I ran my tenth ultra on Saturday, and it was my longest - 101km. I had run 2 50's and a recent 44 miler, but other than that it's been some 50k's.
The course was very rocky and the rain made the rocks slimy. When there wasn't rocks there was mud - land where cattle roam and with decent rain it was like a swamp. Then there were a lot of water crossings and uphill/downhill climbs. I'm not complaining, just setting the scene, and you can multiply this scene by 20 hours.
I placed second in my 44 miler, but give me a technical trail and I definitely don't do as well. My running buddy was killing me on the technical stuff, and I was leaving her in my dust on any runable sections, and then a few more hours passed. It was interesting for me to watch the people in front of me as they scaled the rock decents and I skittishly took it easy, the result was that by the time I got down they were out of site and I had to catch up. I realized later on that I'm worried with my step down that my tired leg won't be able to support me, clearly this isn't anyone else's concern. I'm built like the others, have about the same level of body fat, put in the same mileage in training, including on technical trails.
The moral of my story is that it didn't deter me from my goal of a 100 miler in September, but I had a decent number of hours to appreciate that my throbbing knees and overall bi#ching body that regular strength training would have enabled me to run the course in less pain and much faster. I wasn't in any more discomfort at hour 18 than I was at hour 10, which is why I gutted it out and kept going, but another 38 hours wasn't going to be possible. I have mapped out the following:
Jump Squat, Explosive Step-up, Single Leg Squat, single leg lunge, ball squats, core with ball, dumbbell presses, side leg lifts, single leg bridges, situps, deadlifts
Is there something I'm missing? Any other lessons learned that you have?
You have to run / walk/ jog to your strengths and at your pace. Yes you should work on your hill decending ability, but even then bombing downhills may not be your strength. You might work up to cautious glide down the hills.
The 100 is all about patience and being smart.
I have to drive 30 minutes to find a hill, I try and get out once a week and I just run up and down for as long as my body can take it. I try and take it really easy on the up to get more downs. It more about grinding the hill then running the hill hard.
I am a weak hill runner. I am a very good glider over the flats.
Retired 1/1/13 ... Tired of being broken and fat ... New goal 12/29/15 - To be able to enjoy running 4-5 hours through the woods again in 2016.
Le professeur de trail
Stair climber 1-3 times per week 20-60 minutes. Not the wimpy little step machine that works the calf muscles but the ones where you actually have to step up. I can give long term benefits but after a few months I can notice the difference.
Sit against a wall to work on the quads - do a few sets daily and work your way up in time. This will help with the downhills.
Also strengthening exercises for the stabilizers (knees, hips and ankles). Balancing stuff works (standing on one leg, blanacing on a pillow or foam pad. Doesn't need to be drastic But just consistent.
The incarnation of peacefulness and patience
For the 100, do long training runs on the course if possible, including 1-2 at night. Exercises are no substitute for knowing which lines to take, where to push hard vs. take it easy, how the course will look in the dark, etc.
Follower of Forrest
I'm a big fan of mountain climbers (if you're still taking exercise suggestions).
6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi
A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man
thanks everyone, great advice from everyone!
One thing that didn't cross my mind DoppleBock is that I may just suck at it. I really assumed I just needed to get better over time and do some overall strengthening. Adding all those exercises to my list! It is interesting to do things like explosive stepups and burpies and find myself too weak to do them - ding ding ding
As for running on the terrain, it's often tricky logisically. The 101k was a 4 hour drive away. There isn't much close by in sunny KS. Minimally I should be paying better attention to the map, I used to do that, I seem more to be in the mode lately where I shove in as many ultras as I can, rather than doing it smartly.