trails. Knowing today will be a hot one, I follow Adam’s advice and bring along his new favorite piece of equipment: a belt with a soft flask. Having extra water will be clutch in the heat as I will soon find out!

Before I leave the car, I study Adam’s workout one last time: 2:30 to 3:00 hour run, with the steepest climbs at a controlled pace, and an ultimate goal to conquer 15-18 miles in that window. After one last glimpse at the workout and a quick text to my wife, I throw 3 packs of fruit snacks and gels into my belt and I’m off.

Adam Peterman's workout chart.

While Pennsylvania is nothing like Adam Peterman’s terrain in Montana, we do have some beautiful trails with some “steep-ish” climbs. As I knock down the miles, I start to notice the heat is quickly rising and worry if 2:30 hours is in the cards. At Mile 5 I take in my first of three fruit snacks. Right away I understand why Adam snacks on these during runs. I find them to be refreshing and welcomed on this hot day.

The author, Cody Jett, eating snacks on the trail.

As I approach mile 8, I recall that I have a soft flask hidden in my belt! With the humidity of the day, I was slowly starting to feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, dry mouth and on the verge of talking volleyball. I bust out the flask, which contains Adam’s choice of Skratch Superfuel. The electrolytes are just what I need and help keep my body going.

At mile 11, however, my stomach takes a turn for the worse. I try another pack of fruit snacks and a gel, but something just doesn’t feel right. Thankfully, I know my local trails like the back of my hand, and I come off the trail to find a water fountain. I soak my head and body under its marvelous spout and attempt to bring my temperature down. When I finally feel somewhat revived, I resume the adventure and keep whispering Adam’s mantra to myself: “Train Consistently and Believe in Yourself”, which keeps my spirits high and my legs moving.

The author, Cody Jett, running down a trail.

I continue to push on, knowing the last couple miles will be a struggle. With only the ability to shuffle my feet for the last few miles, I take an unexpected tumble down the trail; thankfully, no injuries sustained. But as I forge on, I notice red on my tank and wonder if the fall might have been worse than I thought. With no visible signs of injury, I resume my run, but the blood red stains continue to deepen.

Frustration takes over, and I rip my tank off to do a full body scan; still no signs. That’s when I notice it: a rogue fruit snack has made its way into my bottle pocket. What I thought was blood was nothing more than a measly fruit snack and a whole lot of sweat. Fully embarrassed, I make my last descent from the trails and head straight for the car, with all eyes on the post run foods!

2:36 hours and 14.17 miles later, my body feels wrecked (more so from the heat, than the miles). I am depleted and hungry. I get back to the car and pull-out Adam’s post run drink: Coke. I have never been a huge fan of soda, but the carbonation really helps settle my stomach. After a speedy change of clothes, I cruise on home where I know I have eggs, toast, and a big bowl of cereal calling my name.

The author, Cody Jett, drinking coke.

With hunger lurking like Vecna hunting the Stranger Things’ kids, I finally bust through the front door and hear the cheers of my kiddos (which I can only assume equates to the cheers at the Western States finish line). I scarf down my post-run meal and quickly turn back into a coherent person. My first thought I relay to my wife, “Adam and the heat might have been trying to kill me today”. 

While the post run meal helped, it’s not long before I collapse on the couch with Adam’s snack preference: a big bowl of chips and salsa. While the pre-run pop tarts may not have cut it for me, I will admit that the post-run foods have been clutch for reviving my body. By the afternoon, I am able to accomplish a quick mobility exercise succession for my ankles. Then I jump straight into a lunch of rice and beans, with some leftover chicken. It does the trick, but, to be honest, this lunch has got nothing on my go-to peanut butter sandwich.

With recovery on my mind, I try to take Adam’s advice to stay off my feet. What better way to kick up my feet and beat the heat, than relaxing at our local pool. Recovery afternoon: I’d give a 10/10. 

The day rolls on, and I finally make it to the one meal I have had my eyes on all day- Adam’s go-to PIZZA dinner. Maybe it’s because I watched too much Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid, or the fact that I grew up right next to a pizza joint, but whatever the reason might be, pizza is always welcomed in the Jett household. As luck would have it, the local farm brewery my family and I planned to visit that night just happened to have the most fantastic wood stove pizza food truck on-site. Thank you, ultra-gods.

The author, Cody Jett, eating pizza.

I come home to reflect on my crazy day and wrap it up with Adam’s suggestion of a Modelo (and a little ice cream). The day is officially over and, with that, the end of my first Ultra Challenge: A Day In The Life Of An Ultra Pro. While I don’t think I will be lining up at Western States any time soon, I successfully lived a day as Adam Peterman, and that is absolutely a feat in itself! Now onto the next adventure and next Ultra Pro: Katie Asmuth!

Stay tuned for the rest of this “Day in the Life” series and in the meantime follow Cody Jett on Instagram for more.

Adam Peterman's running menu.

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