Fall 50 Training Strategies

When I signed up for the Fall 50, I spent a great deal of time reflecting on where I was lacking at The North Face 50-miler. I decided to improve on two aspects of ultra distance running: mental focus and strength.

I addressed strength by reintroducing high-repetition leg weightlifting, a lunge/box step/squat routine, and more ultra-specific running workouts. My best example of such training goes as follows: Three weeks before race day I did back-to-back 30-mile days. The second of these days consisted of 75 trips up and down City Park Hill in Marinette, WI. These consecutive 30-milers were coupled with the aforementioned leg strengthening routine each day. Needless to say, when I woke up at 5 a.m. Monday morning to go for a 10-mile easy run my legs were a little sluggish. My belief here was that three weeks would give me both time to recover and benefit from this round of workout. This idea was thoughtful. I had recalled earlier in the summer when I ran a 171-mile week, which culminated with 55 miles in two days at Lepham Peak in Kettle Moraine, WI. Two weeks after this intense training week, running long distances seemed much less fatiguing. In the past when I would go for a 20 mile run, I would notice that after mile 18 I had to focus much harder to maintain the pace I started. This was no longer the case once I had fully had recovered from my 171-mile week. I was hoping to replicate this advantage when I planned out my weeks leading up to Fall 50.

The mental focus part of my training, in my opinion, was equally as important. At The North Face–Madison I failed to meet the mental demands that an ultramarathon can, and likely will, throw at you. If you read my entry for that race you will get a better look at what obstacles presented themselves during the race. After reflecting on these obstacles, I realized I had fallen short of what I am capable of mentally when it comes to wrapping one's mind around running for a quarter of the day. I needed to keep my mind “on” for the entire race, regardless of position, time or uncertainty. I feel like just understanding this was a huge wake-up call, which resulted in a much better prepared mind when Fall 50 race day arrived.