How To Run for 24 Hours

I consider myself a marathoner more than I consider myself an ultra-marathoner, but I do enjoy the running and atmosphere that comes with the ultra.

In 2012 I ran the Back on my Feet 24 hour Lone Ranger. My goal was to reach 50 miles and I accomplished 50 miles in about 15 hours, not including the 2 hours worth of breaks.

In 2013 I DNF’d the Keys 50 miler after 30 miles due to heat exhaustion and sickness.

Also last year I signed up to do the Back on my Feet 24 hour run again, but it was cancelled by the city because of heat.

Yes, because it was hot. In July.

Runners were outraged at the cancellation and I even devoted an episode to it.

Due to the cancellation, my entry was deferred to this year when the race takes place on July 19-20th. So, as of this coming Monday I will have 20 weeks to race weekend.

My goal this year is to continue moving for the entire 24 hours.

How do you run for 24 hours?

Let me preface the answer to that question with this. I do not know how to run for 24 hours. Training is an art, and after doing some searches online for ultra-marathon training it seems that training for more than 30 miles is even more of an art form than training for a marathon.

So I present myself as a test subject…

I have become a stronger runner over the past year, but I will still need a whole lot of preparation for this run.

With that in mind, a few days ago I created a 20 week training plan. The plan only averages about 55 miles per week and peaks at 78 miles. The plan has me running six days a week on regular weeks and five days on cut back weeks. There is no speed work. Weekends involve at least two long runs. The schedule is open for a number of double workouts. And there is a three week taper leading up to race weekend.

But preparation for this race will be much more than miles per week.

The first thing I did was make the training plan flexible. It is important to get long runs in and good if I can get two or three long runs on back to back days. So if life is scheduled to interrupt my training I can shift days and still get the time on my feet.

Another thing that will be important during this training plan is when I do my runs. When training for a marathon I usually run first thing in the morning. Since I will be running for 24 hours I need to also run late at night when I can. I do not foresee this being too much of a problem since I am planning to get some miles in after my kids go to bed at night.

And that leads to the opportunity to do doubles. I can run in the morning and then run again after the kids settle into bed. Doing more than one workout a day will help me condition myself to running on tired legs.

The second most important thing to time on my feet is nutrition. Nutrition was my main problem in the Keys DNF. Since then I have tweaked my in-race nutrition and found some things that work. As I work through these following weeks I will need to experiment with things and see what else works and continue doing what I know works.

The key for me here is to eat early and eat often. I also take Endurolytes instead of using a sports drink. Those also need to be taken early and often. I can not wait too long to eat or drink because working from a deficit is impossible. Once my nutrition is too far gone there is no catching back up.

A nice thing about where I live is the loops I run in the neighborhood. I can set up a cooler in front of my house with ice and drink and food, run a loop or series of loops totaling anywhere from .70 miles to over 8 miles, and each time I pass my house I can take inventory of my body and do whatever is needed to continue to run.

There is a lot of math involved in running, and a lot of science involved in nutrition, but training is mostly an art. Every body is different and every runner needs to continue to experiment with his running to reach his best performance.

But the two most important things you need to prepare for a 24 hour run is to spend lots of time on your feet and hone in on your nutrition needs. The rest is just details.

As I said, I am going to be a test subject over the next 20 weeks. I will not update my training progress on a daily basis, but I will touch base every once in a while and tell you some of the things I have been doing and how it is all shaping up.

Hmm…maybe I’ll even put up a vlog about it or something.

And of course, come race weekend, I will talk all about my running and give a full race report.

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One Response to How To Run for 24 Hours

  1. Pingback: Episode 017 – The DNF Demon | The MidPack Podcast

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