Sunday, April 5, 2009

100 miles / Training week 3/30-4/5

When I first decided to attempt a 100-mile race in the early spring of 2007, I asked as many 100-mile vets as I could what I should do to be ready for the upcoming Burning River 100. One guy told me to run as many 100-mile weeks as I could. If I could run 100 miles in a week, I could run 100 miles in a day, he said. And so I ran a bunch of 100-mile weeks and ultimately finished the Burning River 100 in pretty good shape.

That rather simple approach has continued to guide me as I now prepare for my third 100-mile race--the Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run on June 20. With that said, this week (3/30-4/5) I logged my first 100-mile week since my Mohican ramp-up last year. I got really close to 100 miles a few times in the fall when I was training for the Columbus Marathon, but I never quite got to triple digits.

Despite the high mileage, this was not one of my better weeks. My legs clearly aren't 100% from the Lt. JC Stone 50K a few weeks ago. My intervals at the track were a bit off and on my tempo run my feet were hitting the road way too hard. I guess my legs are still a little tired. Otherwise I feel good and there's no cause for alarm. It just takes time to come back from a hard effort.

A lot of people just don't believe in high mileage. But I'm a firm believer that so long as your body can handle it, the more you run the stronger you will become. One hundred miles is a long way to run and, from what I've learned, you have to possess the strength--mentally and physically--to stay in the game the whole time. At the Burning River 100, for example, one of the last stretches is a rocky trail along a gorge, which you're running in the pitch-black dark. One bad step and you're in deep trouble. And that's just Ohio. Imagine what it would be like at the Hardrock 100 in Colorado or the Western States 100! You have to be focused late in a 100 and I believe this comes from the physical and mental strength you develop from intense training--specifically high mileage.

Besides, and I'm not afraid to admit this, I have a healthy fear of 100s. I respect the distance to the extent that I'm going to train my ass off to be ready. I approach the marathon and 50Ks with the highest level of respect, too, but it's a different kind of respect. I can not be at my best, as was the case at the Lt. JC Stone 50K, and still run a decent race and finish because I know the distance is doable. If I'm not at my best in a 100, I'm in big trouble. You have 100 miles separating the start and finish and a lot of bad things can happen in between, such as a nuked knee and severe GI distress (me at the 2008 Mohican). So I let my respect for the 100, and my knowledge of what it can do to you, motivate me in my training. And then on race day I can feel confident and run strong.

Here's how the week went:

AM: 6 miles easy on the treadmill. I felt 100% better than the previous day, when both of my hamstrings were tight and painful.
PM: 4.5 miles easy on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 10.5

AM: 9.5-mile interval workout at the local high school track. My times showed that I'm still not 100% from the Lt. JC Stone 50K. I did 3x1600 at 5:46, 5:42 and 5:47 with 800-meter recoveries and was gassed by the end. At this point in the spring, I should be within the 5:35-5:42 range.
PM: 4.5 miles easy on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 14

AM: 9 miles at 7:33 pace in and around the Chagrin River Valley
PM: 4.5 miles easy on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 13.5 miles

AM: 9.5 miles with 5.5 miles at tempo pace. This was not one of my better tempo runs. My pace is usually around 6:10-6:20 but on this morning I was going slowly. After a one-mile warm-up, my tempo splits were: 2) 6:35, 3) 6:29, 4) 6:32, 5) 6:30, 6) 6:25 and 6.5) 3:10. By the fourth mile of my tempo my feet were hitting the road really hard and so I hung on a little longer and then slowed for my cool-down. When your feet are hitting the ground that hard, your risk of injury goes up dramatically.
PM: 6 miles during lunchtime down MLK and back with Don L. It was great running with Don and enjoying some good company.
Total miles for day: 15.5 miles

AM: 9 miles in and around the Chagrin River Valley at 7:44 pace. The temperature was a pleasant 53 degrees. Not so pleasant: the very hard rain. I was soaked when I got home.
PM: 4 miles easy on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 13

AM: 18.25 miles in South Chagrin Reservation. No one showed up at 7 a.m. so I was about to head off on the trails by myself, doing the usual Polo Field out-and-back as the first leg. But then Tom A. and Leah showed up, only they were running the road that morning. So I got on the trail, armed with my iPod for company, and eventually ran into Tim C., who got there late, and we ran the rest together. I think both of us were pretty tired. I just didn't have the horsepower on the hills that I usually do.

AM: 17.25 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club. Once again my feet felt heavy. I was also breathing kind of hard. I guess this is what happens after a week of stress at work, insufficient sleep and 100 miles. A rest day is well in order.

Total miles for week: 102.0
Total miles for month: 362.95 (March), 77.5 (April)
Total miles for year: 988.89


This week I'm going to back off just a little and try to get fully recovered and feeling light and strong again. My goals are:
  • 80 total miles
  • 3x1600 at 5:35-5:42 pace
  • 5 miles at tempo pace
Then the next week I plan to hit 100-110 miles, finishing the week with a strong training run at the Forget the PR Mohican 50K.

Finally, I incorporated a daily dose of l-glutamine to help with muscle recovery during this time of high mileage training. L-glutamine also helps promote a strong immune system. We'll see how it goes.

Onward and upward!


  1. Great week of work, Wyatt. Stay healthy, and keep running strong, and it'll be a great spring and summer ahead.

  2. Its critical to get amino acids in the correct ratio. Taking L-glutamine by itself will screw this up. Its better to get all your aminos from whole plant foods. This will help to prevent various health problems down the line too.