Desert Solstice 100 Mile Track Meet Training

Recently I received an invite to participate in the Desert Solstice Track Meet. It is an event that is hosted in Phoenix, Arizona, on a 400-meter track. Their goal is to provide a venue in which ultra runners can chase fast times. After this Fall’s race schedule, I felt like I still have one more left in my legs for 2013, so I accepted the invite to go after a fast 100-mile time.

Per usual, I have been running a lot of miles, and my speedwork has been quite promising the past few months. I feel like I am in a pretty good spot to run a solid 100-mile race in a flat environment. My recovery has been really good the past couple months. I feel ready and excited.

Like any ultra race, specificity training is key to maximizing performance. My past few months have provided pretty good course-specific training, but I’d like to share one last-minute workout I did that will help get me in the mindset of looping around a track 402.5 times.

Saturday, November 23, 2013
Weather: 18 degrees, below-zero windchill (20+ mph), sunny

  • 3 mile warm-up on the roads heading toward the UW-Madison outdoor track
  • 17 miles on the track:
    1. 6:27.5
    2. 6:39.95
    3. 6:37.81
    4. 6:32.75
    5. 6:18.77
    6. 6:23.51
    7. 6:35.99
    8. 6:32.43
    9. 6:26.61
    10. 6:26.43
    11. 6:20.96
    12. 6:10.03
    13. 6:18.03
    14. 6:02.50
    15. 5:43.88
    16. 5:49.61
    17. 5:16.02
  • 2 mile cool-down on the roads

I was very optimistic after this workout. The weather was far from ideal, given the wind gusts, but fortunately the looping did not seem to be a big issue. I only really noticed the turning on laps that I dipped below a six-minute pace. Based on this workout, I think the hardest part will be holding back in the early stages of the race. The track is so fast that it becomes easy to dip down into a low six-minute pace without even realizing it. Couple this with the fact that this will be my first track 100-miler, so I really don’t have a good gauge of what I am capable of doing. Finding a pace that is not too aggressive will be key to not have to death march the final miles. But the uncertainty is exactly what makes the sport of ultrarunning so much fun!