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100-Miler questions (Read 82 times)

FTYC


Faster Than Your Couch!

    I am considering registering for a 100-miler in early October (Oil Creek 100), but I am not sure if I'm ready.

     

    So I have some questions for our experienced 100-mile pros:

     

    - How many miles per week for what period did you run before your first 100 (is this different from the next 100-milers)?

    Recommendations?

     

    - In how much pain (physically, from "overuse" or from the exhaustion) were you after the run, and how long did it take to recover from that?

     

    - What is more challenging, the distance (physical exhaustion), or the mental barrier? (and what, specifically, was your greatest mental obstacle?)

     

    - How much night running before the race do you recommend? Weekly? How long, when in the night?

    I'm a scaredycat, should I run with a buddy at night (I have done some night runs alone, and at some point, there was always that irrational fear of everything, and the only thing saving me was the thought of DH being somewhere waiting for me within an hour or so)? How do you cope with that in training?

     

    - Is warm food better in the night, or just the same ol' stuff that you take during the day?

     

    I am sure I'll have at least 95 more questions (which makes it 100, one for each mile run), but for now, I appreciate every input and experience.

    Run for fun.

    XtremeTaper


      Hey Couch... looking forward to your next 95 questions. I am only a 2 time 100 mile finisher so my experience is limited.

       

      - How many miles per week for what period did you run before your first 100 (is this different from the next 100-milers)?

      Recommendations?

       

      I was running 60-90 mpw during training with the occasional cutback week. Back then 45-55 was a cutback for me. I had been running this mileage for a few years I suppose.

       

       

      - In how much pain (physically, from "overuse" or from the exhaustion) were you after the run, and how long did it take to recover from that?

       

      My biggest issue was sore blistered feet. Sure, for a day or two or three afterwards I was sore all over but it wasn't awful. The following weekend I went out for a short run.

       

      - What is more challenging, the distance (physical exhaustion), or the mental barrier? (and what, specifically, was your greatest mental obstacle?)

       

      I was pretty confident in my ability and fitness before the race so mentally I felt pretty strong. Despite raging thunderstorms and blistered feet I kept trudging along. I think my biggest issue was nighttime running and vision. I am very near sighted and with rain and fog really had trouble seeing the trail and rocks at night. I just sort of stumbled along until the sun came up.

       

       

      - How much night running before the race do you recommend? Weekly? How long, when in the night?

      I'm a scaredycat, should I run with a buddy at night (I have done some night runs alone, and at some point, there was always that irrational fear of everything, and the only thing saving me was the thought of DH being somewhere waiting for me within an hour or so)? How do you cope with that in training?

       

      I didn't do enough night running in training but am not sure how much to recommend. Seeing many of the trails around here do not encourage night use I doubt if I would do more. I'd do 3-4 runs, starting at twilight and running into the darkness. Never completely overnight. Saved that sort of fun for the actual race.

       

      - Is warm food better in the night, or just the same ol' stuff that you take during the day?

       

      I start craving warm/real food earlier in the race than nighttime. Soups and such are extra good at night though.

      Life is uncertain. Don't sip.

        - How many miles per week for what period did you run before your first 100 (is this different from the next 100-milers)?

        Recommendations?

        I averaged about 45-50 mpw for three years before my first 100, although I ran a high of about 75-80 three weeks before.  Same thing for my second, although I think my highest mileage week beforehand was about 70.

         

        - In how much pain (physically, from "overuse" or from the exhaustion) were you after the run, and how long did it take to recover from that?

        I fortunately didn't feel any injury pain from either of my 100s, it was mostly intense exhaustion/muscle soreness.  But hell -- I feel that after a marathon or 50K!  After taking a nap it was definitely tough to walk across the room (needed to hold on to the bed/wall/whatever was available just go get to where I wanted to go).  But again, I didn't feel it was injury pain.

         

        - What is more challenging, the distance (physical exhaustion), or the mental barrier? (and what, specifically, was your greatest mental obstacle?)

        Before my first it was knowing that I'd experience several low points -- I just didn't know what would cause them.  But I actually had a very good experience during my first; perhaps TOO good.  It was the DNF at mile 90 during my second attempt where I learned a lot.  Basically, I didn't give myself enough time to physically and mentally recover.  (Ran my first 100 in mid November, then entered my second in early February).  Training over the holidays also sucked.  During my second 100 (where I actually finished), my biggest challenge was falling asleep while running.  All I wanted to do was curl up on the side of the trail, but fortunately my husband (and pacer) kept me going until the aid station where I took a 10-minute nap.  Surprising how much that revived me!

         

        - How much night running before the race do you recommend? Weekly? How long, when in the night?

        I'm a scaredycat, should I run with a buddy at night (I have done some night runs alone, and at some point, there was always that irrational fear of everything, and the only thing saving me was the thought of DH being somewhere waiting for me within an hour or so)? How do you cope with that in training?

        I only ran 7 miles at night before my first, which was sufficient given the course (Javelina Jundred) isn't particularly technical and it's loops.  (Hubby ran with me).  For my second (Rocky Raccoon) I ran a 50K race in January that starts at 3:30 p.m., but much of it is run in the dark.  For my next 100 -- Cascade Crest -- I'll probably do even more night running, especially on technical single track.  I'll most likely get hubby and/or friends to join me.

         

        - Is warm food better in the night, or just the same ol' stuff that you take during the day?

        I'm fortunate in that I an stomach most anything, so the warm soup, bacon and quesadillas they brought out at night were incredibly delicious.  Don't underestimate the power of plain hot chicken broth!

         

        I am sure I'll have at least 95 more questions (which makes it 100, one for each mile run), but for now, I appreciate every input and experience.

        Upcoming races: 10/12 Victoria Marathon, 12/7 Tucson Marathon, 12/13 Deception Pass 50K, 3/27-28 Umstead 100


        Uh oh... now what?

          I am considering registering for a 100-miler in early October (Oil Creek 100), but I am not sure if I'm ready.

           

          Ready to register or ready to run? Afraid of a little committment? Want to just go through life fantacizing? You won't know if you are ready until about ninety miles in. Even then something mght happen (I added a quarter mile at about ninety-nine miles down at Leadville). It is the retrospect that is fun. The getting "ready" is a series of adventures and suspense points.

           

          So I have some questions for our experienced 100-mile pros:

           

          Oops.. I won a $25 gift certificate at a 50k, but, so far, nothing at 100 miles.

          - How many miles per week for what period did you run before your first 100 (is this different from the next 100-milers)?
          Recommendations?

           

          I still have the chart... wanna copy? I rarely got above 65 miles per week. I did 16 40-45 mile weekends during the 21 weeks (ending two weeks before) going into Leadville.  I followed a similar pattern the following year (LT100 again) and for Cascade Crest two years later. Both were DNFs, but for widely different reasons.  Recommendations... stay within yourself.  Don't fall for "the other person did it, so must I" idea.  When we were young and racing---Kathy stayed around the 100-mile week mark, I seldom went past sixty-five.


          - In how much pain (physically, from "overuse" or from the exhaustion) were you after the run, and how long did it take to recover from that?

           

          I was not in pain. We did some shuffle/jog things on the drive home from Colorado (five-day trip). I think I did a PR 8k thingie about three weeks afterwards. Pain comes from the distance, or effort at that distance, you are not trained for. The three "memorable" runs I had (course record or overall first) had no pain--they were well-trained-for events.

          - What is more challenging, the distance (physical exhaustion), or the mental barrier? (and what, specifically, was your greatest mental obstacle?)

           

          The mental barrier. I went in thinking sub24-hour, knowing the voices inside did not believe that and the fear overtook the confidence about thirty miles in. It took twenty miles to regroup, accept the defeat (no sub24) and continue. (I did finish).

          - How much night running before the race do you recommend? Weekly? How long, when in the night?
          I'm a scaredycat, should I run with a buddy at night (I have done some night runs alone, and at some point, there was always that irrational fear of everything, and the only thing saving me was the thought of DH being somewhere waiting for me within an hour or so)? How do you cope with that in training?

           

          I did a two- to three-hour night run on Wednesdays for about eighteen weeks. I sometimes started the long run so I would get home well after dark. The transition into darkness seemed a good tool (mental transition).

           

          I cheated on the 'scaring myself silly' thing. I was coaching two women for their first hundred and we did the Wednesday night runs together. I used to use forestry roads for solo night runs because I knew there were things that go bump in the night on the trails. (One of my columns was a wonderful night run... hint hint.)

           

          - Is warm food better in the night, or just the same ol' stuff that you take during the day?

           

          The potato soup at two o'dark in the morning was great, but so were the brownies and milk. I also like hot broth on cool days. This is a personal thing. I used several long runs purely to experiment with foods. Crunchy gives way to soft, warm to cold to hot... salty to sweet. Double cheeseburger with 55 miles behind you can be just what is needed, then again, maybe not.  Experiment with food and drinks.

           

          *****hugs are good***** *****hugs and familiar voices in the night are true gifts for the soul, heart, body, and mind*****

          I am sure I'll have at least 95 more questions (which makes it 100, one for each mile run), but for now, I appreciate every input and experience.

           

          The first DNF at Cascade Crest should have been a DNS--the closest I have ever come to admitting that many things were wrong.  I, like many others, believed in the miracle cure capability of the starting line.  There is a lot of value to a DNF if you understand the lessons and not just the emotional turmoil of not finishing.

          FTYC


          Faster Than Your Couch!

            Thank you for all your responses, they help a lot.

             

            I am afraid of the commitment, and of having to justify it to my extended family (recently, I've heard comments like: "Run less, work more!", etc., which makes it hard for me to stay motivated). DH often gives away my plans, just because he is so proud of my running. Undecided

             

            I'll definitely need to ramp up the mileage, and I think the 6 months left would be enough to "get ready" physically. I have a good base, just need more very long runs on very technical terrain, like 35-50 miles every now and then to try out different things and gather more experience with the challenges of distance running (I have run 1 difficult 50k, and two fairly easy 50M races, and a difficult 50k coming up in April - Oil Creek seems to be comparable to the "difficult" 50k rather than the "easy" 50-milers).

            Run for fun.


            Uh oh... now what?

              For the folks that have a life, real or imagined:

               

              "The Low Key Approach to a Trail 100-Mile", Jeff Hagen, UltraRunning, March, 1987

               

              available via e-mail

              Daydreamer1


                I am afraid of the commitment, and of having to justify it to my extended family (recently, I've heard comments like: "Run less, work more!", etc., which makes it hard for me to stay motivated). DH often gives away my plans, just because he is so proud of my running. Undecided

                 

                I'm kind of in the same boat with the commitment thing. I don't think that a 100 miler is in the cards for me for this year simply because I have yet to do even a 50k. I'm trying to figure out if I can commit to the training for a 100k and I decided to go ahead and sign up, that way the fear of failure will push me.

                 

                As for the "Run less, work more"  attitude, I understand that as well. I'm trying to work my way through school to redirect my career. The prevailing attitude among some people is that I should place the running on the back burner and just work and study. The problem with that is that by the time I'm done with school I'll be 50 years old. I realize that I have a limited amount of time to accomplish a long list of goals and If I stop running for several years I'll die without having accomplished most of them. For me I've spent a lot of time working long, hard hours and I'm starting to realize that there is more to life then just work. Of course some times we do have to put work first to pay the bills.

                4/20/13 Hyner 50k

                9/28/13 Bald Eagle Megatransect (Marathon)

                Gumby66


                  - How many miles per week for what period did you run before your first 100 (is this different from the next 100-milers)?

                  Recommendations?

                   

                  I'd recommend a 50 mile a week base for a few years first. I topped out around 70 for my first and felt it wasn't enough, got up to 90 for my next

                   

                  - In how much pain (physically, from "overuse" or from the exhaustion) were you after the run, and how long did it take to recover from that?

                   

                  Plenty. I went to bed after but just laid there and moaned, too much pain to sleep. It took a few days to walk normal and a week before I felt like running. After my last race I looked in the mirror and saw a crack whore looking back at me. take a look at Larry Gassan's finisher's photos, the ones that are smiling did not run hard enough Smile

                   

                  http://www.fotovisura.com/user/larrygassan/view/100-mile-runners-at-the-finish

                   

                  - What is more challenging, the distance (physical exhaustion), or the mental barrier? (and what, specifically, was your greatest mental obstacle?)

                   

                  Good question. In some way's they are really hard to tease apart, is it really physical exhaustion or more mental fatigue? Recovering from a mental lowpoint in a race takes more effort than you'd guess. Breaking the chain of self defeating mental chatter when you get down is the biggest obstacle

                   

                  - How much night running before the race do you recommend? Weekly? How long, when in the night?

                   

                  More than I did for my last! I only did a few hours and paid for it. I kept gettting turned around and got very discouraged. The importance of course depends on the course and how well marked it is, on a loop course, not such a big deal, point to point, very big deal. Any time at night is good but I like starting at 2 or 3 and running till dawn. No, not weekly I don't think but at least a half dozen times and long.

                   

                  I'm a scaredycat, should I run with a buddy at night (I have done some night runs alone, and at some point, there was always that irrational fear of everything, and the only thing saving me was the thought of DH being somewhere waiting for me within an hour or so)? How do you cope with that in training?

                   

                  Try watching a horror movie, especially one where the victim is getting chased through the woods at night. Seriously, it is just a fear you have to face and conquer unless you are going to run with a pacer in the race. The fear will definitely keep you awake.

                   

                  - Is warm food better in the night, or just the same ol' stuff that you take during the day?


                  I did have a cup of coffee  at 2 am one race that was pretty heavenly. But generally I stick with what I know, I don't want to risk a stomach rebellion

                    I think the following are important ahead of the first 100 (km or mile):

                    1. Experience the "low point" at least a few times.  This is where you are feeling significant discomfort (not necessarily pain) as well as deep fatigue, which makes for the strong urge to quit, because ultrarunning is so stupid.  Yet, you find that you can still maintain a reasonable pace: your ultramarathon pace.  A 50K may or may not be sufficient to induce this state, which is why most people suggest the 50 miler stepping stone.  However, give yourself at least 8 weeks for recovery between the last 50 and the 100; 3 months would be better.
                    2. Channel your OCD towards course-specific preparation.  Read all of the race reports.  Do long runs in conditions that will mimic race day.  Do long runs on the course if possible. 
                    3. Formulate a goal and pacing plan based on research and data from #2.  Most people have three goals: the best realistically possible time, a decent time relative to capability, or finishing within the cutoff

                    For your other specific questions, 30 miles/week is about the barest minimum while 50 MPW is typical; you will be sore all over for about 48 hours; a few long runs at night could help (stay up late and start after midnight); eat whatever you are craving -- if you try to stick to 1 or 2 things, it is a guarantee that you will be sick of them (even physically ill!) by hour 20.

                    2013 H1:  7 hours/week base.  Q3: Train for goal race.  Q4:  Goal Race.

                    FTYC


                    Faster Than Your Couch!

                      John: Sounds interesting, I'll PM you for the e-mail address.

                       

                      DD1: I hope to get that motivational push if I sign up. Somehow my mind is convinced right now that I can't even do the 50k that's coming up, despite having had some great training runs. Those little voices deep down are nasty sometimes!

                       

                      Gumby: I have a good base (35-65 MPW for more than a year, and I've been running for most of my life pretty consistently). I think this is also the reason why I could build up so quickly for my 50-milers despite all the health turmoil I had in the 5 months before the races. I had been in great shape for the 50k in April, then had pneumonia and pleurisy, barely gotten out of the worst when I had bronchitis, and took 10 weeks to recover. Then I had surgery in August. I built up for the 50M only in the second half of August and September (way later than planned), the race was mid-October, and it went very well. My second 50-miler was 4 weeks after the first, which may have been a bit too soon. I had recovered, but not run a significant mileage since the first 50M. I wouldn't do that for a 100-miler. Still that race went well, too, although I experienced some fatigue after 35 miles.

                      Two weeks after that, I ran a PR in a (road) HM.

                      I've been running decently this winter, so the base should be there. But I definitely need to catch up on the long (30+ miles) runs, and the night running on trails.

                       

                      seilerts: I have gone through some physical and mental fatigue in the 50-mile races, but I expect it to be much worse in a 100-miler. In the 50-milers, I recovered each time, which was a good and valuable experience. I think the worst was the later stages of my second 50-miler, when I started to get bored, exhausted, and was questioning why I even did that to myself, LOL. Still I think the prospect of night running in a 100-miler would keep me more alert and in better spirits, at least for a while. Physically, I've experienced some major discomfort, but I still would expect much more on a 100-miler, especially in terms of cramping and nausea.

                       

                      It won't be easy to train on the course (it's a long drive away), but I could probably run some sections of it 2 or 3 times before the race. And my usual trails are pretty similar to what I expect for the race course, so it should prepare me fairly well.

                       

                      A big challenge for me is pacing. I tend to run by effort and wing it rather than run by a specific plan. That could be my downfall in a 100-miler, I suppose?

                      In my 50-milers, my strength was definitely to be able to keep up a nice pace even in the late stages, and to be able to motivate myself to run even when I absolutely did not want to any more.

                      My goal is to finish within the cutoff, and I think I can do that. The cutoff is 32 hours, and I expect to finish anywhere within 26 to 30 hours (a guesstimate from my 50-milers and 50k, race reports and comparison with runners who have run it, without having seen the course myself).

                      Run for fun.

                        FTYC: I saw your comment about headlamps in the dailies and wanted to mention I typically wear a headlamp for broad illumination (mine's a Petzl Myo RXP (140 lumens) as well as carry a small handheld for spot illumination (cheapie 3-pack from Costco).  At Rocky a friend carried another Costco one that was heavier but offered something like 400 lumens!  She said it lit up the entire trail, but it was rather heavy.

                        Upcoming races: 10/12 Victoria Marathon, 12/7 Tucson Marathon, 12/13 Deception Pass 50K, 3/27-28 Umstead 100


                        Le professeur de trail

                          So I really have no reason to offer any constructive feedback on 100 mile training so I have no clue what it takes but I wanted to stop in and say a couple things.  FIrst is you can do this if you realy want to.  Your running base is your biggest running asset.  Years of running plus the trails you normally do are just gnarly.  Most people on here don't know that even with your own descriptions.  You have technical trails, lots of hills to ascend and descend.  Your biggest hurdle will simply be your own self doubt.  Your DH seems to be supportive so that is a huge plus.  You can figure a way to get in the long runs.  You may not really need to get any runs in on the actual course.  I don't know it personally but I do not think it's as technical as your trails.  (But I could be wrong on that).  You doubted yourself for your 50 milers (well mainly the first) and you killed both of them.  Why? Because you have a great base.

                           

                          So you have less than a week until OC registration opens.  Last year the 100 miler did not fill in the first day (the 50k and 100k did) but this race is becoming more popular so you cannot rely on that.  Committing to it now might be what you need to keep disciplined.

                          The night running should be fine.  By the time you get to running in the dark at OC, you will have done the loop twice already.  That plus a pacer and you should be fine.

                           

                          So what's the verdict? What do you need to "pull the trigger"?

                           

                          I was seriously considering OC 100k for this year but my supposed recovery is not going great.  Although there is a lot of time until OC, for me not a solid decision.  So I will wait til next year (maybe).

                          FTYC


                          Faster Than Your Couch!

                            Thanks, EDRW and Jamie!

                             

                            A new headlight is on my wishlist, meanwhile I'll have to do with the old one plus a handheld light. I don't care much if it's heavy, can't be much worse than a second 22 oz. water bottle plus gels. I have never tried two lights, things were fine with just the headlight on the gravel roads I usually do in the night, but the rocky trails really require better depth illumination. And 140, or even 400 lumens, that sounds almost brighter than daylight to me (coming from the 43 or less lumens corner, which barely beats the half moon on a cloudy night)!

                             

                            Jamie, are you available as a pacer? If so, let me know (there's still time, I'm just weighing my options at this point).

                            Take it slowly with the recovery. Craig Fleming, the RD of the Hyner, had a ruptured Achilles tendon two or three years ago, and it took him more than a year to recover, but now he's back, and fast! So give it time, and your legs/feet will eventually be fine again.

                            Run for fun.


                            Uh oh... now what?

                              ... I have never tried two lights, things were fine with just the headlight on the gravel roads I usually do in the night, but the rocky trails really require better depth illumination. And 140, or even 400 lumens, that sounds almost brighter than daylight to me (coming from the 43 or less lumens corner, which barely beats the half moon on a cloudy night)!

                               

                               

                              A second vote for one light (often the headlight) on easy stuff, then turn on the handheld when the footing gets more difficult.

                               

                              Last year I got a new headlight.  Old [eight years?] Petzl something to new Petzl something -- went from 46 lumens to 80 (bright setting).

                              I found that I hardly ever used the  bright setting.  The low brightness setting was a lot brighter than my old light.  Look for close-outs on The Clymb or REI-Outlet.  Even what isn't the bestest and brightest might be a huge improvement.


                              Le professeur de trail

                                 

                                Jamie, are you available as a pacer? If so, let me know (there's still time, I'm just weighing my options at this point).

                                Take it slowly with the recovery. Craig Fleming, the RD of the Hyner, had a ruptured Achilles tendon two or three years ago, and it took him more than a year to recover, but now he's back, and fast! So give it time, and your legs/feet will eventually be fine again.

                                 

                                Uh....ermmmm...hmmm.  Not sure why you would want a pacer that has 1.) never paced and 2.) never run a 100 miler.  But It sounds fascinating.  I will think about it.  Maybe talk to me at Hyner (or after Hyner)...I might have a better sense of how I am doing.   I do plan on slowly increasing my mileage and LRs so I can do something this fall....maybe Stone Mill again and maybe a couple 50ks ....so I should be in ok shape but of course the "injuries" just need to go away.  I knew Craig had a ruptured Achilles and that he came back from it.  That's good to hear things like that.  If only mine was a ruptured Achilles.  I have more of a mechanical/form issue that is just plain frustrating.  But I am working through it.  Anyways, let me sleep on it a few times and we can talk  at Hyner.  But if you have other options that work better for you, don't hesitate to pursue that.

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