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How to Choose Your First 100 Miler (Or Any Other Ultra Distance)

Jul 10, 2012 | 9 Comments

I have a few friends that are beginning to dabble in ultras, and are going through the process of choosing a race. In some cases, it is their first ultra. In other cases, they’re looking for a longer ultra after successfully completing a shorter ultra. At any rate, here’s a quick guide to choosing a race.

Step one: Assess your abilities. Specifically, what are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you prefer flat courses or hilly courses? Are […]

Gluttony Training: The Other Side of the Fasting Training Coin

Jul 3, 2012 | 3 Comments

Yesterday I wrote about fasting as a method of training. Learning to eat before and during the run is another useful training technique.

Before I get to the details, I should note this training really only applies to ultrarunners. Most people should be able to run anything up to about 18-20 miles without any food. Even a marathon would require very little food, if any at all. Once you pass that marathon threshold, food becomes increasingly […]

Solving the Hydration Riddle: Lesson Repeated Until I Learn

Jun 21, 2012 | 11 Comments

Ah, hydration and ultramarathons. It used to be an issue that caused exactly zero problems. When I lived in the Midwest, I never unintentionally became dehydrated in a run. Ever.

I would occasionally do a “dehydration run” where I would purposely consume too little water so I could learn what the physical symptoms felt like. These runs were always done on a small loop with easy access to water, so the danger was low. I didn’t have […]

Quick Bighorn 100 Miler Recap

Jun 17, 2012 | 4 Comments

I finished the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run 100 miler yesterday. The race certainly lives up to its name. I’ll post a more detailed report in the near future, but here’s a rough recap.

Bighorn was definitely the most difficult 100 I’ve run to date. The combination of mountain weather and terrain made it significantly more difficult than the Midwest ultras I’ve run. This was also my first 100 miler without a crew or pacer. […]

Preparation and Strategy for the Bighorn 100

Jun 14, 2012 | 6 Comments

Tomorrow at 11:00 am I’ll start the Bighorn 100 miler in Dayton, Wyoming. The preparation and strategy for this race is the culmination of my experiences in the previous five 100 milers I’ve attempted. The race is a fairly difficult ultra. Ultrarunning Magazine rates it as a “4-4” for terrain and surface (Western States is a “4-3”) and gives it a score of 112% based on normalized finish times (Western States is the baseline at […]

When Running Hurts: Discriminating Between Good Pain and Bad Pain

Jun 13, 2012 | 14 Comments

Barefoot runners are repeatedly told to avoid pain at all costs. PAIN IS BAD! It’s a signal we’re doing something wrong or we’re doing too much too soon.

Ultrarunners live with pain. Any seriously long run hurts. If we’re going really fast, really long, or traversing really gnarly terrain, it hurts even more. [Edit- Rob Youngren commented below and suggested this is more like “discomfort” than “pain.” I like this distinction,]

What happens when these worlds […]

Ambitious Race Schedules: Pushing Your Limits

Jun 6, 2012 | 14 Comments

In light of this recent post on the Scientific American blog, I decided to fill the rest of the year with interesting challenges. My heart is fine, damn it!

June- Bighorn 100 miler, Dayton, Wyoming

July- Grand Mesa 100 miler, Grand mesa national Forest, Colorado

August- Trans-Rockies six day stage race, Rocky Mountains, Colorado

September- Hallucination 100 miler, Hell, Michigan (planning on running barefoot)

October- Grindstone 100 […]

How to Act Like a Trail Runner: A Primer on Trail Etiquette

Jun 1, 2012 | 18 Comments

Lots of road runners seem to be making the jump to trail running. This is a great thing! Unfortunately many of these runners carry some bad road running habits over to the trails. Here’s a quick and dirty (pun intended) guide for new trail runners to help fit in:

1. Don’t be afraid of dirt. I’ve watched runners in squeaky-white sneakers tiptoe around a tiny mud puddle. I’ve seen new trail runners on the verge of vomiting […]