Thursday, May 22, 2008

Suggestions from experience

Funny,

When you ask runners who have run multiple 100's each, their advice has a common theme.........

Don't stress out.

Here are the responses from seasoned ultramarathoners I reached out to for "mistakes I made in my first 100"


Julie Berg wrote

Mistakes I made:

Not having enough confidence in my ability. I was afraid to run during the night alone. I waited for someone else: stupid. I spent too much time in the aid stations. I didn't have a spare pair of shoes to change into when mine became too small from swelling.

I consume 200 calories an hour; it's enough for me. A bottle of HEED, a few gels each hour or a sandwich.

Yes, relax!


John Taylor wrote

Mistakes:
Not realizing that blister and chaffing problems are more of an issue the longer you're out there. Lots of lube stuff on feet and problem areas works well for me.
200 cal an hour works for me too. A zone/balance bar of some type. Real food works well for me. I like to carry 2-3 bars with me -just in case I can't find anything like at an aid station.
I wouldn't worry about times, just finishing is an accomplishment!!!

Have FUN!!!


I sent Allan's response on to the Library of Congress, and will probably have it published. Allan has forgotten more about running and nutrition then most people will ever know.

Here are some snippets.

Allan Holtz

Feet - Realize that what feels good through 50 miles is apt to start hurting by 70 or 80 miles, unless your feet are properly conditioned and your shoe-sock-lubricant combination is right

Nutrition - Your body can most likely process 250-300 calories per hour. Take in more than that and you risk stomach and intestinal distress. How many calories per hour you expend is a function of your weight, speed and trail (climbing and roughness).

Hydration - Again the longer race you run the closer to getting it right you need to be. We all have different sweat rates, the heat and humidity and suncover is never the same, thus how much water you need to consume will vary by race. If your stomach is bloated you probably drank too much and if you aren't sweating you probably drank too little. I think it is good to separate your nutrition source from your hydration source so you are not over hydrating or under hydrating in order to get in adequate calories. Again maltodextrin has the highest ability to be absorbed into your bloodstream through your intestine compared to anything else you could eat. Thus it gives you the best chance of fueling and hydrating right with minimal chance of stomach and intestinal distress. I think it is good to get on an eating and drinking schedule where every 15 minutes or 30 minutes - whatever - you take in some liquid calories and additional water if needed depending on the conditions. Being on a fixed schedule will make sure your are regular in your intakes and give you something to think about during a long race. Then as you slow down later in the race and or the weather changes you change your hydration amount accordingly. The slower you go, the easier for your body to process food and the less water you will need.

Electrolytes - I started running 100s not thinking about salt. Big mistake. Inadequate salt intake increases blistering, contributes to nausea and will eventually result in total body cramping. I've experimented with Hammer Products E-Caps, adding a blend of table salt and lite salt to my calorie source and currently I prefer to use S-Caps made by Karl King (http://www.succeedscaps.com/). That way I can separate my need for calories from my need for water from my need for electrolytes. I would recommend taking 1 S-Cap per hour at the Kettle Moraine. I would also recommend reading the various articles on Karl's website regarding the need for salt and how much to take and how to know if you are getting enough or too much. I have suffered cramps many times in 100s from inadequate salt intake and lately no cramps in 100s.

There is some more but that is the stuff some of you might find interesting.

I knew a lot of this, maybe most of it, but what I found interesting is what they did not say. Just finish!

That will be a tough strategy to take, as I know at mile 30-40 I will feel good, and no need to go slower.

I know I should fear the night, but I don't. I actually am looking forward to it. I enjoyed running in afton in the pitch dark, although it was the first hour or two of the run.

I talked to Adam Harmer yesterday, and he is doing FANS 12 hour the same day. When he is done, I will be venturing into the evening hours, probably somewhere between mile 55 and 65. He gave me some confidence. Others have as well. I guess you have to just go out there and try it.

Today

another easy 6, thought I was walking, 9 minute miles. Not quite recovered.

3 comments:

SteveQ said...

All good advice, but you should hear from people who failed repeatedly, too. Crashing from going out too fast is the biggest problem for those who think beyond just finishing - so, JUST FINISH. Walk the uphills from the beginning, even though it seems ridiculous, as walking breaks give muscles a rest; in flat races, walk a few minutes every half hour. Relaxation is key; nutrition is also all-important - have a variety of foods, as you'll get sick of one flavor. Always run with someone else, preferably someone who you think looks slower than you and distract yourself with conversation. Have a plan for what to do when your feet swell and blister (and they will). Last, hope I learned something, as I'll be trying 100 at the same time at FANS.

SteveQ said...

All good advice, but you should hear from people who failed repeatedly, too. Crashing from going out too fast is the biggest problem for those who think beyond just finishing - so, JUST FINISH. Walk the uphills from the beginning, even though it seems ridiculous, as walking breaks give muscles a rest; in flat races, walk a few minutes every half hour. Relaxation is key; nutrition is also all-important - have a variety of foods, as you'll get sick of one flavor. Always run with someone else, preferably someone who you think looks slower than you and distract yourself with conversation. Have a plan for what to do when your feet swell and blister (and they will). Last, hope I learned something, as I'll be trying 100 at the same time at FANS.

Runner Brewer said...

Steve,

So you would have been okay if I asked you "tell me about your failures".

I walk the uphills anyway, I just can't bomb down them like I did at Superior.

It will help knowing you guys will be out there all night too.