Jul 5, 2010 12:11 PM
In two weeks I'll be running the Back On My Feet 20in24 race in Philadelphia. Specifically, I'll be running the Lone Ranger variant of the race which will have me running as many 8.4 mile laps as possible in 24 hours.
I've been running for quite a while, and I've done 8 marathons (3:16 PR), so I feel pretty comfortable at longer distances, but I've never done anything longer than 26.2 miles. For the 20in24 race, I'd like to complete 50 miles (I'm hesitant to call my attempt an ultra, because my plan of attack has me resting quite a bit). I was hoping I could get some comments on my preparations so far, as well as any tips from some of the more experienced runners out there.
I was injured earlier in the spring, so unfortunately my training plan wasn't quite as long as I would've hoped. I spent most of April and May coming back from an ankle injury and getting my base up enough so that I could at least comfortably run a half-marathon (I paced my sister to a 1:48 on a hot course with a few hills ...felt like I had plenty left at the end).
At the start of June, I really ramped up my mileage quite a bit. I tried to concentrate on running shorter distances (~8 miles) often with shorter recoveries between runs. Each week, I used Sunday as a "long day" where I would run 3 times within 12 hours. I started that day out at 15 miles and built it up to 30 miles. During the week (Mon-Fri), I would run twice a day. I usually had a shorter run and a longer run ... the shorter run being 4-5 miles and the longer run ranging from 6-8 miles. Saturdays I used as a cleanup day to get to any runs that I couldn't quite fit in during the week.
My initial plan was to build for 2 weeks, then rest, then build for another week and taper, but towards the end of week 2, I felt like my legs were recovering well, and I was training at a pace slower than what I was used to, so I skipped the down week. My weekly mileage progression went 65, 75, 85, 100. I actually felt better at the end of the 85 and 100 mile weeks than I did at the end of the 65 and 75 mile weeks. I'm now starting a taper where I'll run 60 miles this week (and cut to 1 run a day), and then 30 miles next week, which will lead me into the race that weekend.
For the race, I plan on running about a 10:00 / mile pace for the first few laps. That will get me around in about 1:25, then I'll take a 35 minute break and get out there again. I'll keep that going for as long as it feels comfortable (probably 3-4 laps I think), and then rest, run, and walk the remaining to get me up to the 50 miles.
I've got two concerns right now. One is that the closest I've come to 50 miles in a day is the 30 miles I did over 12-hours. I actually felt really good after that, and it didn't seem like another 20 over the next 12 hours would be a stretch at all. I've been pretty much running on fatigued legs that last 4 weeks, but still, I'm not sure how much the extra mileage will affect me. My hope is that with the breaks in between and the relatively slow pace, I'll be able to keep it going without too much issue. Does that seem realistic?
My second concern is the heat. We've been seeing close 100 degree days pretty regularly. I've made sure to do at least one run each day outside, but I've taken to the treadmill in the evenings, and sometimes just to escape the heat. The race does have an air-conditioned facility, so I will be able to take breaks (and showers even), in a cool environment, and I'll be bringing plenty of water and sports drink with me on every bit of each run. Are there any other tips for running longer distances in heat like that? I've never run with a running hat before, but I'm considering bringing one along to get some additional relief from the sun.
So is there any overall advice anyone can offer me? Does 50 miles seem realistic for how I've prepared so far? Does my run/rest strategy seem sound? And any tips, tricks, or unexpected pitfalls to look out for on my first foray beyond 26 miles?