Ultra Runners


Pacing someone (Read 431 times)

    Hi All, I've done a couple of 50ks and a couple of 50 miles and I'm pacing my friend at Rocky in February.  Other than making sure I have extras of the things I would usually take over a 40 mile distance, do you have any lessons learned from pacing someone in their first 100 miler?

    Trail Monster

      It's more about anticipating needs and dealing with their emotional state than carrying the right things. Rocky is 20 mile loops correct? With aid stations at points around the loop? So you won't need to carry much. It's more going to be about not letting your runner collapse into a chair and decide not to get up. It's going to be convincing them they are fine when they worry about cutoffs in the dark (if your runner isn't faster). It's going to be cajoling them into taking food and water when they don't want to (and probably getting called some nasty names in the process). Not everyone suffers the emotional breakdowns but it seems to be more common than not so the biggest obstacle to a finish is usually the runner themselves. Your job is to get them out of their own way and make sure they eat, drink, and pee.

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      Altra Zero Drop

        Trail Runner Nation had a great podcast of pacing this past spring: http://trailrunnernation.com/2012/05/art-of-pacing/

        Upcoming races: 1/9 Bridle Trails 50K, 1/30 Lake Youngs Nuts Run 50K, 2/14 My Better Half, 3/5 Dupont Trail Marathon, 4/2 Umstead 100

          Here's a recent discussion.

          Crew/pacer question

          Imminent Catastrophe

            Here's a humorous take on pacing.

            "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

             "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

            "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.


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              oh my goodness "Assume your runner is slightly retarded - you'll have more compassion for him that way"...."nobody wants to hear about your stupid little kids birthday"


              That link is hilarious!


              Yes to the loops, it's going to make it a lot easier, even mentally easier for her to do the loops.  There's comfort in having all of your stuff at a location, as opposed to some key things in a bag you can't find, so that will help too.  Yep the last portion is through the night and although i don't think she'll get nasty with me, I do suspect she'll give me the silent treatmet - which is fine, beats complaining about stuff that hurts.


              Thanks for the tips and the humor!

              Demon of Bad Decisions

                Here's a humorous take on pacing.

                Oh my goodness.  That is probably one of the best ultrarunning related things that I have ever read. Hysterical.

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

                  I just kicked five Ninjas' asses and saved a baby from a burning yurt!

                  You'll ruin your knees!

                    Hi All, I've done a couple of 50ks and a couple of 50 miles and I'm pacing my friend at Rocky in February.  Other than making sure I have extras of the things I would usually take over a 40 mile distance, do you have any lessons learned from pacing someone in their first 100 miler?


                    For 40 miles, you may want to plan on having some subjects saved up to try when your runner starts to zone out.  If they are conversational, but tiring, it can be helpful to get their mind off the pain and suffereing.  For some, it can be a discussion on something slightly controversial or spiritual or whatever... if they are thinking about a dialogue, they are not thinking about their suffering.  If they are not conversational, you may need to talk to them to keep them awake... I have done book reviews with my runner.  A good book on running or ultras or something is usually pretty good and even if they aren't engaged, it may be good to keep them focused on your voice.  I have also sung to my runner... can't really say if this was appreciated or not... but I always preferred to perform Night Rider's Lament, cause "they ain't gettin' nowhere and they're loosing their share, ah they must'of gone crazy out there" lyrics just seem really appropriate in pre-dawn hysteria.


                    As you approach an aid station, take inventory of what your runner has been eating and drinking and verbally go over with them what they want/need from the aid station.  This will do several things 1) the obvious, develop a mental list of needs so something is not forgotten, 2) give you the opportunity to encourage your runner to drink (if they have not been) so they can refill at the station 3) give you a chance to help your runner remember something (drop/pick-up an article of clothing, take meds/s-caps, etc., get gels from drop bags, etc.) and 4) to give you a chance to assess your runners mental stability... this checklist run-through is a great way to identify how coherent your runner is.


                    Once you get to an aid station, REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE RUNNING 40 MILES and that you need to take care of yourself!!  Don't be afraid to find a volunteer and hand your runner over to them with instructions to the volunteer of what your runner needs.  THAT IS WHAT THE NIGHT TIME VOLUNTEERS ARE THERE FOR!!! Tell a volunteer your runner's conditions and if you have any concerns AT ALL.  At Rocky, I promise the volunteers are not looking to pull a runner out of the race, but are looking to get every runner to the finish line and will do everything they can to help your runner get back in the game!!!


                    If you are not familiar with Huntsville, understand that seemingly moderate temperatures (night time) can be nasty cold due to a high humidity factor and the runner's condition (slight dehydration, fatigue, slowing down after covering 75-90 miles... Not a bad idea to throw in an extra layer, light gloves, ear band/hat, etc.  Even if predicted temps are low 50s upper 40s.  If tems are in the low 40s or upper 30s, you can count on if feeling much cooler... plan accordingly.


                    Finally... make sure you check in at my aid station and say hello/introduce your runner!  If your runner finishes, he/she will come through my stop 10 times... just ask for the King of DamNation... work is threatning to make me miss it, but if at all possible, I'll be there.  If not, my court will be instructed to take good care of you! Wink


                    Good 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)


                      Also, ALLIGATORS MAY EXIST IN PARK.


                        I'm not afraid of alligators, I'm Australian  Wink


                        Thanks for the tips jlynnbob, I really appreciate it, there's even some logical but easily overlooked stuff.  I will re-read a couple of times before the day.


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