Posts Categorized: Running and Training

Wildfire and wildfire smoke seem to be the biggest reason races are cancelled in the Western US right now. Smoke used to roll through the small towns bordering wild lands, now smoke blankets major metropolitan areas for weeks cancelling events from 5k’s to ultramarathons. A cancelled race pales in comparison to the devastation experienced by people and land that suffer directly from these huge fires. It is still a big bummer to have apocalyptic conditions become the norm, and have something you worked hard and trained for, cancelled. This has been a reality for me every summer since 2013 when smoke over took the Rogue Valley for weeks. Events were cancelled and running moved indoors to the dreaded treadmill. This week the North Face Endurance Challenge events, for very good reason, were cancelled, leaving many runners wondering what to do. Zach Miller wisely advises runners on twitter to make lemonade out of lemons! I could not agree more, so lets dive a little deeper into what your options are, and how to make the best out of possible future cancellations.

Mental and Emotional Training for Ultras

A perspective from Camelia Mayfield at Western States

About three weeks ago, I was one of the lucky participants of the world-renowned Western States Endurance Run. This was my first hundred-mile race and I thought it might be helpful for me to share more about the mental and emotional experience of running 100 miles. Before this race, the longest I had run was 100k. My finish time of 19:47 means that I ran nine more continuous hours than I had ever run before.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is the most beautiful trail I have ever run…or so people tell me. Most of this rugged ribbon of singletrack I have only seen at night, while deep in a gel fueled haze while racing the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. I’ve seen hallucinations on the trail and seen others vomit, I’ve felt the intense spirit of sport, but I’ve never seen much of the grander this place has to offer. I dream of someday doing the TMB the slow down and sip the espresso way. I’d love to soak in the afternoon sun at Refuge Bonatti, or grab a Coke at Champex-Lac, I’d love to chat with the caretakers at the refuges, or take time to just sit quietly and breathe in the alpine inspiration of the high country.

Honestly, I’m as guilty as the next person. The gun goes off, the race plan goes out the window. Any coherent logic of starting at a casual pace, or drinking calories early, or taking it easy on the first climb evaporates like the ice cubes in your hat in that last hot ultra.

About a week ago we launched a little contest, basically the contest read,

“Some of you have great years of running, and some of you may have had brutal seasons. @trailsandtarmac wants to hear those stories. If you have a friend, running buddy, family member or coworker who really crushed it this year working hard toward achieving their personal goals you can nominate them for a gnar-boss of the year award! If you had a rough year, maybe a few DNF’s, some major blowups or Injuries we want to hear those stories, and what you learned too! You can win the Epic Manure award!!! Nominate a friend for the Gnar-boss award or nominate yourself (because hopefully your friends wouldn’t do that!) for the Epic Manure award! So, to nominate email a brief paragraph or two with a photo to info@trailsandtarmac.com.”

Well the response was pretty awesome.  We learned a TON by reading the responses, and we also realize there was no way we could choose just one for either the Gnar Boss Award or the Epic Manure Award.  By far the biggest thing we learned was there was hardly any difference between the GNAR boss Award and the Epic Manure Award! Both awards highlighted these runners individual trials and how they dealt with major discouragement and never quit in the face of adversity.

We talk a lot on our website about communication, gps data, and training. These words and ideas need to be elaborated on and described in more detail so you really understand what it is the coaches at Trail and Tarmac actually do. Here is a glimpse behind the scenes in the Trails and Tarmac coaching kitchen.

One of the most common questions I think we as coaches get is, “What workouts should I be doing?” The question is loaded. One of the most common answers is that it depends. Ask 100 coaches and you might get 100 different answers. In this article you’ll hear about a workout you should be doing but probably aren’t.

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc lottery is done. If you got in, Congrats! If you did not, there are some great (maybe more fun) opportunities in the Alps for you.

In 2016, 2555 runners started the UTMB and 1468 finished (http://utmb.livetrail.net/stats.php). Over the course of 105 rugged miles there are unforeseeable events and challenges, but with a little more information I think more runners can finish the UTMB and swing these stats in the right direction.

There are 1000’s of articles written on how to get ready for your big race. There is a mass of valuable information on how to eat, how to train, how to recover and what gear you will need.  These are very valuable topics, but there is very little dedicated to dealing with the time everything falls apart, and at some point, at some race, it will.