How to Train for (and Organize) a 100-Mile Ultramarathon
Jul 22, 2017
At the end of July, a group of highly dedicated runners will attempt the Burning River 100 mile ultramarathon in Northeast Ohio. Today, we are sharing two of their stories. The 100-mile foot race has now become the ultimate test of endurance in the running community. Not for the faint of heart, these races take up to 24 hours to complete and require extraordinary levels of dedication and training to overcome the mental and physical hurdles on the track. For anyone considering one of these events, it is often useful to read the accounts of other athletes who have gone through these experiences. We hope this blog post can be a useful resource for those thinking about going long. Adam Condit, an elite age-grouper and SaltStick-supported athlete, will seek to tackle Burning River, which will be his second 100-miler to date. In advance of his attempt, he shared with us training, nutrition and motivation advice. Vince Rucci is co-race director of the Burning River 100, and he told us about the hard work and preparation needed to pull off an event like this. We will also supporting the Burning River 100 by providing SaltStick products; participants can keep an eye out for SaltStick Caps at the aid stations. Thanks to Adam and Vince for their time.
Adam Condit: How to train for a 100-mile ultramarathon:Having completed his first 100-miler at Western States in 2014, Adam was looking for a new challenge closer to his home in Wisconsin. He settled on the Burning River 100, which will take place in Willoughby, Ohio (right outside of Cleveland) this July. On training: To train for the race, Adam, who is both a dad and full-time employee, runs first thing in the morning before the rest of his family is awake. A typical week consists of the following:
- 4x 50-90 minute “normal” runs
- 1x 60-90 minute “quality” run, which can include tempo or lactate threshold repeats
- 1-2x 120-180 minute “long” runs on the weekend
- Build slow: Build your mileage slowly to avoid injury.
- Find balance: If you run longer long-runs or have bigger specific weeks you will need more recovery. Adam runs the same weekly mileage when training for an ultra that he does when training for a 10k, half marathon, or marathon. However, the difference is that his longer runs are longer and his shorter recovery days are slower and shorter.
- Don’t fret about pace: “I only care about pace and how fast I'm running a couple times a month when I'm doing quality sessions, and even then I look at it afterwards,” Adam says. “Ultra-running and trail running in general needs to be driven by being in tune with your perception of effort, and this will take a little time to fine-tune.”
- Twitter: @AdamCondit
- Instagram: @AdamCondit
Vince Rucci: How to organize and manage a 100-mile race:After helping to put on the Burning River 100 for 11 years, Vince has learned that, just like training for an ultra, the key to success in managing a race is preparation. As soon as the race ends, he begins planning for the next one; it takes a year to fully get ready for each event. The second key to success is support, Vince says. Often times, people do not consider the sheer amount of local assistance that goes into putting on a race like Burning River. In addition to managing aid stations, volunteers help mark the course and prepare for the race day – not to mention clean up afterwards. But it pays off. “We have a great event because of our great community,” Vince says. Advice to other race directors: Vince’s advice to other event managers looking to put on a smooth race is three-fold:
- Put the participants first.
- Respect your volunteers. This means thanking them for their time commitments. No one is asking them to help out, so be considerate when asking them to take on extra tasks.
- Find a good team. If you surround yourself with good people, you will be able to stay on task, even when things get a little crazy.
- Twitter: @BurningRiver100