"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How Some Sawtooth Finishers Trained

Whenever someone thinks about 100 mile races for the first time, the question that immediately arises is: "How in the world would you train for that?" There isn't much good information available on the internet (including the training schedule I posted and which has been viewed 2000 times so far) and those who've finished tend to say unhelpful things like, "You just have to find what works for you."

Three guys who finished last week's Superior Sawtooth 100 for the first time know each other - two finished together - and all their training runs are available at DailyMile. They're Jordan Hanlon, Ed Sandor and Ben Bruce. Here's a photo of the three at the start (stolen from Sandor's blog):

Ed, Ben, Jordan
DailyMile doesn't separate running from cycling miles in totals, and one has to look at each workout individually to see if it was done on road or trail, whether steady or with added speed work, etc., so some of the numbers, if you try to crunch them, look wrong. Because most people who read this blog aren't members of DM, here's a short breakdown of their training, starting with the race and working backward week by week to Grandma's Marathon, which all three ran in June. Each week for each runner averaged 4 runs; long runs and races are listed, but other runs are not.


100 in 30:21 (Superior)
42 in 6:08 with 19.69 in 2:44
36 in 5:37 with 3 in 17 (race?); 16.66 in 2:24
40 in 4:03
40 in 4:58 with 19.3 in 2:26; 10 in 69 (race?), 10K in 43 (race?)
78 (8 runs) with 19 in 2:55
36 in 5:27 with 26.2 in 3:14 (Grandma's)

It's important to put the marathon into context. The week prior, he ran the Kettle Moraine 100 in 27:25. He ran a marathon in 2:45 earlier in the year. Hanlon also did 3 cycling workouts (total, not per week).


100 in 34:35 (Superior)
33 in 4:59
83 in 11:49 with 50 in 7:53 (Lean Horse)
40 in 6:18
101 in 19:09 with 15.5 in 2:59
44 in 6:56 with 15 in 2:28
72 in 11:51 with 30 in 6:26
42 in 4:23
80 in 13:03 with 30 in 5:06
41 in 5:36 with 31.1 in 5:12 (Afton)
60 with 15 in 2:15
44 with 26.2 in 2:56 (Grandma's)

Bruce, a triathlete by background, did more runs per week than the other two did, every other week.


100 in 34:35 (Superior)
43 in 6:16 with 23.66 in 3:25
64 in 10:04 with 21.17 in 2:56
72 in 10:15
42 in 5:42
41 in 6:27 with 18 in 2:36
59 in 12:32 with 50 in 11:23 (Voyageur); 4.7 in 36 (trail race)
38 in 5:20 with 16.73 in 2:19
20 in 2:52
72 in 10:41 with back-to-back: 22.58 in 3:23; 22.58 in 3:45
66 in 10:13 with 23.14 in 3:40
44 in 6:31 with 20.4 in 2:55
39 in 5:33 with 26.2 in 3:43 (Grandma's)
So what can one learn from this? You don't have to do high mileage. You don't have to do a lot of very long runs. You don't have to run every day. It helps to be a fast marathoner!


JojaJogger said...

I respectfully disagree about the fast marathoner part. I finished 66% (2 out of 3) of the 100 milers I started and I'm a 5+ hour marathoner. I will admit that my events were "easy" 100 milers. For me the most important requirement is stubbornness :)

SteveQ said...

@JojaJogger: I didn't say it was necessary, just that it helps. Could you have finished if you ran like Hanlon, with no long runs and only five weeks of training? I think not. But, being fast, he could. That was the point I was trying to make.

Ross said...

One might also conclude from this trio that it helps to be young!

JojaJogger said...

It looks like it also helps if you have facial hair!

SteveQ said...

Facial hair didn't help me there!

Some have finished with just one long slow run every week, some with consistent mileage and no long runs and now there's evidence that being young and fast means you don't need either. There's 100 ways to run 100 miles!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Uh, technically, this isn't a breakdown of their training but rather a breakdown of their training runs, right? Unless it's your position that what foax eat, how much rest they get, when they run, where they run, etc., is irrelevant?

That's not your position, it it?

Because, speaking analogically, what you got up there is "How Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in a season" with no mention of the juicing ... er, "nutritional supplements". And some might claim that the juicing ... er, "nutritional supplements" ... was/were the most important part(s) of the training.

Also important? Abstaining from sex because your testicles have shrunk to the size of raisins. (The raison-testicles thing is probably the single biggest contributing factor to 'Roid Rage. Well ... that and the 'roids..)

Edward said...

Wow those are three good looking guys! ;)

I like the saying, "Distance running is 90% mental, and 10% mental."

Jordan are fast mofos. I'm not (see, e.g., my marathon PR 3:43 compared to Jordan's 2:45 and Ben's 2:55). But Ben and I pushed for the same finish at Sawtooth, never being more than 40ft away on the course.

Anyway, that running you see in Steve's post is 95% of my training. Otherwise, I eat and sleep what and when I can. I'm really getting very little "other" exercise. But both Ben and Jordan have had periods of really heavy, structured training, and I think the point the Steve alludes to is right, though. All of their heavy, structured training was to get faster, be it for marathons or triathlons. Ultra training, at least to us, is just about surviving to the finish. It's more mental than anything else; that mentality to never give up. Training is more about making that 100 miles more comfortable than anything else; figuring out what works and what doesn't so there'll be fewer surprises come race day.

If anyone has any questions about anything, feel free to ask!

And thanks for the fame, Steve!

Jordan Hanlon said...

Thanks for the 15 minutes of fame Steve. I do agree that it is not necessary to be fast or young to finish a 100 miles but it sure doesn't hurt, stubbornness definitely helps. It is true that this is only a glimpse of the total effort of what goes into completing a 100 miler but I thought you proved a point that you don't have to do crazy amounts of miles and that there really is 100's of ways to run 100 miles.

To give a bit more info of my dietary efforts, I did a post on my daily diet, I also keep a sleep log so if anyone is really interested you can email me.

Thanks again for the recognition, I am considering shaving the facial hair for next year so we can isolate that variable next.

SteveQ said...

So, who linked to this from Facebook? 70 hits in one day from there!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Well, it wasn't me. (Re: FB link. FB = Evil, according to Teh 'B.)

Re: Your comment: Shows what I know. I was convinced the Twins would be making a run at the division title by now; they started to have a comeback a couple months into the season.

In the NL, the Reds, Padres and Rockies are similarly mired in mediocrity after relatively good years last year. Reds actually won their division last year.

The only surprise team that had staying power was the DBacks. The Pirates faded, as did the Indians.

Of course if the Cards overtake the Braves and/or TB catches the BoSox, that'd be a surprise.

After baseball, I don't care about any other professional sport.

Yes, I realize it is a gross understatement to imply the Twins' year was "mediocre". It wasn't even that good.

Edward said...

Jordan and I both threw it up on our Facebook profiles.

Scott said...

I use RunningAhead and I'm not sure if its public or not, but I should have you look at my training plans for my last 50- and 100-mile races and see what your conclusion is. Mine is that if I put in miles and lots of cross-training for balance and plyometrics (2009 Superior Trail 50 mile), I have a great race and finish mid-pack. And if I don't put in the miles, just really want to finish, and am willing to suffer (2010 Zumbro 100, 2011 Superior Trail 100) I can finish at the back of the pack. Tough call between which is the healthier approach and best value for spending of free time.