When I was a kid in junior high, I embarrassed myself at a regional track meet by falling over several hurdles. That clumsiness and a lack of patience for putting up with older guys at the gym led me to quit sports and go to work on my family’s ranch every waking moment outside of the classroom. I appreciate every bit of my ranch experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world. And had you told me that 20 years later I’d be training to run 100 miles, I’d have said you were insane.

Yet, here we are in 2020 and I’ve mapped out a training plan to run my first 100-mile distance on August 15.

beef runner 100 miles training

Hungry for the miles

As I was told in episode 33 of the podcast, I’m a little insane for setting out to accomplish this goal. But I do have a bit of an addictive personality when it comes to running.

It’s not necessarily that someone told me I couldn’t do it. Although, that has played a small part. I honestly do enjoy the personal challenge of seeing what I am capable of doing. There’s nothing better than an entire day spent on the single track trails.

The last time I set out for a race was in September when I was exhausted at the end of the season. But couldn’t resist the temptation of a crisp, fall day on the trails. Now, I find myself hungry to get back to the structure of a training plan, hours on my feet, and coming home with dirt lines on my legs from an afternoon of sweat.

Planning for 100 miles

I’ve signed up for the Lean Horse 100 in Custer, South Dakota on August 15. It’s an out-and-back non-technical run on the Mickelson rail-trail through the Black Hills. The course has 7,162 feet of total climb, mostly on gentle railroad-grades.

UltraSignUp has estimated my target time at 25:30. That’s awful close to a 24-hour finish time.

I like to think I learned my lesson of not tackling a technical course with tons of climb on my first attempt at a new distance with a DNF at the Beaverhead Endurance Runs 100k. In that context, I’m taking a conservative approach to my first 100-miler.

The course for the Lean Horse isn’t new to me as I ran the 50-miler in 2018 with a time of 9:47. That was only a minute off my PR at the distance. The course is absolutely runnable, although it can be a warm day. The climbs aren’t terrible and I’ve mapped out a plan to get me there.

Training for 100 miles

So, over the next six months, I’ll be back in the saddle, following my plan and returning some structure to my days, diet and time. I have a goal to shoot for and, hopefully, you’ll follow along on this crazy journey.

My training plan will include five days of running each week. Training does include rest days. Having that on Monday of each week works well for me. In the past, I’ve done well with back-to-back LSD (long, slow distance) runs on the weekends.

Over the winter, I swapped gym memberships for the Peloton tread and bike. These have been great additions to training, allowing me to focus on different forms of movement and more structured workouts.

Close to the house, I have an abundance of dirt roads and paved highways with soft shoulders. On my way to/from work or within a short drive, we have several single track trails with some climbing. And I am planning to hit up the high-country trails on a few weekends once the snow melts.

And of course, nutrition is a big player when it comes to training. I’ve performed well on a diet without restrictions. i.e. no label needed, such as Paleo, Keto, Low-Carb, Intermittent Fasting, etc. I anchor my meals and snacks with 30 grams of protein and aim for variety and color on my plate throughout the week. Beef is my primary protein, but there is plenty of fish and plant protein in the mix.

Warm-up races

In April, I’ve signed up for a 50k to kick start the season at the Rattle Trail race in Colorado Springs. In May, I’ll be doing the 25-mile at Quad Rock near Fort Collins with a bit more climbing. June will bring the 50-mile distance at the Black Hills 100 in Sturgis.

All three are races I completed last year, but I’m hungry to go back and improve my time. These are also good milestones along the way to have supported long-runs.

If I’m being honest, there will likely be races added to the calendar in March and July, but I’ve not figured out what those will be yet. I’d like to find a 50-miler in July that won’t be unbearably hot.

Let’s get going

Here’s the part where you tell me how crazy I am.

Part of the accountability for my training is sharing these goals and putting them out there. I expect you to follow me online – Instagram, Twitter, Strava. And call me out when I am not sharing updates.

And if you want to join the fun, there are 20-, 30-, and 50-mile distances available at the same event. You can join me in Custer, but don’t have to be quite as crazy as me. Register here.

Let me know what you think. I look forward to your comments and feedback. But please don’t tell me you don’t even like to drive that far. I’ve heard that one enough.

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