Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Preparing for 100 miles

It seems like 100-milers are the new marathon. Seriously! I have three or four Daily Mile or Twitter friends recently announce they are doing their first 100-miler. And, half of them talk about "training." Of course, whenever I said I was running a 100-miler last summer, most responses from non-ultrarunners were "How do you train for that?" My response was "you don't." You don't find 100M training plans out there... why? Because, if you're gonna run 100 miles, you know what's best for your body; you don't need someone telling you what workouts to do. 

 From June to September, I just ran a lot. There are no 100-mile training calendars because it's not about following a schedule. It's about building endurance and listening to your body so that you don't break. It's about running all night until you want to cry because you’re so tired and still standing up at that aid station to make it to the next one.

As I look forward to my second 100-miler, I thought it'd be nice to go over my Grindstone training, starting from June 5th, my first 50 miler. You'll see that many of my runs were with my running group (WUS), I went hashing, I did VHTRC races--which are a big party, and did a lot of hiking as part of back-to-back weekends. Running took over many aspects of my life. 

The key to preparing for a 100M race is getting advice, leaning what works for you strategically on race day, nutrition, and getting the long run in almost every to every other weekend. I did several runs over 26 miles long.

I had two, minor injuries that were not running related. I rolled my ankle in while I was running drunk at hashing (I sound lame) and I fell in the bathtub and hurt my back (I sound even lamer). Otherwise, I really listened to my body and only ran when I wanted to and when my body felt up to it. This kept running fun and me injured-free!

I did a good bit of strength training, mostly mountain-man reps, core, and hip workouts.

I spent 18 weeks preparing for Grindstone, with the first week my 50-mile qualifying race. You can see that I didn't run many miles; focused on the long run, recovering from that, and spending time on the trails.

Week 1:
Run 1: 2 miles
Run 2: 7.5 trail miles
Run 3: 50 trail miles - North Face Endurance Challenge
Total distance: 59.1 miles
Total time: 13:16
Week 2:
Run 1: 13.1 miles
Run 2: 4.5 miles
Total distance: 17.6
Total time: 2:57

Week 3:
Core workout (30 min)
Run 1: 10 trail miles - WUS run
Run 2:10 miles
Run 3: 13.5 miles
Run 4: 10 miles
Total distance: 43.5
Total time: 7:01

Week 4:
Strength training (1 hour)
Run 1:7 trail miles
Strength training (30 min)
Run 2: 9.5 miles - fartlek
Run 3: 4.2 miles - hashing **rolled ankle**
One hour doing exorcist stairs reps
Total distance: 22 miles
Total time: 6:07

Week 5:
Run 1:12.25 miles
Strength training (30 min)
Run 2: 6.27 miles
Run 3: hashing (3-5 miles)
Run 4: 25 trail miles
Total distance: 43.5
Total time: 9:34

Week 6:
Strength training (30 min)
Run 1:6.3 trail miles - WUS
Run 2:5 trail miles
Run 3:7 miles
Run 4: 32 trail miles - Skyline 50k
Hiking: 7 miles
Total distance: 55.42
Total time: 13:45

Week 7:
Strength training (30 min)
Run 1: 8.9 miles - WUS
Run 2: 3.73 miles
Run 3:4.78 miles - hashing
*moved this weekend with my parents visiting
Total distance: 17.41
Total time: 3:36

Week 8: 
Run 1: 8.94 trail miles
Run 2:7.5 trail miles - WUS
Run 3: 6.72 trail miles
Run 4:31.05 trail miles - Catherine's FA 50k
Hiking: 9 miles
Total distance: 63.25
Total time:18:11

Week 9:
Strength training (30 min)
Run 1: 8.4 trail miles - WUS
Run 2: 7.1 trail miles
Run 3: 3.1 miles - Battle for Ballston 5k
Run 4:26.2 miles - my solo effort towpath marathon
Total distance: 44.8
Total time: 8:54

Week 10:
Run 1: 6.35 trail miles - WUS
Run 2: 4.1
Run 3: 30 miles
Total distance: 40.45

Week 11:
Run 1: 6.35 trail miles - WUS run
Run 2: 7.74 trail miles
Run 3: 3.5 miles
Total distance: 18.6
Total time: 3:56

Week 12:
Run 1: 3.5 miles
Run 2: 3.73 miles
Run 3: 7.78 trail miles
Run 4: 6.43 trail miles
Run 5: 27.5 trail miles
Total distance: 48.93
Total time: 10:51

Week 13:
Run 1: 6.5 trail miles - WUS
Run 2: 9 trail miles
Run 3: 6 trail miles
Hiking 13 miles
Hiking: 13 miles
Total distance: 45.44
Total time:15:58

Week 14:
Run 1: 8.3 trail miles
Run 2: 13.5 trail miles - WUS
Run 3: 7.68 trail miles
Run 4: 4.18 miles
Run 5: 38 trail miles - The Ring
Total distance: 72 miles
Total time:17:17

Week 15: 33 miles, 6:49
Week 16: 32 miles, 6:26
Week 17, 28 miles, 5:55

Race week:
Run 1: 3 miles
Run 2: 4 miles
Race: 101.87 miles, 32:06


  1. I completely agree! I had people questioning my sanity when I was only running 70-80 mpw before Leadville a few years ago. I know I have to be a low mileage runner to stay injury free so I did what I had to in order to feel confident. It's good seeing other people have success with a training plan similar to mine! Nice work

  2. It's interesting to look back at the training you did for this type of race - I think your head is so in the right place about it! The long run & recovery. Tons of luck as you head into the next training cycle.

  3. Good record keeping - interesting to see what you did. You had such a great 100 mile debut, no reason to change what worked, just tweak any minor things.
    You're gonna kick butt at MMT!