Saturday morning is supposed to be a 20-mile training run according to my over the counter training regiment for the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Instead, I will up the ante and attempt my first ultramarathon. My decision to run the Lake Hodges 50K has been inspired in part by the many endurance athletes that I learn about everyday here at Active.com. My other source of motivation comes from my lack of experience at such high mileage. In fact, leading up to this point, I have never logged a run greater than 18 miles. The decision to go even farther is not made in haste; it is based on careful research into ultra events. I've formulated a game plan that will take me to the finish line without risking my health for the race in June.
First and foremost, I have already run the entire race course in sections. I can visualize my approach while maintaining a psychological edge when the going gets tough. Secondly, my goal to cross the finish line within an eight-hour limit requires a pace that is faster than 15 minutes per mile. This is easily achieved by utilizing the keystone of this plan; the 5-to-1 ratio. After each five minute interval of running, I will walk for one minute and repeat this method for the five or more hours that it takes to cross the finish line, all the while conserving energy for later in the race by avoiding running up steep hills.
This race will also serve as a test of my in-race nutrition. I will finally be able to experience the stress on my gastrointestinal system (GI), while ingesting water and endurance fuel for a prolonged period of time. I'll have a water bottle strapped to each hand. The first bottle will contain plain water which I will refill at the seven aid stations throughout the race. The second water bottle will be a highly concentrated blend of two endurance formulas containing a 7-to-1 carbohydrate-to-soy protein ratio. This fuel also contains all the necessary electrolytes and calories, allowing me to travel without any other fuel. At the 16.2-mile aid station, friends will bring my drop bag containing fresh running socks, shirt, hat, sunscreen, Aleve and more endurance fuel for the remaining 15 miles of the course.
My nine weeks of conditioning, experience on the race course, in-race nutrition plan, support crew and will to succeed should be all I need to achieve my goal of finishing the ultramarathon. I hope to better understand how my body will react during the stress of prolonged activity and high mileage. I will then apply this knowledge and make the necessary adjustments to both my training regimen and my in-race nutrition to handle the intensity of a faster pace during the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in nine weeks. Check back on Monday for a recap of this event and find out how it all plays out.