Oh sh*t guys, I’m running a 100 miler: How to do it and not die

Well, I did it.

I finally hit “register” on my first 100 miler. I’ve been talking about this for a while, but always felt like I never had enough time to dedicate to training for a race of this magnitude. The reality of the situation is that I will never have an ideal schedule, I have to make it a priority and hold myself accountable. Nothing holds you accountable like shelling out $350. Or just the fact that I’m running 100 miles.


100 MILES. IN ONE DAY. $%&@.

As some of you may know, my life goal is to qualify to run the Western States 100. Why? This race is one that is particularly special to me, given the family ties of runners past, and the fact that it runs along the route of some of my favorite places in California, to include Squaw Valley, Foresthill, and Auburn, on trails I grew up running and watching my dad run. I started working toward my goal last year when I signed up for my first ultra marathon, the American River 50, a great qualifier course for the WS. I needed to run two 50 milers in one calendar year, both under 11 hours in order to qualify. While this was part of my goal, I was more focused on finishing the race healthy. I clocked in a little under 12 hours last year, and I was okay with that. It gave me a great idea of what to expect of the trails over that distance, and more importantly, it showed me that I could have cut a couple minutes off my mile pace. I was surprisingly fresh at the finish (relative of course!), and I knew that I would have no problem crushing the qualifying time for my next 50 milers or 100 miler.

This year, I have decided to get a 100 miler under my belt to see how I feel. I am running Rio del Lago, which covers some of the same trails used by the Western States. While it is not a qualifying course for the 2015 Western States, its a great course to give me more experience on running those trails, and actually running them at night. I have decided that 2013 and 2014 are my years to set my base and learn my limits, and 2015 will be the year to qualify.

Below is the course information to include the elevation gain/loss and course map. I am so excited to be back on these trails! So many great memories were made on them.

EGMap RDL100mapYou are probably thinking… HOW on earth do you train for this, and is 6 months enough? If you are a regular runner (running at least 4-5 times a week, or training for smaller races like marathons and halfs) you are fine to begin a 26 week program.

I wrote the following for myself, given that I have fallen off the wagon these past few months, so its basically “Couch to 100 Miles”. Yep. Judge me.


Rule of thumb: when you begin to add mileage in this amount, it is important to not amp it up right away, and also allow easy weeks in order to prevent injury and allow time for your body to recover before your next spike in mileage. Remember, it is always about the quality of your runs over the quantity.

That said, for you over achievers or procrastinators, heed my advised plan for the 3 week taper. No fitting in last minute miles you failed to complete, no adding in more miles because you really want to hit it hard. NO.

So how fast Mandy?

For those of you that are time obsessed, you are just going to have to get over it at first. Brace yourselves: Mile time is irrelevant for the most part. WTF right? Seriously though. When it comes to running ultras, it’s more about the time on your feet than your actual pace. Your pace will get faster over time as you increase your mileage and get stronger. The key to finishing an ultra is staying injury free and being consistent. My dad and his friends completed several 100 milers and countless ultras on 50-60 miles a week.

So who’s ready to sign up for a 100 miler? 🙂




  1. June 14, 2014 / 3:21 am

    OMG! Love your positive post. Good luck on your 100 miler! That weekly mileage is amazing.. how do you have time?!

    • June 16, 2014 / 7:03 pm

      Hey thanks! It’s all about carving out the misused time in your day and putting it to running. How often have you sat around the house after work decompressing, or just playing on the computer? I do this A LOT, and found that if I just make a plan, put it in my calendar, and know what I am going to do on my way home, it becomes easier, and becomes a routine eventually 🙂 I am looking forward to really sticking with this plan!

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