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Eugene Smith is a beast
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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: fueling on 10/26/2011 21:23:16 MDT Print View

"Agreed on the 25+ mile runs, I had several 70+ mile weeks, a few 20+ mile runs, and one 30 mile run 3 weeks out. It wasn't enough I don't think, at least for me to do well, for some that would be plenty.... im not a freak of nature."

Back in the 80's, I ran a lot of middle distance races as well as several sub 3 hour marathons off a 70 miles/week training routine. 20+ mile runs once a week were standard. Then some guys in my running club suckered me into being the 6th man on their team for the American River 50 up in Sacramento. I figured no problem, since I could dust any of them at the above mentioned distances. I was in for a very humbling surprise. I managed to finish, in 9:13, but was a basket case and ended up in the hospital due to dehydration. Afterward, I asked a lot of ultra guys about what went wrong and how to train for such events. The things they told me that might be of use to you are: It's not so much a matter of training mileage as time on feet during your training runs. This gets you used to moving for a long time and also trains your body to not only take in food, water, and electrolytes, but to process them efficiently. I drank plenty, ate, and took in electrolytes, but it didn't do any good because I hadn't trained my body to process them during my faster paced 20 mile training runs. These guys would regularly go out for 6-8 hour runs, and longer, often twice/week, and it showed; they regularly ran in the 7-8 hour range. The one I knew best did the WS in 22 hours and I had a lot of conversations with him about the subject. I trained with him occasionally and paced him the last 25 miles of the WS, during which time we had a lot of time to talk about it. FWIW.

Meantime congratulations on your race. That looks like one heck of a gnarly course.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
fueling on 10/27/2011 06:21:57 MDT Print View


Excellent thoughts on the matter, thanks for sharing your story! AR50 in 9:13? You were smoking fast.

You're absolutely right regarding time on the feet and 6-8 hour runs in training, best method in preparing to run all day is to run all day. I think I keep trying to fool myself that fitness and youth will make up for a lack of day long runs in training. I'm considering a few races in the spring so I'll likely keep the ball rolling after I recover and build off of the endurance I have now and the wisdom I'm gaining.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: ultra insight on 10/27/2011 07:18:33 MDT Print View

I do think electrolyte replenish does depend on the individual to some degree. Training sessions are where you can dial this in.

Perpetuem solids would have been tough for me also. The liquid works much better for me, but I try to mix often and keep it cool. It can be a little difficult to get down when it is warm and hot outside.

I think Art has the ticket on his approach.

Good luck on your next race and keep us posted on how you do.


Art ...
(asandh) - F
fueling-perpetuem in gel flask on 10/27/2011 07:51:32 MDT Print View

I very briefly experimented with perpetuem in a gel flask (a very thick mix) but dropped the idea for a couple reasons.
1. it is not something you can do on the trail on the go. too tricky and messy, so you must mix it all ahead of time at home.
2. perpetuem supposedly has a limited shelf life once mixed, 4 hours or so at room temperature i think.
this idea was just too complicated to deal with.

perpetuem in a wide mouth bottle works much easier in all respects.

Peter Rodrigues

Locale: New York
fueling on 10/27/2011 08:15:44 MDT Print View

some really great insight to fueling. thanks.

Since reading about Luke Nelson's Wasatch 100 2nd place finish...(, I've tried his Endurance First Slurry (scroll to the bottom of the post).

While it's not something that can be mixed en route, I do find it beneficial rather than trying to take solids/gels, which after a while just don't go down very well for me. Haven't tried it in a race yet, only in training.

here's the slurry mix:
EFS Slurry: In a 10oz flask mix 3 oz EFS liquid shot, 1/3 scoop EFS then top with water. For the very first and last flask I also added 1 scoop pre-race (a la holy hand grenade) Over the day I consumed about 11 of the 10oz flasks. Apart from the popsicles, peach, coke and a few cups of soup no other fuel was consumed. I carried 2 10 oz flasks at a time as well as 17 oz of plain water.

Edited by prodrigues on 10/27/2011 09:22:46 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Training Mileage on 10/27/2011 08:52:22 MDT Print View

That long run every week is very key.
but you don't need super high overall mileage unless you want to win races.
my peak mileage weeks for 100's is only about 75 miles a week, and only about 60 miles a week for 50's. I'm not any slower than some who do more mileage. I think the key is a deep long term base.
One way to get those long runs in is to run more races. Use 50k's as training runs for 50m's. use 50m's as training races for 100m's. I've run 50m races only two weeks apart when training for a 100.

I don't think you need back to back runs to train for 50m's. but a couple of them would be helpful for 100m's.

One problem with too many long slow runs is they make you slower. sure you can go all day but you're like molasses. a few 5 milers thrown in as speed work can help break things up.

Nick Clark is definitely a front of the packer. His blog details his weekly training and shows how he mixes it up.

Nick Clark


Edited by asandh on 10/28/2011 07:45:53 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Training Mileage on 10/27/2011 10:27:13 MDT Print View

There are some inspiring folks here. My dream goal is to run a 50 mi before I kick the bucket. I have a long way too go, but am working on it. The only thing that I believe is in my favor is I have begun to love running - Saturday and Sunday mornings and one day during the week. I want to get those three days to 10 milers. Eventually getting up to a real long run on weekend.

Again, Congrats on your run Eugene!

Maybe in a few years there could be a BPL 50 - I will sign up now.Don't care if I finish last, just want to finish : )

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: training on 10/27/2011 13:25:07 MDT Print View

Well done Eugene, that course looks awesome.

Endurolytes suck. Those perpetum solids are repugnant. Actually, for me all Hammer products suck (and they're 20 miles down the road as I type). The whole idea of Endurolytes allowing you to dose better has always struck me as BS. If you need electrolytes badly enough to take pills in addition to your standard nutrition, you need a lot more. Endurolytes should have 4x the goods in each pill.

Three things are needed for ultras:

-Physical/mental base fitness (later more important than former)
-Time on feet (connective tissue acclimation)
-Intensity/speed work

All other training is just for show.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Go for it. on 10/27/2011 13:33:49 MDT Print View

Aim for hours on your feet when training, not miles covered. Speed comes from something like fartlek training. Don't listen to me though, as all my leg joints are shot. :)
Running distance is the sweetest feeling, but it sucks when your body gives in.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: connective tissue acclimation on 10/27/2011 14:49:14 MDT Print View

Connective Tissue Acclimation ...
wow that's a term I've intuitively had on the edge of consciousness for a long time but never verbalized.
In long races my connective tissue issues are always more paramount than muscle issues.

yes, Time on Feet for "connective tissue acclimation".

Speed work
... well that's a hotly debated topic among even the best ultra runners, so I'm not qualified to give my two cents.

Peter Rodrigues

Locale: New York
Ultra speed work on 10/27/2011 15:42:27 MDT Print View


I'm curious about how you define intensity/speed work. My hard efforts consist of 1 long run, 1 med long, a marathon pace/LT tempo, and hill repeats. Throw some form drills and strides and that makes up my intensity over a ten day cycle.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: fueling on 10/27/2011 17:21:03 MDT Print View

"I think I keep trying to fool myself that fitness and youth will make up for a lack of day long runs in training. I'm considering a few races in the spring so I'll likely keep the ball rolling after I recover and build off of the endurance I have now and the wisdom I'm gaining."

Youth and fitness will carry you a long way but, when you get out in ultra territory, they may not suffice. I'd say you did a great job considering. That course sounds a lot tougher than the AR50, and the fact that you even finished is a testament to your basic fitness, ability, and especially your mental toughness. I have no doubt that you will do a lot better in races to come. There has been some mention of fueling in the thread, and I'd like to add my 2 cents for what they're worth: Both EFS and Perpetuem are good choices, content wise. They used to be quite different in that EFS formerly used only glucose for carbs but contained a full complement of electrolytes and some BCAA's for protein/tissue repair. Perpetuem, OTOH, used maltrodextrin for carbs, plus soy protein, and a little fat, but was pretty short on electrolytes. If you look at the ingredients of both now, you will see that they have converged and there is now very little difference between them, Some, but not a lot. So, it comes down to a question of taste. Personally, I find Perpetuem easier on the stomach as it is quite bland, whereas EFS has mostly citrusy flavors that are quite sharp and can irritate the stomach. Another good source of carbs for ultras is plain boiled potatoes. Dave Hannaford, a top ultra marathoner in his day, once told me he always carried them late in a race for use when he felt he was going to bonk, because they gave him a quick lift and were easy on the stomach. Plus they are a welcome change from artificial liquid nutrition drinks. I totally concur with suggestions above about mixing a drink like Perpetuem or EFS into a triple-quadruple strength slurry and then diluting it on the move with a bottle of plain water. It cuts down on the time spent mixing more frequently. All you have to do is refill your water bottle for several stops. However you decide to go about it I wish you all the best. You're off to a great start.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: speed work on 10/27/2011 17:26:33 MDT Print View

Speed work is an imprecise term. Let me rephrase: threshold work. Raising your aerobic threshold after you already have a good base of fitness but before your final stretch of endurance training (long runs, in this case) allows you to train that endurance at a higher level. You'll be running, hiking, or cycling faster but in the aerobic zone.

My experience, and extremely limited knowledge of exercise physiology, tells me this means intervals. On foot, structured hill repeats are my drug of choice. 30 second to 2 minute work periods with structured rest periods in between (typically twice the work time). 5-12 reps. If by 1/2 way through the whole affair you're not hating life, drooling, and getting tunnel vision you're not going hard enough. Ipod and loud music mandatory.

This was a great discovery for a lazy person like me, as the pain is high but the time required to do it right is very modest.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
re: speed work - threshold work on 10/27/2011 18:15:47 MDT Print View

I like the term threshold work much better.
it encompasses an assortment of activities other than just interval runs.

Geof Roes, one of the top 100 milers in the country claims to do NO speed work, but he runs a ton of hills.

tempo runs of 1 or 2 hours length are another good option for ultra training. run faster than ultra race pace, in the upper range of your aerobic capacity, but still totally aerobic.

Peter Rodrigues

Locale: New York
LT on 10/27/2011 18:23:14 MDT Print View

LT should be the pace which you can maintain for approx. an hour. There's different takes on HR for this area, but I feel like its one of the most important areas to work on even for ultra runners. Even on easy days, it's not a bad idea to approach LT near the end of a run, a la the Kenyan method of running.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Speed work - threshold work on 10/27/2011 19:13:26 MDT Print View

Forgot which coach said this:
"Hills are speedwork in disguise."

Running hilly courses = intervals.

I think Roes and Krupicka prove this point well. I've never heard anything about either of them doing intervals, speed workouts, etc. Vertical, vertical, vertical...

Edited by xnomanx on 10/27/2011 19:14:52 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Speed work - threshold work on 10/27/2011 20:17:57 MDT Print View

""Hills are speedwork in disguise."

Running hilly courses = intervals."

As long as we're talking ulta marathoning, I would wholeheartedly agree. For shorter distances, it is a different story because intervals are also used to develop leg speed and a very precise sense of pace. This is hard to do on hills. When training for 5-20k races we used to have a standard 3 phase training system: aerobic distance work for endurance; hill work for strength; and intervals on the track for leg speed and pacing. Ultra marathoning and distance racing up to the marathon are two different sports and require somewhat different training approaches, at least until you reach the truly elite level. Think Barney Klecker, who was the first to go under 5 hours for 50 miles. A different breed of cat. There is commonality, to be sure, but the intensity and emphasis differ considerably.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: training run duration versus mileage on 10/28/2011 11:06:12 MDT Print View

Advice please on the concept of training run duration versus mileage.

I've gotten where I can run 1 to 1.3 hours on two consecutive days. This was over a five month period. (Starting point was 0 hours.)

I want to keep increasing the time I run to reach my...

Ulitmate Dream Goal: be able to run 10 hours so I could complete a 50 miler.

(12 minutes per mile x 50 miles = 600 minutes = 10 hours)

How much time is reasonable to add over weekly or monthly training runs?

For example, over a period of 24 months, if every month I increase my longest training run(s) by about 23 minutes, I will reach about 10 hours.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: Re: training run duration versus mileage on 10/28/2011 12:46:59 MDT Print View

is this a race you have in mind ... or a run you made up ?
Are you talking about a road race ... or trail race ?
Every trail 50 mile race is different.
I say this because 10 hours is a good time in an average difficulty trail race, and a great time in a difficult trail race.
If it is an established trail race, then go here :
to look up your race and get a realistic idea of what's a decent time.

In a 50 mile race, its typical to run the second half 30-60 minutes slower than the first half, depending on your conditioning and whether you went out too fast.

Training should be done in cycles. 4 weeks is a typical short cycle, then you combine these into bigger cycles.
You should only increase your mileage (or time on your feet) by around 10% per short cycle. a 20% increase is pushing it.
The first 3 weeks should be at the cycles mileage target, then the 4th week should be lower, maybe 10% lower. this gives you a short rest break before upping your mileage in the next cycle.
etc ....... etc.

To get your mileage up, I would say do not worry about that 12 minute per mile target, just do long slow runs.

For your first 50 mile effort, I would suggest not even worrying about a time, especially your 10 hour target. Just finishing the entire 50 should be your goal.

Your longest run does not have to equal your target race, 50 miles. a bunch of 25 milers, and maybe a 30 miler or two will get you ready.

As others have said, time on your feet is key, so track both mileage and time on your feet.

Finally, if you have a specific course in mind, the best way to train, is to mirror that course as closely as possible in your training.

Edited by asandh on 10/30/2011 13:10:24 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Ultra race on 10/28/2011 12:54:21 MDT Print View

If you ever want to come to Scotland for an ultra, the West Highland Way Race is worth a shot. :)