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Training for a 100 Miler without losing friends. Week 1

Greetings all!

I am a brand new member of Team Running Free and this is my first post.  My plan is to do semi-regular posts over the next 2+ months about the trials and tribulations of training for a 100 Mile Ultra-Marathon while still leading a normal. busy life.  I’m writing this for anyone who is playing with the idea of running a 100 miler, or anyone who gets a kick out of tales of human suffering!  If this format doesn’t work well with this area/site the postings may move to a different area/site.   It’ll be a learning experience!

So, a quick bit of background on me:  I’ve done one 100 Miler before, which was the Haliburton Forest 100 Mile Trail Run.  It took me 29 hours and 35 minutes to finish.  What I’d like you to take away from that is this:  I am determined, but not fast.  I was actually the last person to finish the race, but I prefer to look at it as a 23rd place finish.  There were 40 of us at the start.  The man who won first place finished in around 17 hours.  I am still convinced that he was some sort of lizard-like alien in disguise who was running the race in order to test the limits of human endurance in preparation for the inevitable invasion.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Next up for me is the Sulphur Springs Ultra on May 29.  This is going to provide some challenges that I didn’t have to deal with when I trained for the Haliburton Forest Ultra.  The first challenge is that I have waited too long to decide to enter the race, and now I only have a little over two months to train for it.  Luckily, I returned to school this winter which gave me access to treadmills at the school gym.  So I’m coming out of the winter season with more conditioning than I would normally have (I’m not a big outdoor runner in the winter).  However, this leads me to my second problem: school.  I have a full course load and my marks are very important to me, so I’ll have to find a way to spend hours training without letting my grades slip.  Last but not least, I got engaged at the finish line of the Haliburton Forest Ultra, and now my fiancee and I are busy planning our wedding for this August.  On top of these things I have the usual obstacles to training that come from social obligations, physical limits, and all of the mundane day-to-day things that make hard things harder.

So without further ado, let’s get on with it……

The first challenge is going to be finding time to run fairly long distances on a regular basis during the week.  For anyone who is not used to running long distances regularly, I can not stress enough the importance of easing into it.  A healthy human body is capable of enduring more punishment than many would believe, but you must work up to it slowly!  That said, I don’t have time for that, so I’m doing this quick and dirty.  When training for my first Ultra I worked myself up to 17-20km runs four days a week with long runs on the weekend.  However, I also had loads of time.  My plan for this time around is to begin by running the 8km (each way) to school and back 3-4 times a week.

So my tip for this week is:  If you are going to train for an Ultra and still maintain a “normal” life, make peace with the idea of using your feet as a main form of transportation.

I’ll be back next week with an update and musings on the meaning of the term “long run”.

Until then, thanks for reading and please leave comments and suggestions!


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  • Michael, all the best in your training. I’ll be at the start/finish aid station so I expect to see you 8 times – or else. happy trails, Sharon

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