Big Horn 100 Mile Training and Preparation: Part I
After running and completing the Grand Slam of Ultra Running in 2014 I needed a break from training and racing. In short I was burnt out and really didn’t have that drive or desire to dedicate myself to another race effort. Personally, the enjoyment I get out of running and racing is the preparation, training and if all goes well, the execution of a successful race. This is one of the reasons I don’t race as much as many other ultra and trail runners and don’t like to jump into a race just to do it.
After a year off of any serious training and racing in 2015 I’m now ready to get back into the swing of things. These past few months the urge and hunger to race again has slowly infiltrated my mind. I have decided that this year I will focus more on longer trail races. After talking to quite a few others asking for suggestions, several people mentioned Big Horn as a recommendation. Big Horn is one of the older 100 milers out there in it’s 13th year this year and the Big Horn Trail Races are in their 24th year.
The race is an out and back that runs through the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming.
As you can see there are some pretty long and steep climbs on the course even though the elevation isn’t too high. I still have to study the course a bit more but I already know that I will need to get my legs in shape to handle the pounding of the steep and possibly technical downhills. With the race taking place in late June I still have plenty of time to build on this area. I’m still finalizing the details of my training program but these first few months of the new year I’ll be focused on building a mileage base and strength training. I have found that gaining lower body strength for running uphills is easy to train for through weights, stair climber machines, incline runs on the treadmill and good old fashion hill repeats.
The challenge that our lowlanders have is getting our body’s, specifically our legs in shape to handle the pounding of long downhill stretches. Long technical downhill sections can turn your quads, ankles and feet into hamburger and send your race into a death march really quick. This is something that I have really been thinking a lot about since completing the Slam. I’ll post some of the things that I’m going to try in order to help address this problem. What training methods have you used to help with this?