Tuesday, November 8, 2011

LT 100 - Training Strategy

This post is probably about 2 months too early, but my mind is already spinning with ideas. So, I will put them down now and revise as necessary. My general idea for training for the LT100 is to gear it toward what I think will be the most important factors in success.  At this point I view those factors as follows:
  • Big miles and lots of time on my feet
  • Fast hiking
  • Nutrition
I did not put those in order of importance because I think they are just about equally important. Obviously logging big miles and time on my feet is going to be huge because I've never done a race of more than 10 hours before. At a minimum, I will be on my feet about two and one-half that to complete the 100. Having logged my first huge mileage year, I can tell you that I am a firm believe that the best predictor of success is miles run. Fast hiking is an underrated part of ultra running. If you can hike a steep incline between 3 and 4 miles per hour, then you have a chance to put in quality ultra finishes. Ideally you can fast hike (or power walk) closer to 4 MPH. The two most dramatic parts of this course are Hope Pass and Sugar Loaf Pass -- being able to fast hike when tired will be a huge asset. And finally, the obvious selection, nutrition. All endurance events have to consider nutrition. But of course a race in which you are running for more than 24 hours will amplify the needs. I had struggles at my first attempt to complete 50 miles and am particularly concerned about being prepared. The biggest concern to me is maintaining electrolyte balance in a variety of conditions as Leadville can range from 30 degrees at night to the high 80's during the day. Due the large amount of walking, I am not overly concerned at this point about my ability to take in food at the slower pace.

Based on all that, here is what I hope will be the backbone of my training for the year:
  • A plan that pushes me to 70 miles (or more) six to ten times
  • At least a half dozen weeks with back-to-back long runs
  • Lots of hiking (ideally a few 14ers for hiking and altitude)
  • Several races (or training runs) in the ultra category for nutrition, hiking, time on my feet, and altitude
  • At least one long run in the middle of the night, possibly as the back half of a B2B with only 8 - 10 hours of recovery
  • Ideally there will be guy's weekend in July to spend several days in Leadville to train on area 14ers and Hope Pass.
Here is a list of potential races that I am considering:
Collegiate Peaks - April 28th, 2012
Collegiate Peaks is a twenty-five mile loop course in Buena Vista, CO.  While it is not quite a vertical monster, it is a very popular early season ultra in Colorado.

Colorado Marathon - May 6th, 2012
One of the best marathons in Colorado -- scenic and downhill!

Golden Gate Dirty Thirty - June 3rd, 2012
A single track 50k in the Golden Gate park near Black Hawk, Colorado.

The San Juan Solstice 50 - June 23rd, 2012
This is a tough, tough 50 mile race with more than 13K feet of climbing.  Some say it is the hardest (or one of) 50 miler in the country.  In fact, it is considered a "mini-Hardrock".  There is a rule of thumb you can take your time in this race and double it to predict your LT100 time.  I like the location of this race on the calendar because it would give me 2 months to recover before the LT100.

Leadville Silver Rush 50 - July 15th, 2012
A darn good 50 mile race that offers altitude, heat and 8,000 feet of climbing.  As a past finisher of this race, I know the course and the difficulty.  I think this course would help me acclimate to Leadville.   But is it too close to the LT100?  I worry that anything near a race effort in this event could require too much recovery only 5 weeks before the main event.

Speedgoat 50k- July 28th, 2012
A super gnarly 50k in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  The course is put on by Karl Meltzer and contains nearly 11,000 feet of elevation gain.

1 comment:

  1. I really like your thinking AJ. I think with your mentality and approach, a hundred miler is imminently doable! I can't wait to follow the training and hear your thoughts as you progress.