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Training for your first 100 mile race

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These tips should help you prepare for the remarkable challenge of running a 100 mile race.
== Introduction ==
These are some tips to help you train for your first 100-mile race. This is a tough distance; it is hard to overstate the difficulty that is faced. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that there is little lore around training for a 100-mile race. Ultrarunning is where marathon running was in the 70's; an emerging sport. Today we have a vast number of marathon training plans to choose from, and maybe one day there will be a similar number of ultramarathon training plans. Until then, there are just some personal opinions, such as this.
Note that this article is focused on training for the 100-mile race. You should read [[Essential Ultrarunning Tips]] and the other ultra specific tips as well.
=== Training Plans for 100-Milers ===
This is not intended to be a training plan, but rather tips to help you move from shorter ultramarathon distances to the 100-miler. These tips are not universal in nature; they are ideas that you should consider and use your best judgment in how to use them. There are a small number of training See [[Ultramarathon Training Plans]] for selected plans available, such as (Please email me at if you know of others available online.)  
=== Individuality ===
Each runner is different and will have different strengths and weaknesses. Not all of these tips will apply equally to all runners. For instance, someone able to finish the 100 miles in 16 hours may not have an issue with sleep deprivation. Each runner's experience may also change in different races; what works in one race may not in another. However, I believe most runners may benefit from most of these ideas. See [[Individuality and the Experiment of One]].
I highly recommend running only four days a week (see [[How Often To Run]]) when training for any distance. Each of your runs should have a purpose, and the purpose should not be the simple addition of miles. You should understand [[Supercompensation and Why exercise does not make you fit|Supercompensation]] and why doing a 16 mile run and having the next day off is far better than running 8 miles a day.
This is especially true for 100-mile races. Running high weekly mileage in itself will not help you prepare. Running 5 miles, three times a day, seven days a week will just wear your body out, without producing significant endurance.
The weekly mileage you do may be considered high as a consequence of your [[Long Run|long runs]], but this should not a goal. I consider myself a 'low mileage, high quality' runner even though I do 90-100 miles per week.
== Long Runs ==
This is core of your preparation, as it is for any endurance race. For most people, it is impractical to do very long training runs (> 50 miles), and the benefits are unclear (they may help, but so few people do these runs, there is not even much anecdotal evidence). This means that for a 100-mile race, training runs will be a much smaller percentage of the target distance. Consider the fact that doing a 60 mile training run for a 100-mile race is the same percentage as doing a 16 mile training run for a marathon. Instead, most people use a combination of ‘ordinary’ long runs with ‘ultra-long’ and ‘doubles’. Different people use different approaches based on lifestyle, background, etc.
== Downhill Running ==
Even if your 100 mile race is flat (and nor many are), you should practice [[Downhill Running|downhill running]]. It is the downhill running that builds up resistance to [[Muscle|muscle ]] fatigue. Read [[Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness]] for more details.
== Walk ==
== Eating ==
Foods that taste good in a marathon or even a 50 mile race will likely not work for you in a 100 mile race, unless you are extremely lucky and well trained. Most racing fuels (Gels, etc.) and drinks (Gatorade) for the marathon and shorter distances are digested very fast, and while some are better than others, all will turn your digestive system acidic over time. An acid stomach will cause you to slow your intake of fuel or may lead to vomiting, etc. You can take care of your stomach with small amounts of fat, and [[Protein|protein ]] to maintain the PH of your intestinal tract. The amount and types of protein and fat is highly individual as is the time to start introducing them into your race fueling strategy, so you will need to experiment on your longer runs to determine what works for you.
== Practice Races ==
== Speed work ==
It sounds strange to include speed work when thinking about a 100-mile race, but it is still important. A little speed work will allow you to run faster with the same perceived effort. That means you spend less time in the race. That's less footsteps, which reduces the stress on your body and the likelihood of blisters. Being faster also means a lower [[Heart Rate|heart rate ]] at a given pace. Lowering your heart rate makes digestion easier, which is critical.
== Practice ==
== Understand what it takes to finish ==
A 100-mile runner finishes with a tough mental outlook (run at night), with strong feet, and by fueling the machine. If you know you will not quit, have overcome obstacles like navigation errors and fear of the woods at night, can keep your feet from becoming blistered to the point of keeping you from moving, and can keep fuel and fluids going into your body then you will finish.
==See Also==
* [[Essential Ultrarunning Tips]]
* [[A brief guide to ultramarathon distances]]
* [[Your First 100 Mile Race]]
* [[Sleep Deprivation in Overnight Events]]
* [[Walking Breaks]]
* [[Fueling in an Ultra]]
* [[Aid Stations]]
* [[Drop Bags]]

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