I'm planning to race my first 24 hour race in June (FANS). My goal for the race is simply to make it to 100 miles and to still be going by the end. Looking for advice on if my plan/training seems way off, and if my goal is too hard (or too easy).
The course is a ~2 mile loop and I think my strategy is going to be to eat a gel a minute or two before the aid station, then walk through the aid station as I drink water and eat whatever looks good, then start back up running.
I have run quite a few ~4 hour training runs over the past several months but nothing much longer than that. For the last couple long runs I have mapped out a 2 mile loop near my house and just run loops of it trying to simulate the race. I find that I walk for about 45s each loop and 8:30-9:00 mile pace is about as slow as I can go. After 4+ hours of this I have not been sick of gels and have felt fine for the most part, like I could continue much longer. I live in Wisconsin so dealing with the conditions (poor footing, brutal cold) have been a bigger issue than actually running or nutrition.
I have a 100k in April that I will use as a training run but that will be my only recent run much longer than 4 hours. Outside of the long runs my mileage has been pretty high for me (300+ in December, January, February, and on pace for this in March). For the 100k my goal is to simply feel good at the end, even if it means walking more and running significantly slower in between walk breaks.
I have a long running history - 30,000 miles over the last 16+ years, 25+ marathons, a 50k and a 100k.
It scares me a bit to use gels as the only planned calories and everything else "ad Hoc" - I find a little planned solid food (For me a turkey and Cheese Sandwhich) or PB&J is good too. This come from the man that ate 25 gels in under 8 hours in his 1st 50 miler.
So my advice in training is this - Pick a few other backup foods and try them in training also - These backup foods will not be sweet.
Food at Fans will depend a little on the temperatures: They have some foods out all the time and some foods they bring out at certain times. Chips, pretzels, licorice, bananas, M&Ms, coke, diet coke, Mt dew, water, gatoraide, salted nut rolls and other candy type stuff are out all the time. Fruit (Watermellon), pizza, soups, yougurt, popsicles (If hot) and other various things come out at certain times. I have alway brought 100% of my food I planned to eat, only to be 100% in control.
Are you crewless or crewed?
I did FANS 3 time at the old location, also volunteered twice. I crewed last year at the new location ... So I only made 2 laps on the new course. But just as important as nutrition is your pacing strategy. If your goal is 100 ... then you should start ultra conservative = effortless. You should pick a spot each lap to walk - If I remember the new course right - there is a little hill (Maybe 10 verticle feet) at a corner and the trail becomes gravel, then it goes slightly uphill the next 100 or so feet, this would be a great place to walk every lap.
Training - If you are going to plan on walking, you should practice walking. What I did was the last 2 months before the race, I would walk at night before bed - 2-4 miles at a very fast pace. I do not walk this fast in the race - But the faster you become efficient at walking the easier it is to walk a little slower than that pace.
I am worried about your statement 8:30-9:00 pace is as slow as you can you. My best FANS24. I had to let 80% of the racers go away from me on lap #1 because they were going faster than my "effortless pace" (I had run a 2:47 marathon 3 weeks earlier at 95% effort). For me this pace 8:45-9:15. Because I started that slow, I was able to run @ 7:30 50 miles, 15:15 100 miles and 147 total miles. My knees went south just over 100 miles, I stayed out the whole time and did not stop, but that is why my pace dropped the last 1/3 of the race.
There are basically 2 ways to do well at the 24: Run faster earlier and suffer incredibly the last 12 hours or an even pace = run effortless pace the 1st 12 hours that gets progressively harder the second 12 hours.
There is mainly 1 way to pace yourself to failure: Run faster early and not be willing to suffer incredibly and drop out at 14-15 hours, fally short of your goal.
I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock
Thanks, this is good advice. I am planning on being crewless - though I have a friend who may be able to crew for me. I like the idea of practicing walking fast - hadn't thought of that. I agree I need to find different foods but I've struggled with anything in previous training cycles. Gels have worked great and I haven't been hungry for anything else. My last few long runs are the first time I have tried exclusively gels.
8:30-9:00 pace has been effortless - On my long runs I have tried to run as slow as possible without looking at pace and it just ends up this pace. I am concerned this is too fast as this would be 150+ miles for 24 hours which doesn't seem realistic. I ran a 2:43 marathon last October so this does seem really slow to me.
If you are a 2:43 marathoner, 150 miles is not outside the realm of possibility, but would be a major accomplishment, especially for your first 24. Don't be afraid to walk early, if you can't run comfortably slower than 9:00. You can dial the loops up or down to desired pace by walking a little more or a little less; that's often easier than just trying to speed up or slow down. Later in the race, you will find that the definition of "easy pace" has changed. :-)
100 miles is probably too easy a goal. But the 100K should clear things up for you a lot. Good luck!
I'm a ~3:00 marathoner, and when I finally am able to schedule a 24-hour, I am thinking 120-130. I do have a few 100s and 12-hours under my belt, though.
I have no experience with either 24 hour races or finishing 100 milers, but I would agree that pacing is going to be one of the biggest factors in your success. Also, It's not clear what kind of training strategy you have other than the weekend long run, but you may want to consider a midweek long run as well. Only other question would be why you are running so slow for most of your easy runs. I would think a 2:39 marathoner would be running closer to 7:00 flat or under for easy runs...
You'll ruin your knees!
Something that worked for me many times...
"remember to walk early and to run late"...
Best of luck.
""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)
I am planning to walk during every lap and have been practicing that on my weekend long runs. For other training it has just been easy runs, 70+ miles/week, with a couple weeks up to 100/week. I run to/from work every day so I do a lot of individual runs. I may run 20 miles in one day over 2-3 runs.
My easy pace is usually around 7:30 to 7:40, but this winter has been brutal so the last 3 months my easy runs are over snow/ice, which means I run a minute or more slower per mile. I've always run pretty slow for easy runs though. In marathon training I will do 1-2 workouts per week - this is the time for me to run fast in training.
I'm planning 6 hours this weekend and then the 100k three weeks later in about 10 hours. These will be practice for the 24, not seeing how fast I can go.
Doing my first 24 in a couple weeks. Have no experience over 50mi. Was going to post to ask about taper.
Did just find & read this: http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/2011/09/taper-for-24-hour-race.html
I kind of want to keep cramming, but think that may not really make sense.
The "practice walking" advice is interesting.
It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.