Ultra Runners

Straight To 100?

posted over 8 years ago | Report

Assuming proper training, is jumping in straight to a 100 miler an overly bad idea?

Maybe augment that with a 50 miler as a long training run?

I'm planning on stepping into ultras next spring or so, and was just trying to plan out a goal race or two. Any thoughts or suggestions from a veteran would be helpful.


12 posts

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  • You probably wouldn't be the first to do this, but I would highly recommend a 50K leading to a 50M leading to a 100M.

    posted over 8 years ago | Report

  • Yeah, I agree. I am anxious too about doing my first 100, but I have 30K's, 50K's and a 50 miler to get thru first. I hear they can be brutal, first 50 miles physical.....last 50 mental. Good luck and knock it out of the park.

    posted over 8 years ago | Report

  • Thanks for the responses. I know the wise thing to do is work up to a hundred miler by doing shorter distances first. Really what my issue comes down to is time and money. I live in an area that doesn't seem to have too many ultras close by, and I don't have the time or money to travel all around for them. I would like to run a hundred next summer or fall, but finding those shorter distances to use as training is tough.

    Thanks again for the advice!

    posted over 8 years ago | edited over 8 years ago | Report

  • I can weigh in a bit from experience. I jumped pretty head first into ultras when I did a 12 hour fun run with my brothers, not even really thinking about "doing an ultra" at the time. My furthest run previously was under 14, but I hit 53 miles. I had been training probably 10-20 miles a week at the time. I signed up for a 24 hour run 3 months later figuring I could hit 100, but crashed hard around 17 hours in and stopped at 73 miles because I had gone too fast early on for the training I had. I didn't do much until I entered the same 24 a year later, and got over 100 because I paced myself a lot better and added in walking breaks from the beginning.

    I think that might be a good way of putting my advice to you. There shouldn't be anything to stop you from jumping into a 100, as there's no doubt in my mind you could do it if you want it more than the pain you'll surely encounter. But also realize you'll be missing out on experience that makes success far more likely. Talk to a lot of people and take to heart their advice about pacing, nutrition, determination, and everything else. A 50 miler is just a marathon with walking and eating, but a 100 miler is something entirely different from a 50.

    The 50 as training would probably be a good thing, as it'll help give you an idea of a good number of things you'll need to get down for the 100.

    posted over 8 years ago | edited over 8 years ago | Report

  • Hey Spencer,
    I just did my first Ultra a few weeks ago. It was a 50-miler. I had not done any long races prior. Not even a marathon. So it is possible. My mileage over the summer was around 40-50 per week, with a few 20 milers in there on the week ends. My recovery has been a little slow. All the advice i got before was run a few shorter races and build up. Like 50k's and marathons. Not really advice, but my experience.

    Todd Foster

    posted over 8 years ago | Report

  • i can relate to the money issue. i get around that by setting up my own adventures and events. i too am gunning for my first 100 in 2010.

    posted over 8 years ago | Report

  • I only have one 50k under my belt but I learned so much from it that will benefit me in the next ultra this summer, a 50miler.

    You can read all of the nutrition and hydration literature on ultras you want but it's really a personalized outcome and you'll need to know yourself going into a 100.

    posted over 8 years ago | Report

  • I would strongly advise against a 100 as the first ultra. The 100 is more than twice as hard as a 50 mile race.

    posted over 8 years ago | Report

  • I'm sure you've long since made your decision, but thought I'd throw my 2 cents in anyway. It depends a lot on your own mental makeup. It is a given that everything depends on the training, and if you're going to jump straight to 100, you should definitely run at least 50 if not more in some training runs. You should also have run several sets of back to back long runs to help simulate what you will face in the later miles of the 100. If we assume that you'll get the proper training, you will learn how to pace yourself, feed yourself and stay hydrated in training. If you are the type person who can't help but get excited and go too fast when in a competitive environment, then you will not be successful jumping straight to the 100. If you are the type runner who is going to go at your own pace regardless, then there is no reason you can't jump straight to the 100. The race is nothing more than another run. You just happen to get a belt buckle or a t-shirt at the end.

    posted about 8 years ago | Report

  • I jumped into the fray in '07 and attempted the LT100 that summer. Honestly, there are people out there that can make this happen. I was not one of them. Made it to 73 then dropped due to a myriad of problems.

    My advice would be to be sure that you have ample training under your belt and that you have ramped up slowly to ensure that you do not end up injured. If you give yourself enough time and have the right mental fortitude, you can certainly do it and not come out damaged. Other than you will want to do more, which is a little damaged. ;-)

    posted about 8 years ago | Report

  • In 1994 wasatch 100 was my first organized footrace. I finished. It was unimaginable hell. But I finished. I had started running just two years before, no other ultras (back then there just weren't any close by. No squaw peak 50, nothing). I did do a grand canyon doublecross the year before, about killed me. Pathetic 15 hours. But I was stubborn, and as RD John Grobben says, I was comfortable with being uncomfortable. Do it. Good luck. It will hurt like hell.

    posted about 8 years ago | Report

  • I have somewhat of a different take. I went from couch to 50 miler in approximately 7 months. Now I am running 100 miler 8 months after that. I have never run a marathon. I think sometimes as runners we all suffer from paralysis by analysis. That is, we (including me) read all the blogs that we should run for x amount of years before trying 100. Then we begin to put all type of mental limitations on ourselves.

    I know you can go straight to 100 if you are mentally at peace with it. Be smart about it, but trust yourself.

    Of course, I know physically I will fall apart several times during the 100, but mentally I know I can weather the storm.

    Good luck.

    posted almost 8 years ago | Report

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