I spent ten months coaching two clients for the Grand to Grand Ultra and the Atacama Crossing. Here’s the outline of their training plans, and their stories of what the events were like, to show how to meet the myriad challenges of an ultra-long stage race—and, perhaps, to inspire your new year’s goals.
Perhaps my fondest memory of the Mauna to Mauna Ultra was the experience of the oxymoronic “friendly competition” in the best, truest sense.
It behooves competitors to carry as little as possible, because every pound of weight slows us down and saps energy. But, given the climate and terrain variability, I can’t go too light or get too hungry.
It’s taper time, so I reflect on peak training for the Mauna to Mauna Ultra and share an exciting update about Free to Run.
Peak training involves increasing your training load and preparing very specifically for the conditions of your race. For multi-day, self-supported stage races, the preparation becomes more complex.
Having spent the past two weeks developing several long-range training plans for clients, which span 16 to 24 weeks in preparation for a top-goal ultra, I thought I’d share the process and use my own training horizon for the Mauna to Mauna Ultra as an example.
The story of my client Jami Sutter shows how careful, steady training and mental determination can lead to a highly respectable mid-pack finish in a grueling stage race. Jami answers questions about the highs, the lows and the lessons learned.
Would our tent hold in the storm? Probably. I wasn’t worried. I actually felt calm, cozy and secure. I had developed a mindset of taking anything and everything in stride. Whatever happened, happened.
Whereas Stages 1 and 2 were like an appetizer and salad course, Stage 3 would be the Grand to Grand Ultra’s Supersized Full Meal Deal. It would dish up hot, hard roads; steep, rocky climbs; debilitating deep-sand tracks; gnarly, in-your-face vegetation; slippery slickrock, monotonous highway shoulders, and beautiful, baffling fine-sand dunes—relentless, towering, engulfing sand dunes.
I was completely unplugged, off the grid and rocking out. I was going native, kicking ass and feeling half my age. And it just kept getting better. Inevitably—hilariously—something had to harsh my buzz.