Monday, September 28, 2015

The golden rules of ultra-running

I was going to blog about what an amazing time I had with GG pacing him a the Bear 100 this weekend but simply by the fact that he crossed that line with time to spare is all you really need to know about how well I did my job :-)

GG finishes the Bear 100 in 35:37
The more relevant topic here is just how he managed to knock out his second 100-miler despite all the things the Bear threw at him. If you're looking to do your first ultra - whether it's a 50k or 100 miler - here are all the things that need to happen to ensure you cross that finish line.
  1. Pace yourself from the start. Don't go out too fast just because you're feeling good. This may be common sense but how many times have you ignored it? The right pace feels like one you could run all day.
  2. Get your calories. Don't get behind, ever. Early in the race, you should be able to keep track of when you ate last...I recommend eating 150-200 calories every 30 minutes. If you pick up a pacer, make sure they keep track of this.
  3. Stay mentally strong. It's easy to let the heat, pain, stomach issues or fatigue get you down. Realize that you're going to fall into the pain-cave a multitude of times...and then figure out a strategy for crawling out and keeping your composure.
  4. Don't trust your race to anyone but yourself. You undoubtedly will encounter 'race veterans' or previous finishers who offer advice and guidance on the course or their interpretation of its difficulty. Take it all with a grain of salt. Trust your own judgement (or your pacers), execute your plan and always assume the worst. Otherwise, you could find yourself missing a cut-off or finish because of some else's poor lack of judgement.
  5. Take care of your bits and pieces. Experience will teach you that certain shorts chafe after 20 miles or that certain shoes give you blisters on the down hills. Take the opportunity whenever possible to address your pieces-parts or they will make your race feel even longer. If you have to change, then do it. Re-apply Glide as much as humanly possible...you don't need any more physical pain than what the mileage is already providing!
Plodding up *another* hill
Finally, make sure you either have an experienced pacer with you OR you have clear instructions for your crew/pacer(s) on what you need and when you need it. Likewise, do what your pacer says. If your pacer says eat, you eat. If your pacer says run, you run. No questions. No bitching.

Now it's tough to say what other variables you may face...weather being one. Even still, be prepared and follow the rest of the rules above and you're sure to give it hell just like GG did.

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