This is my original post from my blog, How to Run Your First Ultra
Preparing for any major ultra, especially 100 milers, requires a huge investment of time and energy, not to mention the cost of traveling to the race.  If I am going to go to all that effort and expense, I want to make my chances of success as high as possible.  The more knowledge I have about any particular race and the conditions I can expect to encounter, combined with other pertinent information the greater the chances of success.

To that end, I subscribe to Ultrarunner and Trail Runner Magazines and read them from cover to cover.  Yes, I have learned a lot form both publications, and from a few web sites, but most of the information I actually use while training or racing came from other trail runners.  All of us have experimented with shoes, equipment, food, electrolytes, and so on.  We have learned what actually works for us and what does not.  I hope this will be a forum to share our "hard learned" knowledge.

For me, the most valuable information comes from "middle-of-the-pack" runners as well as those of us who sometimes find ourselves racing the cutoffs. In 2009, I went to the June training camp for the Leadville 100 trail run held in August. Sunday night, following the days run from Twin Lakes, over Hope Pass to Winfield, and back, I attended a forum with eight or ten locals who had finished 10 or more Leadville 100 races. The founder of the event, Ken Chlouber, was introducing Duncan Callahan, the winner of the race the previous year, and comparing his finish time to one of older 10+ time finishers. He said something like this: “After Duncan finished, he could have rested a while, gone back to his room and taken a shower, had a big meal at a restaurant, slept 8 hours, had breakfast and come back to the finish line in time to see – (Pointing at the older runner, probably as old as me) – John finish.” (I actually do not know the name of the person Ken was pointing at, but “John” will do.) Of course, everyone had a big laugh, but it was true. Duncan could have actually done all that.

In the 2008 Leadville Trail 100 Run this was critical. Duncan finished before the severe weather hit which knocked out so many runners. The later finishers encountered intense lightning, hail, snow, freezing temperatures, and torrential rain during the latter stages of the race. I do not know for sure about all runners, but I do know that I run so slow in long trail races that I generate very little additional body heat to help keep warm. When I was younger, I could run a 10K or even a marathon in nothing but shorts and a long sleeve “cotton” shirt in sub-freezing temperatures and never be cold.

This example of Duncan and “John” is a good one. The guys up front racing for the win in15 or 18 hours do not experience the same problems or fatigue those of us running 26, 30 or even 48 hours, as I probably will, if I ever get in Hardrock. We are running twice a long and therefore have a much greater chance of blisters, stomach problems, joint injuries, dehydration, hypothermia and the list goes on and on. These middle-of-the-pack and back-of-the-pack runners are the runners I want to help because that is the type of runner I am.

Training for your First 50K - 2012
Selecting the Right First 50K
Tapering and Race Preparation
Recovery From Your First Ultra
Where do you start?
Where do you start - Part 2
Training - Myths and Misconceptions
A few more notes on training – The Long Run
A Little Cross Training
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Running at Night
Expect the unexpected
Running your first 50K
50K to 100 Miles - Training for the Pinhoti 100
The Pinhoti 100 to the Leadville 100
From Leadville to the Wasatch 100
Training by Racing
To Fall or Not to Fall,  That is the Question
Breathing Patterns - A Key to Increased Endurance
Breathing During a Race - the Cheaha 50K
Trail Runners Run Trails
Heat and Humidity
Recovery from a 100 Miler
Training by Racing - Updated
C25K - What a great idea
Some New Thoughts on Preparation for a 100 miler
More Thoughts on Preparing for the Next 100
C25K, How about 5K242K(marathon)2Ultra
C25K, How about 5K242K(marathon)2Ultra - Part II

How to Survive an Ultra and Long Training Run
How to run the Run for Kids 50K or any 50K
Staying Hydrated - What I have learned in  5 years
Hydration and Electrolytes - Original Post
Fueling during the race + How to make a PBH sandwich.
Managing all the STUFF in a 50K.
Managing Stuff for the Long Runs and Races
Products I Really Like and other stuff
Running and Bad Weather, FUN!
Electrolytes and Hydration During Long Runs

Equipment for Ultrarunning
Long Ultras - What will you need, Where?
Hydration Packs and Belts, What works best?
Running at Night
Trekking Poles
Hydration and Electrolytes
Article in Trail Runner - Online: Water Bottles

Base Layers in the cold.
Equipment for Ultrarunning Revisited
A little more on Layers

Injuries, Obvious and Not-So-Obvious
Conditions - More running related problems
Injuries, Subtle to Obvious (Like a Sledgehammer)
Calf Pain that feels like you just ripped a muscle
Toenail Problems and Blisters.

A Moment of Enlightenment - Again
A Running Legend, Rick Trujillo
Ultra runners may have "Traumatic Brain Injury"
Almost Halloween,
A Great Experience for Ultrarunners - Volunteer

Running That First 50K
Steps to running a 100 miler - Part 1
Preparing for the Pinhoti 100 - Part 2
More Preparation for the Pinhoti 100 - Part 3
Expect the unexpected
Fueling in the Long Ultra
How to Properly Use and Aid Station Stop
Figuring Out How to run Wasatch
How I run 100 miles - The Wasatch 100 - the First 50 miles
Wasatch, the first 53 miles - the Pictures.
The Last 50 miles of Wasatch
More from Wasatch
More Wasatch - Water, Electrolytes, Food
Rules for the Trail
A Few New Techniques for The Rocky Raccoon 100
How Not to Run a 50 Mile Trail Race
Aid Stations - The Normal Ones
Aid Stations - Leadville - The Amazing Ones
Aid Stations - In a class by themselves
Trail Runners Run Trails
Ultra Aid Stations from Ultrarunning Magazine
A few Tips on Technique: Falling, Up hill, etc.
Getting Started By Gary Cantrell- Article from Ultrarunning
Weight Change During a 100-Mile Race by Marty Hoffman
A Little Experimenting with VESPA
Training by Racing - Updated
Time for a New Plan: Fueling and Hydration failure
Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Race Report
Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Race Report, Lap One
Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Race Report, Lap Two.
Things You Might Want to Add to you Drop-Bag
Dump the GU's

Hardrock 100
A Moment of Enlightenment
Still Hope for 2012 and Hardrock
Run for Kids Challenge 2011
Hardrock 100 Trail Work
Pictures form the Hardrock 100 course.
Tahoe Rim Trail 100
Link to some of the pictures I took during Tahoe
Run for Kids Challenge 2012
Upcoming 21K-50K in the Birmingham area

You may be an ultrarunner if:
T-Shirt Etiquette
Below are links to most of the posts I have done on my blog.  I am trying to present them in a more accessible format.  It is a work in process.
I will be adding the rest of the links as fast as I can.  I am trying to review each post, fix the mistakes I can find and update each.  It will take a while.
How to Run Your First Ultra
This page was last updated: April 19, 2012