Ultra Runners

North Coast 24 (Read 1194 times)

    After a pretty long layoff I finally got back the itch. Started running about 5 years ago. Did 10 marathons (slowly) mostly under-prepared,got burned out and otherwise distracted, and havent run much on the last couple of years.


    Running this has me highly motivated. Its close to family, and my brother in law is running it and I can be supported by the NERC on race day. When I decided to run my first marathon I couldnt run a mile. I made it through the marathon 4 months later..running all but about 3 miles of it. Not a big accomplishment with the world class talent in here..but with similar focus I think I can do well in this event.


    Im doing the Flying Pig in May and now plan on treating this solely as a training run. I am re-working my training plan to focus on the 24 hour run. The Pig will just be a supported training run and I will not have a goal other than finishing fresh.


    I'd welcome thoughts on how quickly I should get in the long runs, and how long I should be running for these runs. my initial thought is I should be working to get in long runs back to back on the weekends fairly soon. Not really sure how far I should be pushing on these and how early. My weekday schedule is such that I have a tough time getting runs of any decent distance in..unless its late at night. During the week when I wanted larger mile days, I would do 3-4 miles at lunch and then 6+ in the evening. I could also get up uber early if need be. But with an 18 month old and newborn on the way in April, that will be a bit tough.

      I think more information about your goals would help folks provide some better advice, i.e.,


      How much of the 24 hours do you want to run, i.e. 6 hours, 12 hours, 20 hours?

      Do you have a mileage goal for the event?

      Do you have any other training limitations, i.e. can't run for more than 3 hours on weekend?

        Ideally, Id like to run the full 24 hours with minimal breaks. So probably  20 + hours on the course.


        I would really like to reach 100 miles.


        My training limitations are TBD. Before the baby is due I can easily get out for a few hours in the evening (Ive done most runs at night in the past) and can get out for 4+ hours probably one weekend morning. Im thinking maybe piggybacking long Saturday night runs with long Sunday morning runs.


        In April, I'll need to be real flexible depending on how the new baby is doing. I'll have no problem with getting in large mileage..but getting away for 4-6 hours at a time for my long runs may prove a logistical challenge. I may get a treadmill at that point.


        I know that being almost completely untrained I can do a flat marathon in a little over  5 hours. I figure Id be able to walk an average of 2 miles an hour beyond that for say 15 of the remaining 19 hours. I think if I went out today I could probably do 50 miles in a 24 hour period. Maybe thats too conservative (or maybe too aggressive). I dont really have the experience to gauge.


        Would it be a good idea to carve out an 8 or 12 hour window early on in my training to get a better handle on what I might be able to expect and what I need to do to get to my goal?


          I will share my training philosophy


          Think marathon training - but with only 1 speed workout per week.  Lots of miles.  I tend to not be on the back to back long day bandwagon.  I prefer to run a long run and then receover to run another long run.  My 1st focused 24 hour I just did 1-30+ mile run and 1 40+ mile run evert 4-5 weeks and the rest was my normal marathon training (2 speed workouts per week).  for me 30+ was a 4-5 hour run and 40+ was a 5.5-7 hour run.  I see no reason to do anyhting lonnger than 8 hours.


          I also practice walking fast when I am tired.  Usually before bed I would go do a 30-60 minute walk at 4.5-5 MPH the last 4-6 weeks before the race.


          The 2nd time I focussed on the 24 - I ran a gazillion miles and lots of 30+ and 40+ a few 50+ mile runs - All it got me was 7 more miles than the 1st time.


          I also do core work - and some leg weights - The worst thing that can happen in a 24 is your knees start to go ... plenty of muscle power left - but the pain can be crippling - That happened in race #1, but not race #2.


          I tend to eat a lot in training runs to practice what I will have to do race day.  I have it down where I can consume @ 500 calories per hour and not get a sloshy stomache.  Plus I take S-Caps in trianing runs.


          Finally for me is weight. 

          210 = 123.57 miles

          205 = 147.48 miles (Marathon training + a 30 and 40 every 5 weeks

          195 = 154.48 miles - Ran a gazillions miles


          My ideal weight is 175-180 = ??? miles

          7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M



            Thanks DB..


            Shouldnt be a problem schedule-wise getting in the long runs with the frequency you suggest.


            I've been reading all the 24 hour race reports I can find to try and learn what i can about the experience. Seems that most often people that run into real issues do so because of a lack of proper race day nutrition.


            Weight wise, Im about 15 lbs above where Id like to be - Im at 190 now. 175 is ideal..I actually got down to 165 last year during my work;s biggest loser--that was too thin. Training will take care of the 15 lbs.


            Heading out in the morning and will get a good mileage bump this weekend. For the last two weeks I was just doing 3 miles a pop mostly at lunch to get back in the habit of running.


              electrolytes (Salt & Potassium) seem to be a bigger issue than food - next up would be improper pacing, then calorie consumption


              Most people that complain about a sour stomache and could not eat calories - Usually had any one of the above wrong that caused the stomache issue.

              7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M



                Cramping has always been an issue for me in the marathons. My thighs always get twitchy in the later stages. Sometimes Im able to work through it. When I was really cruising during my first Air Force Marathon--cramping halted me to a walk for the last 5 miles. After that I started taking more gels..with varied results.


                I'll give the S-Caps a try on my long runs.


                >>>>>> David

                  I don't have the experience or accomplishments of DB, but here are my thoughts:

                  1. Practice eating/drinking/etc.
                  In the one ultra I've done (North Coast 24 actually), this was the single thing I can point to and say "I screwed up big time". If you don't think you can handle eating early and often, start training for it in your long runs. If your stomach or brain aren't up to it, you can get stuck with a calorie deficiency and an electrolyte deficiency, forcing a very long break.

                  2. Total miles > long runs
                  I think your total training mileage is more important than how you break it up. I did get in the 40-50 mile long runs like DB, but they honestly didn't feel much different physically than my other runs I was doing every day. Now that I think about it, they may have been a good opportunity to practice eating and drinking that I didn't make good use of. That's not to say you shouldn't do them, as they are certainly important parts of many people's plans, but I think something even more important is...

                  3. Consistency
                  Try not to take long breaks with reduced mileage. Sure, if you feel an injury or sickness coming on that's important to take care of, but I found that getting my body out there and running a lot every day was the most beneficial thing I did. I count 57 days in a row with a run of 20 miles or longer, and doubles most of those days, in my training leading up to the race. I'm a grad student and not a parent, so that exact plan might not work for you, but let your body know it has to run every day and don't show it any signs of stopping.


                    The one point I wish we had scientific analysis = Total mileage vs long runs.  I ramble a bit below as I think though this point.  The rest I definately agreed with.


                    I am top 1% of mileage people and Chris is top .1%


                    But for the average Joe who maybe can run 2000-3000 miles a year, I think there would be more benefit to 4-7 hour runs.  They allow practice of eating and drinking and stress the Endocrin system.  I do believe when you are running 600-900+ miles in some months you are already putting a heavy load on the endocrin system.


                    So I would advocate at least 3-4 4 hour runs and 1 of 5-7 in a 3-4 month build up to a 24 hour race for most people.


                    I have no speed - But when I was training for marathons - I had run @ 600 miles in August 2006 before a September marathon - 2 weeks after the marathon I ran a 50 mile tougher trail race (1st 50) and I was more than prepared for the 50 just having done mileage with no runs > 22 miles ... so I completely understand Chris's point.


                    The trick with any training run - There comes a duration or a pace + duration that the run becomes counter productive.  This means that you are worse off for having run it.  You start to tear down muscle or it takes so long to recover from that you lose out on other improvements.


                    A good example for me was Saturday - I wanted 40+ miles.  I hit 29 and felt bad, I continued until 31 in case it was just a bad patch - by 31 it was obvious I could continue, but it was starting to tear me down, so I stopped.  I think it is ok to run another 1-2 miles after it becomes a struggle as this is putting a light stressor on the endocrin system.


                    I do wonder if I would run a 6 month build up with lots of miles (600-700 per month average) with no runs > 24 instead of doing frequent 4-6 hour runs, but with the same mileage, which one would produce greater results.


                    I do believe someone well trained for a marathon can be successful in a 24 hour race as long as they are patient in pacing, they take care of their eletrolytes, hydration and calories and are stubborn enough.


                    To Chris point - You need to be on the course moving for 24 hours to get to your best results - No extended down time - Relentless forward motion.   Even if all you can do is walk 3-4 miles an hour while you are fixing a food. hydration, electrolyte issue you can be very successful.

                    7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M



                      Lots of good stuff here..Thanks


                      I definitely want to get in a couple runs longer than marathon distance. Im a long way from attempting that though. I probably will cap my runs at 20 -24 miles prior to the Pig. I may schedule a couple of doubles with 20 mile run early and whatever in the evening. Im probably 2 months away from doing that.


                      In the past Ive done real well at moving from sitting on the couch to being able to get to easy 12-14 mile training runs. I havent focussed on the long runs in the past few years..and never really consistantly did more than 30ish miles a week. I think building the base miles will get me where I need to be to get the long runs in.


                      Right now Im working to gradually build up to 60 mile weeks. I should hit 45 this week, and will add 5 miles a week from there. After the Pig I will increase the weekly miles.

                        Anyone else here running this? I know Dopplebock may. Im not really sure what Im doing crew - wise I am signed up with NERC--Im just a little worried they will have a bunch of runners and dont want to get lost in the #s. I only know my B-I-L from that group. Im sure it would work out--but if there's 1 or 2 in this group and we can find a crew member or 2 I may prefer that. This is all new to me, so I may be overthinking it.


                        My buildup is going well. I should be close to 50 miles this week and Im (very) gradually building my long runs up. Just trying to bump my long runs about 2 miles per week for now. After my May 1 marathon I will work on getting in some 4-6 hour training runs.


                          I am not sure about crew - If I am there running - My wife will crew me, but she will also help 2 other people if they show up.  I would be primary - Others seconday - She would be able to do a few things for someone else, but not oure good crewing.


                          If I am there and not running - I would crew for 2 people primarly if they show up - Plus Roy & Phil will likely expect some help (Team mates) - I would be able to help a little.


                          If the 2 people do not show up ???? who knows.


                          I know I wrote a bunch of nothing, but ... that is what I know right now.


                          A lot of poeple go crewless - Not really a huge deal with how this race is set up.


                          More to come as the race gets closer ... 



                          Anyone else here running this? I know Dopplebock may. Im not really sure what Im doing crew - wise I am signed up with NERC--Im just a little worried they will have a bunch of runners and dont want to get lost in the #s. I only know my B-I-L from that group. Im sure it would work out--but if there's 1 or 2 in this group and we can find a crew member or 2 I may prefer that. This is all new to me, so I may be overthinking it.


                          My buildup is going well. I should be close to 50 miles this week and Im (very) gradually building my long runs up. Just trying to bump my long runs about 2 miles per week for now. After my May 1 marathon I will work on getting in some 4-6 hour training runs.

                          7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M



                          Demon of Bad Decisions

                            I am 100000 percent there.

                            I want to do it because I want to do it.  -Amelia Earhart

                              look forward to meeting you both at North Coast..


                              Like I said I will at least be covered by NERC as far as tent and a place to keep my stuff. Im just not sure how many volunteers they will have for their 10+ runners. Im sure they will have adequate support since they are local.


                              I'm sure I'll have a bunch of questions leading up to the race.

                                Good luck, Murphy, with your endeavor. The venue is ideal for running farther than ever before. Not much gear to schlep and you can concentrate on the forward progress. The wind/weather conditions off Lake Erie is the x-factor.


                                The terrific 24-hour runners above dispensed great training advice. One thing I'd add is to run every so often when tired or at your normal bedtime. I don't know if you can train circadian rhythm but you can practice moving forward when your body normally wants to sleep. I'm no expert, but it's worked for me.


                                I don't have 24-hour loop course experience but I have been to the NC24 each of last two years to watch/help. I've also paced overnight at 100-milers several times. I was struck at the difference between pacing/crewing at a 100-mile versus crewing at a 24-hour. Because NC is the USATF championship, runners are not allowed a pacer or companion runner. When crewing at NC24, you get to see runners come by every 7 to 20 minutes, give or take. And it seemed as if there's only a 2-second interchange every loop. It's hard to connect with the runner compared to when pacing at a 100-mile. You want them to keep moving forward with minimal stops. Contrast to pacing at a 100-mile, there's no disconnect.


                                Just an observation of mine. Indeed, 24-hour crews are very helpful as well as very unselfish. It's not easy.