There’s a write up that’s been circulating around about the 100 mile racing distance that I’ve really enjoyed.
It has some great advice about running hundred milers that I love. A couple of favorite tips from this are:
6) Accept your current conditions as they are, then make the best of things. That’s the key to happiness in life, and it works beautifully in these events. It’s raining? So what? That’s just how it is now. You’ve been wet before. You dried. Keep going. Things aren’t going the way you planned? So what? Change the plan. Keep going. Fallen off your pace? That wasn’t supposed to be your pace. You have a new pace now. Keep going. Feet hurt? That’s just how they are now. Keep going. Quads shot? That’s just how they are now. Keep going. Adopt the mantra, “This isn’t hard; this just is.” Unless there’s a significant risk of permanent damage, keep going. You’ll figure it out.
Though, tip number one: Training and recovery are nice to minimize the suffering of a 100-mile race, but if you’re willing to suffer a bit, neither are required to actually finish. Worried that you’re undertrained? That you didn’t taper enough, or tapered too much? Stop it. Worrying can’t help you. You are where you are. No matter where that is, know that you can finish. Be confident in that fact.
I don’t 100% disagree with this, and I know as a coach I need to couch this a bit.
Not everyone needs to train with a coach. You don’t have to be perfectly trained either. Let’s be real. Most of us running that distance are pretty typical humans (whatever that means) with real jobs and families. That being said, PLEASE FREAKING RESPECT THE DAMN DISTANCE.
There’s a ton of crossover between the trail community and the ultra running community. That inevitably causes a lot of people to feel the obligation to run ultras, and the 100 miler can feel like the marathon of ultras that you need to check off your bucket list. You do not need to run an ultra at all if it doesn’t appeal to you. (Soapbox on that here. ) Another thing that sometimes comes out of that crossover is people who can look up and down those who do run hundred mile races and get a little of the “if s/he can do it I mean, how hard can it be, attitude.” One hundred milers are hard. There are no easy hundreds. There are hundred mile races that have typically faster finishing times, more generous cut off times, and higher finishing rates. That doesn’t make them easy. Train for the damned thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be what some consider high mileage even, but you should train.
A big part of training then becomes RESPECT THE DAMN DISTANCE.
1.) Don’t judge the distance by the people you see completing it. Know they worked.
2.) Don’t just multiply your marathon time by four and assume that will be your hundred mile time.
3.) Don’t underestimate how important things like eating during your runs and time on feet are to your training.
4.) POLES AND KT TAPE ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING. There are people and circumstances that make it totally acceptable to use poles. Though if you don’t train, throwing KT tape on all of your joints and starting with poles isn’t going to fix that.
5.) Don’t be cocky. There’s a difference in cockiness and confidence. Start believing you can finish, not thinking it’s easy. The ultra god’s will knock you on your ass.
6.) There are always outliers to things. Those people who really don’t ever run more than 20 miles in training and it works for them. Don’t assume you’re Camille Herron. You’re probably not.
If you want to try a hundred miler. Do it! It’s an incredible experience, but part of that journey is the training part. You should like that part too.