Focus. Pace. Training. What do you need to do to run 100 miles?
Many runners – no, most runners – would never dream of running a 100-mile race, but if you’re a member of the ultrarunning community and would like to cross that finish line on race day, keep reading for some tips on how to conquer and prepare for one of the most brutal races ever.
If you want to make it past that first aid station, you need to find your pace. Trail running and ultra-distance running aren’t about speed work – in the early stages, you need to start off slow. Vertical gain is no joke – if the trail gets too steep to handle, slow down to a walking pace. 100-mile races are about stamina – you need to make it past the halfway point!
Stick to a training plan
Go for training runs in terrains similar to the race. Maybe there’s a local hot spot near you or a new course to check out. If you’re lucky enough to live in a rural location, you have plenty of options.
Track your weekly mileage. Work slowly up to the 100-mile mark. Preparing for this type of race is time-consuming but worth it – you need to go for regular long runs and train for multiple hours over months.
Train for consecutive days but make time for rest days, too. Listen to your body to see if your daily preparation should be a run, a walk, or just some stretches. Training plans should always include low-impact and regenerative exercises.
Bring the right stuff and get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation and a lack of real food will harm your chances of success. You are about to put your body through the marathon to end all marathons. The week before the run, you need to make sure you eat healthy, nutritious food and get at least 8 hours sleep at night. The same goes for the night before the race, too.
Make use of aid stations – many runs will allow participants to use drop bags – so keep the right fuel in your drop bag as well as packing an extra pair of running shoes and socks into a plastic bag for the second half.
Keep pushing through the pain
You’re physically exhausted. It feels… wrong. You’re 20 miles into this 100-miler, and you don’t know if you can carry on running this great distance. Well, what did you expect? This isn’t just a normal day. This is one of the defining moments of your life. Today, the distance from the start line to the finish is the ultimate test of your mental toughness. Don’t look at other runners – what they’re doing doesn’t matter. Don’t think about what most people are doing. Just keep running and looking ahead.
These are just some of the many things you can do to help you run 100 miles. Remember, success with this is all about you – where you are and where you’re going.
What do I pack?
Good food, water, and a spare pair of running shoes.
How do I train?
By tracking yourself and giving yourself time to rest.
Should I run as fast as I can?
No – pace yourself!