Why run a 100-mile race?
Sometimes, you just want a challenge. Completing a 100-mile race, such as the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd in October in Tahlequah, or one of the several 100-mile races throughout the U.S. and world, can be a rewarding experience that requires you to push yourself far beyond your limits. It’s not only a physical accomplishment but also a mental one as well, for you have to get out of your own way — and run.
How do you prepare?
Running a 100-mile race takes training — because when you’re 50 miles in, and you want to quit, you can always fall back to your training and think about how hard you’ve worked to get there.
You will have to run a substantial amount each week to prepare. In the midst of your training, you will want to build up to the 100-mile run. You could try a 50K, which is about 31 miles, and then try a 50-mile race or do a series of challenging 50-mile races.
It can be easier to plan out your first training schedule with help from a runner who has experience. Local running stores and running organizations, such as the Oklahoma Trail Runners Association or the Tulsa Area Trail & Ultra Runners, are generally great places to find people who can help connect you with other runners or coaches.
What’s the race like?
Each race is different, depending on the geography and altitude of where you’re running. The amount of time it will take you to finish will vary, depending on your overall health and experience. Generally, it takes people more than 24 hours to finish.
Some people might take naps along the race, although not everyone does. There is generally food provided along the race, but many runners bring their own food and other energy and nutritional supplements. It’s important to replace the large amount of calories you’re burning to ensure you will maintain enough energy to continue.
Often, races will allow you to have a “pacer,” especially toward the end of a race. A pacer runs alongside you and helps you stay focused and not get lost. There likely will be times you want to quit, and some people don’t finish, either because of injury, illness or because they did not train properly.