22 January 2011

4 Ways To Finish Your First 100 Mile Run

1.  Run consistently for two years

2.  Eat and drink during the race

3.  Set your pace for the entire race, not just the first 50 miles

4.  Get a "hired gun" to pace you for the entire 100 miles
Me pacing Tim W (him in orange) leaving Twin Lakes about mile 60 at Leadville 100 2010.  He ended up 6th overall in 19:19!

Number 4 is what I'll be doing at Vermont 100 this July; pacing a strong 63 year old runner in his first 100 mile race.  Being over 60, he's eligible for a pacer the entire distance but I went ahead and registered for the race myself, so I won't feel guilty utilizing all the aid station goodies AND will earn a 100 mile buckle!  We're shooting for sub 24 hours...

The down side is that I have to drop out of Tahoe Rim Trail 100 on July 8th, HOWEVER, I'm in the lottery for Hardrock... Dilemma.  TRT I can live without and do any year.  Hardrock is a race that doesn't suit my strengths but is an epic event that I want to be able to say, "Yeah, I did Hardrock.  It sucked.  I loved it."

Strangely, I'm comfortable with the notion of running Hardrock and then pacing at Vermont the next weekend.  TRT and then VT would be difficult because I'd be full throttle racing at TRT (read: beating the core of hell out of my body).  Hardrock, for someone like myself, is not as punishing.  Yes, it's beyond words harder than TRT but doesn't rip up muscle fibers and connective tissue like running solid over 100 miles.  Many folks would beg to differ but I know how badly I feel after a hard, runnable 50 miler.  Bear 100 was less punishing overall to my body than was Deadman Peaks 50 miler (54 miles actually).  Also, Vermont will be at John's pace, which, even at 24 hours is more of a mental test than physical test for my body.  Yeah, it's hard!  I'll be too busy focusing on John's vital stats (food intake, hydrating, electrolytes, pacing, effort, positive mental focus, perception...etc).  Focusing all my attention on Tim W. pacing him at Leadville for the last 50 miles took away most of the sissy cribbing (self whining) on my own aches and pain.  Accomplishing something for yourself is sweet but being a part of another person's journey and achievement is a fulfilling, rich satisfaction that you have to experience to understand.

Note:  After thinking about it, the likely scenario will be that I do the Bighorn 100 (June 18) in place of a possible Hardrock entry, thus giving 100% to my Vermont duties.

I also have an option to add ANOTHER event to my nutty schedule, just a 50k in April.  This year will be an adventure.


  1. Seriously - I'd dig a few more of "how to" posts.

  2. Mr. Long,

    I was wondering your thoughts on how to run a decent portion of a 100 miler, specifically the Bear.

    In 2009 I DNF'd my first attempt (made it 75 miles)--that was kind of my fault, as my longest run was 13.1 miles before that.

    Last year I ran 1 50K (in GA), the Squaw Peak 50 (14:16), Lean Horse 50 (10:36), and the Labor of Love 100 (28:46).

    My goal for Bear 2011 is simply. finish; however, if possible I'd love to run something faster than 36 hours (if anything to be done sooner).

    I know training is very personal, but I was wondering if you have any... advice on how to train to do well at Bear, not just finish.

    My only problem is that I'll be out of the country for the whole summer, and will either have flat land, the pool, or a treadmill to train.

    Thanks in advance, I enjoy reading your blog.


  3. Michael,
    I'd be happy to email you some thoughts on running Bear. Write to me at footfeathers a gmail