This week was technically my first week of 100k ultra marathon training. I know, I have fully lost my mind with this trail running business, but I just couldn’t not go for it. Going from 50 miles to 62(ish) isn’t exactly a life altering jump; I mean once you’ve run 50 miles, adding a half-marathon probably feels like nothing! At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. While most training plans aren’t very different between the two mid-ultra distances, there are a few tweaks I plan on making to shift from the 50 mile to 100k distance.
After last week’s recovery miles, I started to get back to some longer week day runs. Though my non-running schedule did not make that particularly easy. On Sunday, I went back out to the greenway I had done my long run on in Dallas for an easy 10 miler. Not a bad way to break into the back to back long runs. We came back to San Antonio Sunday evening, after stopping by my mom’s house to grab a TV and say adios before their move to North Carolina. I’m definitely looking forward to visiting them next fall to get in some east coast trail runs. After our weekend of traveling and celebrating Halloween, I was EXHAUSTED when my alarm went on Monday. So I decided to move my rest day from Tuesday to Monday, and I have zero regrets.
On Tuesday, I went back out to the powerlines for some hill work. I want to change how I approach my hill workouts just a little, which I’ll touch on in a moment. But overall, the workout was really good. Wednesday I got in a solid 10 mile run in my neighborhood and on the greenway near our home. Thursday and Friday, I had to break up my miles since my husband and I had random commitments in the morning that cut my available time short. I guess that’s just life when you’re training for ultra’s and have a family and full time job.
Related Post: Ultramarathon Training Tips – How to Train While Working
My long run this week was a lot of fun. 20 miles of trails at the nature preserve that I miss so much during the week! Afterwards, I promptly came home, enjoyed some Oreo’s with my coffee, and set up my kid on Xbox live so he could chat with his cousin. It is so wild watching him grow up and do different things. He asked for a family movie night, and even though our new couches STILL haven’t come in, my husband bought this giant, festive popcorn tin for us to enjoy. The house is coming together slowly, but man I’d really like our new furniture to get in!
100k Ultra Marathon Training
Going from training for a 50 mile ultramarathon to a 100k distance doesn’t necessarily require a training overhaul. In fact, most of the training that is done for a 50 miler is very similar to a 100k. The back to back long runs, increasing long run distances, and overall higher training mileage will stay in place. But there are a few things that can help bridge the 13 mile gap. Here’s a few things I’m going to be focusing on over the next couple of weeks to make sure I am ready to tackle running 62 (ish) miles.
Now, I do want to add a small disclaimer that these training tweaks are specifically related to the type of course I’ll be running on. Training for a flat 100k on the beach would look very different. The Bandera 100k is known to be fairly rocky, and to have a few step uphill sections that are challenging, but not overly difficult. It’s definitely not a mountain race, but it is going to require some strong legs. Once you get into 50+ mile distances, it’s super important to consider the race profile and make sure you are adjusting your training to be reflective of the kind of running you’ll be doing, even if you don’t have access to exactly the same kind of terrain.
- Slight Mileage Increase – There doesn’t need to be a huge increase in weekly miles, especially since most 50 mile training plans already involve a decent amount of running. However, since the long runs will be slightly longer, it is recommended to try adding on just a little more distance during the week to keep your long run from making up too much of your overall weekly mileage. Generally, you don’t want your long run to be much more than 30% of your weekly volume. For me, this will probably look like changing my Sunday 13 milers to 15, and trying to bump up my 8 mile weekday runs to 10-12 miles. You certainly don’t have to run high mileage weeks to complete an ultramarathon, but you should have some balanced increase in your training.
- Practicing Long Run Nutrition – The long runs have multiple purposes in ultramarathon training, and one of the best ways to prepare for race day is to use those long runs as a rehearsal. I knew that I would want to eat some salty foods during my 50 miler, but since my training runs were less than a 50k distance, I honestly relied on gels more than I should have during training. Can you survive a 24 mile run on gels and tailwind? Absolutely. But if that’s not how you plan to fuel your race, you should probably switch up your long run nutrition as well. For my 100k training, I plan to carry more real foods that I know I’ll want to utilize during the race to get my stomach used to digesting them. Looking to change your fueling? Take a look at my Fueling Guide.
- More Hiking – I don’t know if this is a secret that only ultrarunners are supposed to know, but NO ONE RUNS AN ENTIRE ULTRAMARATHON. Unless you’re a professional athlete, and in that case, you shouldn’t be utilizing my training tips in the first place. Time on feet is really crucial for the ultramarathon game, and to get your body used to not only running distances, but also walking them, you should practice! Finding extra time in your schedule is probably not the easiest thing in the world, but if you can go out for a 30-40 minute walk on the same days as your long runs, that additional time on feet can really improve your bodies ability to just keep moving.
- More Hill Focus – In order to finish a 100k ultramarathon strong, you need to be able to move up and down hills at a variety of paces. I substantially limited myself here for my 50 mile training. I took on hills at either two speeds: a slow power hike or a straight sprint to the top. If your course is going to have longer climbs, you need to practice going uphill for longer periods of time. And it can be helpful for you to be able to both slowly run and walk, since you never know how you’re going to feel on race day. Being able to shift into different gears depending on how things are going is incredibly helpful for ultramarathon success, and the only way to build that skill is to practice going uphill at different speeds.
- More Evening Runs – Unless you are running a really flat, fast course, you can almost depend on the fact that you will be running at night for some portion of the race. If you have only run in the mornings, this is going to be challenging for your body. Things just function differently at different times of the day, especially because you will be running and eating. In order to help your body adjust, it can be useful to schedule in 1-2 evening runs per week. This doesn’t mean that you need to wait until it’s pitch dark and all the serial killers are out doing their thing, but plan on going out for a few miles after work here and there just to see how you feel. If you feel terrible, then you know it’s something you need to put more concentrated focus on!
While the overall mileage might not jump up significantly, making some or all of these changes to your training routine can help your body get ready to go out even further and run even longer. As always, if you’ve got any helpful recommendations, please comment below. I’d love to have as many tools in my belt as possible!
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 68
Total Workouts: 4
100k Training, Week 1
How the Runs Felt
Most of my runs this week did not feel too difficult. Running in Dallas was a nice break from the same roads and trails that I see on a daily basis, but I was so excited to get back to the powerlines on Monday. Monday’s run was my first attempt at slowing down the uphill running, and trying to put off power hiking until the really steep sections. It wasn’t easy, but I felt strong, and my pace was probably the best I have run on those hills. The rest of the week, I was on the roads and greenway near our home. It’s not quite as much fun as running on the trails every morning, but the miles still happen! I have to say, I’ve loved having the damn sun come up before I’m actually done with my run, now that we’ve changed the clocks again.
My long run this weekend was a whole lot of fun. I kept up with my plan of trying to keep moving more consistently on the uphill sections, and luckily for me I had some good company. My girlfriend Gigi met me out on the trails with a small group of runners, and having a couple of fast ladies in the group helped to keep me going when I was tempted to walk in the beginning. It’s amazing how much having some company can push the pace. My body is still somewhat tired, but it feels like it’s getting back into the training groove.
How the WODs Felt
Getting back into higher mileage took a little bit of a toll on my motivation to get into the gym this week. Plus, we’re in this phase where we’re waiting for our membership to terminate later in the month. Once it does, we plan on joining a box that we both feel really good about. I did make it into the gym once this week, and I was amazed at just how heavy that damn barbell felt. The weight wasn’t all that insane, but man it felt HARD. The rest of the week, I worked out at the house. I decided to keep up with the decision to incorporate some stair running on Monday, and I’m feeling like t’s definitely helping with the new hill work strategy.
What I’ve Been Listening To
I’m listening to Tom Brown’s Body as each episode airs, and I am HOOKED. Every episode, there’s just so much more info that is revealed. I also started listening to a new podcast called Trust Me. It’s hosted by two women who interview guests that talk about different cults, exiting them, and what it is like to experience life in a cult. Both hosts have their own background of growing up in different cult organizations, and it is incredibly interesting. I am absolutely loving it. I’ve also started the second season of Dr. Death, and so far it is not disappointing at all!
What Went Well
Improving my hill running technique has been really beneficial, and I am looking forward to seeing my times and paces improve.
What Went Shitty
Breaking up my runs, especially when I haven’t planned to, is not my favorite. I had planned on running 12 total miles on Friday, but had to break up run at the last minute. I initially thought I’d be able to run 4 miles in the afternoon, but then Henry ended up working later than he expected, so I stuck with 2 miles since my kid was NOT in the mood for a longer bike ride with me.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week, I’m planning on signing up with a CrossFit box, and I’m really excited to re-enter the CrossFit world.