Tip #1: Stay Flexible
Set a goal and then stay flexible. 100 miles is a long way, but an attainable goal over the course of a month. Getting started might be the toughest part of it all! Begin by breaking the numbers down: 25 miles per week is less intimidating and each week offers flexibility to run a few more or a few less miles. There is always a hump to get over with any new challenge and this is no different.
Commit for two weeks and I bet you'll be over the soreness, have established a routine, and will have begun reaping the rewards of positive and heathy changes. The final two weeks should be a blast!
Tip #2: Go-To Gear
I'm fortunate to work with several amazing companies whose ethos aligns with my own. So, what's my go-to gear and kit?
- Daily: Flora Floradix Iron + Herbs
- Race morning: Picky Bars Performance Granola
- Waist belt: Nathan VaporKrar WaistPak
- Nutrition: GU Roctane Summit Tea drink mix and Hoppy Trails gels
- Top & bottom: The North Face Better Than Naked
- Shoes: The North Face Flight RKT
- Socks: Smartwool® PhD® Pro Endurance
- On-the-go sustained energy: FBomb Salted Chocolate Macadamia nut butter
Tip #3: Consistency Trumps All
I like to say I've had several different running lives, from the track to the roads and finally to the trails and mountains where my heart truly belongs. Along the way I've learned that a strict and inflexible training regimen does me more harm than good, more often than not leaving me disappointed and irrationally hard on myself when I'm forced to deviate from the plan.
These days I embrace a very fluid and flexible training 'framework' with distinct goals and several paths to reaching them. In today's hectic, seemingly 24/7 society, allowing yourself to roll with the punches without feeling as though you are slacking or cutting corners will go a long way towards reaching your goals and establishing a healthy relationship with running.
Remember, consistency trumps all. When the day goes sideways and the long run you planned turns impossible, a short lap around the park is a whole lot closer to a long run than no miles at all. Consider your game plan as a "best case scenario" and be willing and able to compromise and adjust when needed.
You don't have to LOVE running all of the time – I sure don't. I love it some of the time, like it most of the time, and struggle to get out the door a decent amount of the time as well. Regardless of my mindset as I begin a run, I know I'll be a better person and more productive the rest of the day for it, and I use this as a motivator in fitting runs into my busy schedule.
It’s important to just keep chipping away no matter what life throws our way.
Tip #4: Rest & Recovery
Maybe the most underutilized and underappreciated component of a successful training and racing program is rest and recovery. There was a time in my running career, before I found my way on the trails, when an unscheduled day off seemed like the world was crashing around me – I'd be irrationally hard on myself and flooded with guilt and doubt.
Reflecting back to the last tip, embracing more fluid and flexible training includes a strong emphasis on respecting the signs and signals my body, mind and spirit are telling me. These days an unscheduled rest day is an opportunity to catch up on life, reflect and rejuvenate. Without fail I return the next day happier and healthier for it.
With so many new trail and ultra-running races added to the calendar each year, the sport has quickly become a year-round activity and the risk of overtraining and over racing has followed suit. I tend not to be a prolific racer, understanding the toll it takes on my body, and also appreciating that the process of arriving to a starting line is as much, if not more, satisfying than the race itself. The longer the race and further you go into the well, the more cautious and likely longer your recovery should be.
Everyone is different and there are certainly exceptions but think more in terms of weeks rather than days, after the longest distances, especially 100 mile races. No one has ever regretted taking an extra week of recovery, but many have regretted taking one week too few of recovery.
Tip #5: Maintaining Motivation
Whether you have already hit your goals or still have a ways to go, be proud of yourself for getting out the door. Making it over the hump of soreness and fatigue is the path to start appreciating the feel of your fitness, use this as fuel and motivation to keep at it. Importantly, remember to reflect and begin thinking about how you will carry the momentum when you set out to reach your next goal. Onward!
Thanks to Rob for sharing some awesome tips! Want to learn more about Rob Krar? Check out this video.