Just like in marathon training, the cornerstone of successful ultra training is the Long Run. The long run just happens to be a bit further. Many of the plans I've seen also suggest doing a couple of longer runs on back to back days to simulate the "tired" feeling that the legs will experience during an ultra. For the immediate future, I will plan on doing a long run on Friday morning before work, followed by an extra-long run on Saturday. This means no sleeping in for me for the foreseeable future. I hope to do most of my longer runs early in the morning so as not to interfere with family time during the day.
Another key factor in ultra running is walking. Unlike a lot of marathons and other races, walking is pretty much de rigueur for an ultra distance race like this. In fact, part of my strategy will be to walk much of the steeper parts of the race. Because of the varied terrain, it's impossible to have a set pace to follow throughout the race. The key is to keep pushing forward, taking walking breaks when necessary.
|The elevation profile demonstrates many opportunities to practice "walking."|
Weather is another factor unique to ultras. While many road races boast "rain or shine," this is almost always the case with trail runs. What makes this more significant is that the race takes place in the mountains which means that weather conditions are subject to both greater extremes and more variety. It will likely be well below 32 degrees at the start of the race, and if it's a nice day, it may be into the 70's by the afternoon. If the weather is extremely hot or cold, then it will be an opportunity to reassess goals and determine what to do. This will also impact the gear that I bring. Runners are allowed to have a "drop bag" at the 25 mile turnaround so I can use that to stash anything I might need. Anything else will have to be carried for at least 25 miles. That means I will be looking into some lighter weight shirts and jackets to wear for this event.
|Takes as long to watch as a Marathon and may in fact be more painful!|