Not running leads to more blog posts. So when I suffer, you the reader, benefit. I would have loved to write something on 'Racing a 100' but that can't happen because I didn't do that. What I can share, though, is the training I did in preparation for a 100. What follows is my thought process behind the most valuable components.
Really Valuable Things To Do
- Run on Tired Legs
- Specifically, back-to-back long runs. These don't need to be too frequent, but do it once or twice a month. The purpose is get used to simply moving on tired legs. Run four hours on a Saturday morning, run four hours on a Sunday morning.
- Mimic the terrain of the race you will be running, along with elevation per mile. Try to avoid a flat 25 mile training run in the city, if you're running a technical trail race where the corresponding elevation for that distance is 5,000 of elevation gain.
- Preferably in a 100K or a 50M. You need to execute a race plan, where you attempt to adhere to pace, nutrition, hydration, and electrolyte balance. Don't run a race to see what happens. Have a plan for what you will do. You'll learn what works and doesn't work. You'll adapt. Feel free to do other races & runs where you zone out and just run like a hippy (I do this a lot), but I think executing a race helps, especially when it comes to my next point.
- I find peace, joy, forgiveness, and relaxation through running long distances. If I'm worried about my training, race execution, or personal life, I don't experience those emotions. Do what it takes - either through training or taking stock of your life - to arrive at the starting line calm, cool, collected, and grateful for all you have. Fear is a tremendous waste of energy in life, and in running.
- Every three weeks, I like to reduce my mileage by at least 30% of my average. My long run still stays about the same, but my weekday runs are either super short, infrequent, or not intense at all (a slow jog). At the end of this week, the intent is to feel refreshed and ready to train hard again.
- Recovery also happens during high mileage weeks as well. Ice baths after long runs, or harder efforts. Rumble roller for massage work. Additional calories if the body feels fatigued. Stretching after runs, on occasion.
- I realized this early on in my swimming career. I do really well with a taper. Some people may not, but I do. I don't believe you can taper too much when running a 100M. Three weeks out I only ran 30+ miles, which included a 3 hour bike ride (butt got sore though), and a long run of 18 miles two Saturday's before the race. Two weeks out I ran about 30 miles with a long run of 8 miles one Saturday before the race. Race week was only a couple 3 mile runs. I was rested and ready to run on race-day.
Valuable Things to Do
- Run on a Empty Stomach
- Get up and do a long run with no breakfast. Carry minimal calories (100 an hour, tops), but bring fluids and electrolytes. Run for 4-5 hours. Take it slow. You'll feel like crap. But when you finish you'll be better for it, and know what it feels like to run without food.
- Get up, drive to Krispy Kreme, consume four (4) doughnuts. Feel sick? Good. Now eat a 5th. Immediately go run for 4-5 hours. Carry maximum calories, and force them down (300 an hour, minimum).
- Not drizzle. Not rain. Not showers. If the forecast calls for potential flooding, you're golden. If you can make this a long run, even better. I did a training run on Tiger Mountain and about 40K into it, the weather went from steady rain and drizzle (typical of Seattle), to torrential downpour (reminds me of an East Coast downpour in the summer) for the next 15K. This all happened as I was literally at the top of the mountain. I was soaking wet. I fell at least five times. I slid down embankments and got absolutely covered in mud on multiple occasions. Tourists hiding away under trees with rain-gear on and umbrellas out, stared at me, well, like you would stare at a weird running person covered in mud with a stupid smile on his face. POINT BEING IS THIS IS EXTREMELY FUN AND IT'S A VALUABLE TRAINING TOOL AS LONG AS YOU DON'T DIE.
- I think it makes sense to incorporate a pair of minimally cushioned shoes into your repertoire. Then, when you put on a pair of more cushioned shoes, your feet really appreciate the 'break' from less cushion. If you only train in highly cushioned shoes, your feet don't get any stronger. If you incorporate a minimally cushioned shoe, when you transition into a highly cushioned shoe for a 100M race, your feet maximize the benefit of the cushioning. My theory. Take it for what it's worth.
Other Free Tips
- Don't Worry So Much About Overall Mileage
- You have kids/family/girlfriend/dog/cats/goat/chickens? Great! Spend some time with that, don't worry so much about mileage. The 'valuable things to do' don't require 100 mile weeks.
- My normal diet consists of lots of veggies/fruit/nuts/grains with occasional meat/dairy. When I train or race, I try to eat food that I will eat during races or find at aid stations. So that's when I eat granola bars/cookies/sweets/soda.
- If you're not having fun you shouldn't be doing this. You're not saving the world, or really serving others, or making a living to support a family by doing this. You're running in the freaking woods/forests/mountains/cities. Don't be a jerk.
...and for your viewing enjoyment...