Last week we shared the stories of Christy Howard and Steve Carr, both of whom are training for the Indiana Trail 100 this month. (You can check out that post here.) And we know what everyone is thinking; how do you train for something like that?! (It’s sooo far.)
With a race of this distance, it is easy to overdo it on your mileage and get injured. IT100 Race Director, Mike Pfefferkorn shared that he has missed eleven of his own 100 mile races due to injury.
“You need to train consistently while balancing the possibility of over-training and subsequent injury,” he said. “I never quite learned that one.”
But it’s also easy to feel unprepared going into a race that could span over 24 hours. So what is the sweet spot?
“There are many 100 mile training plans online and some of those are used quite often with great success. Additionally, word of mouth from training partners who have 100 mile experience is also very helpful, with the understanding that everyone is different,” Pfefferkorn shared.
“It’s not complicated. You have to train the mind and body, as it takes both to be successful. You have to train when you’re uncomfortable, sore, and tired. Several back to back long run weekends are essential for most ultra runners. A common example among the 3RRC Ultra Team training for a 100 miler would be 30 miles on Saturday and 20 miles on Sunday during peak training periods (a month or so out from the event).
Experimenting and learning what nutrition and hydration strategies work for you is important.
Understanding that you’re going to have bad patches during the 100 miler and figuring out how to work through those is required.
Flexibility of your training schedule is necessary but you still have to put in the work. There are several variations for 100 mile training but the common denominator is hard work and discipline.”
These principles haven’t been lost on Steve Carr. Now only two weeks out from the race, he is backing down on mileage to make sure he is ready for race day. We asked him what a week looks like in his shoes (so to speak) while he is in peak training mode, which is usually about 4 to 6 weeks from race day.
“I work a full time job that keeps me on the road about 1200 miles a week so I like to get my workouts in after work so that I can stretch my legs. That and I really am not an early morning person.
- Monday – 45 minutes on the elliptical to shake my legs out from the weekend
- Tuesday – 4 miles of hills at our local mountain bike trail
- Wednesday – 15 miles of fairly flat trails
- Thursday – 6 miles of intervals
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – 30 miles at Chain O’Lakes (site of the Indiana Trail 100)
- Sunday – 20 miles
I have been very fortunate that my wife Kathy is so supportive. Between work and training, I’m not home much to take care of a “Honey-do” list. She holds down the fort so that I can continue my journey.”
In ultra marathoning, a support system is absolutely crucial. Both Steve and Christy are lucky enough to have spouses who not only understand but embrace this crazy world.
“Every ultra I have done, my husband Jr has been there the whole time. Every aid station he would be there to crew, support, and encourage me,” she said. “I am so excited that my he will be pacing me the last loop of the IT100 and crossing the finish line with me at my first 100.”
Jr will not only be there for race day, but has joined Christy for much of her training, which is no small feat. Here is what a week looks like during her peak training:
“A week in my life goes pretty much like this:
- Monday – Yin Yoga & rest from running
- I work Monday through Friday 8-5 as a nurse so my running a lot of time has to be split between before and after work.
- Tuesday (5-8 miles)
- Run @ 5 am
- Wednesday – 8-13 miles split between morning & evening
- Thursday (5-8 miles)
- Run @ 5 am
- Friday – Yin Yoga & rest from running
- Saturday – Long Run @Chain O’ Lakes (17-38 miles)
- Sunday – Long Run (8-17 miles)
We are just over two weeks away from this year’s Indiana Trail 100; make sure to follow along as we document the journey to 100 miles!
The IT100 is still looking for volunteers – you can find more info here or email Jerry Diehl at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.
written by Lynn Altevogt