My First 30 Mile Ultra-Run / Walk

I am nearly done with my 10,000 meter vertical gain challenge for August and I’m getting excited about my next challenge – my first ultra-run! It will be much more like an ultra-walk I’m sure, but just the idea of doing 30 miles in a row is mind-numbing to me because I never had the urge to go farther than the 15 miles I’ve run in the past. That was my longest run ever – somewhere around 15 miles. Thirty miles is twice that, and will be much more difficult.

Still, I’m excited about it and I’m thinking a bit tonight about how I should train for it. The fact that in August as I do this 10,000 meter challenge I am also running a LOT on the mountain is a good thing. I’ve run already 130 kilometers. That’s around 20 miles per week. That’s pretty good, considering I really do think I’ll be walking most of my first ultra-distance trek. See, I’m not even calling it an ultra-run because I’m damn sure it will be an ultra-walk with some light jogging thrown into the mix. If I run too much, I’ll hurt myself and screw up the October challenge, whatever that becomes. I haven’t thought ahead that far yet. If it isn’t raining too much, I think I might try to forge a trail up a 1,400 meter mountain that nobody climbs any longer. There are bears and all sorts of beasties up there, so I’ll think carefully about it. It does seem to be calling me.

So, I finish up this 10,000 meter vertical challenge on 31 Aug. I’ll have a decent month of workouts behind me, and I’ll need to ramp it up on the flats. My 30 mile attempt will be at a flat park that has a paved path. I am not sure yet whether to walk mostly on the paved path, or the grass beside it. I think the grass will actually make it harder for walking that far. It’s soft and muddy in some places. It is not flat by anyone’s estimation, it’s quite uneven. I’d better use the path primarily and the grass to change things up every couple of laps.

My goal is somewhere around 7 hours. Up to 10 hours would be OK. I could even rest for an hour and see how I felt if I was struggling, but I think that would be counter-productive in the end. Better to take short rest breaks of 5-10 minutes max.

I have a friend that doesn’t do anything physical that told me he was SURE he could walk 30 miles, he said he “just wouldn’t stop.” I don’t discount what he said. He’s from Poland, and Americans, if we know anything at all, we know not to gloss over what Eastern Europeans say they can do. They are a tough group!

Still, I’m going to do this 30 miles (50 kilometers) in a good time so he can’t replicate it. Literally, he doesn’t do a damn thing all day, so if he decides to take a crack at my time, I don’t want him to be within a couple of hours of it!

So, back to thinking about training.

Sept 1-7 I’ll probably walk daily, maybe take a rest once during the week. I’ll walk on the grass primarily to keep stress injuries down. There is no goal of speed for the miles I put in as I ramp up to the 30 mile attempt. I think I’ll do something like:

Day 1 – 5 miles walking and running
Day 2 – 6 miles walking
Day 3 – rest
Day 4 – 6 miles walking with some running
Day 5 – 4 miles walking
Day 6 – 4 miles easy
Day 7 – 12 miles at decent pace

About 37 miles for the week. That would be good. Maybe the following week do a couple long ones with a rest day between them?

That’s as far as I am right now. The rest I’ll decide as I see how I am feeling and what niggling injuries are on the cusp of becoming full-blown problems.

I won’t do more than one long walk maybe around 18 miles before I attempt the 30 miles because I don’t want / need any injuries. I really want to do this in September by the end of the month. I could do it anytime though, and the way I am, I might get cocky and just go for it two weeks into the month if I’m feeling good.

My current weight is 73KG – about 161 lbs. I feel really good. This 10,000 meter challenge has built my fitness up WELL over the past 3 weeks. Assuming I hold together and can complete it by Aug 31, this next ultra challenge shouldn’t be THAT difficult. I am expecting to hate it… but that’s just because it will be so far out of the realm of exercise that I’m accustomed to. Once I do it, I’ll focus on doing 50 miles at some point. Not October, but maybe early 2015. I’d also LOVE to find a 30 mile ultra-run race through the mountains within the next 3-4 months. I am ready to take the next step into ultra-running lunacy.

If anyone reading this will be in Thailand over the next few months, you’re welcome to meet me in Krabi and do some training run/walks with me. In particular I absolutely LOVE climbing the mountain peak trail. It’s 6 miles (10km) and technical, with 1,500 feet elevation gain, but it’s a picture perfect run (hike) and you’ll be happy you did it.

Ok, cheers then. Basically this entire post was just thinking to myself!

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